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Youth entrepreneurship 101

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School's out for the summer here in Palm Springs and kids may already be singing the 'I'm bored!' tune now that the novelty of not doing homework, or heading off to school at 7AM has worn off. What better time than right now for your child to consider starting his or her own business! Here's some food for thought to pass along to your son or daughter.

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Great ideas to start a business can come from more than one place. For instance, personal experience is a great resource to cull ideas from in the form of hobbies or interests. Friends, family, teachers or coaches can help spawn ideas, too. Once an idea or two is narrowed down, here are some brainstorming questions to consider in order to better zero in on a choice:

  • What do you like to do with your time?
  • Do you have any certain technical skills that you can use?
  • What do others tend to say you are good at?
  • Are any of my hobbies or interests marketable online, offline or both?
  • How much time are you willing to invest to run a business?

By this point, you probably have a good grasp on an idea you'd like to run with. The next step is to consider why you want to start a business. Some of those reasons might be because you want to be your own boss or you want financial independence to be able to have some spending money that you earn on your own (without asking mom or dad for it). Other reasons could be that you are a creative type and want to have full creative freedom and not have to be on any sort of set schedule. If you are a motivated self starter, that can work to your advantage, but if you have trouble completing tasks without someone holding you accountable, that might be a concern you would need to address.

Now it's time to identify a niche your business venture will serve. Here's a checklist to help you as you do research:

  • What or who is your competition?
  • What is your business advantage over the competition?
  • Is your idea practical and is there a need for it?
  • Can you create a demand for your service?
  • Can you deliver a better quality service than others?

Running a business takes a time commitment, even if you are your own boss. Are you willing and motivated enough to give up extracurricular activities so that more time can be spent on getting your business up and running? Will your business need a time investment every day or just a few days a week? Do you have friends or family that will also help you, or will you be carrying the burden all alone?

If you've gotten satisfactory answers to every question up to this point, then you are ready for the pre-business plan checklist! Answering these questions will assist you in creating a focused and well-researched business plan so that you can move forward with your new venture.

  • What skills and experience do you bring to the business?
  • What services or product will you be selling?
  • What will you call your business?
  • What equipment or supplies will you need?
  • Will there be insurance coverage needed?
  • Is there a cost involved for starting your business? If so, will you need financing?
  • What resources do you have for your new business?
  • How will you get paid?

Good luck to you!

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