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Teens – Start your own business June 21, 2006

Posted by stratbiz in Jobs for Kids - Enterprising Teens.
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As a parent having spent time with teens that have an entrepreneurial spirit but no clue as to what kind of business to start, I’ve taken advantage of this opportunity to connect with my teens by offering suggestions and helpful hints on selecting and starting their business. Below is a list that with a little effort can make a very successful summer business.

I am sharing my favorite business opportunities based on first hand success stories and research.

A wonderful quote to ponder from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.

Summer Businesses for Teens:

A cleaning service. Maybe you hate doing your chores at home, but getting paid for doing them is completely different! You could offer complete housecleaning services, or specialize in one or more areas, such as attic/basement/garage cleanups.

A yard maintenance service. There is always something that needs to be done…mowing lawns and weed control in the spring and summer, raking leaves in the fall, and shoveling snow and planting for the spring in the winter.

A car-detailing business. With so many people working multiple jobs and having such busy lifestyles, very few people have the time to really take care of their cars — and you could offer a weekly or monthly service of washing, waxing, vacuuming, etc.

A pet sitting service. Typically people tend to go on vacation and need a pet sitting service. This also makes a great year-round business by offering pet walking, bathing, cleaning, etc. services.

A PC tutor/Web site development service. Are you a whiz with computers and the Web? Well, many adults are not, and you could make a good business helping people learn to use PCs and develop Web sites for their families — or for their businesses.

A catering service. Do you enjoy cooking and baking? In these busy times, if you can provide a service that offers well-cooked meals or cookies, you could do quite well.

A painting service. If you have some experience — or there is a few of your friends that want to go in business with you — you might consider a painting business. People are always renovating…and you could paint exteriors in the nicer months and interiors during the colder months.

An errand, messenger, or delivery service. This idea works best in larger cities where there are more people and public transportation, but these are busy times and people need help with all sorts of errands.

An educational tutoring service. If you have expertise in one or more areas — music, foreign language, math and science, or others — you could offer tutoring sessions to children, teens, and adults in your neighborhood.

An online Web business. If you are a master at creating Web pages, perhaps what you need to do is brainstorm a concept for an online business — where your potential customers can come from anywhere in the world, not just in your local neighborhood. If you are a whiz at setting up social networking pages like MySpace or blogs, why not offer that service to your friends and family.

A freelancing service. If you are truly gifted in a certain field, such as writing, drawing, or photography, consider starting a freelancing business where you sell your wares to various businesses and media outlets.

I encourage the Stratbiz readers to add to this list from their personal experiences.

Playstation2, Xbox or a Job – What is your teen doing this summer? June 19, 2006

Posted by stratbiz in Jobs for Kids - Enterprising Teens.
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Playstation2, Xbox or a Job – What is your teen doing this summer?

QuestionMarkWell it’s that time of the year again, when you look back and wonder where the time has gone…school is out for the majority of kids and I am sure there are plenty of parents like me scrambling to figure out what to do with the kids this summer. (This doesn’t apply to the well organized parent)

If you have teens with spare time on their hands, why not encourage them to start a business? Just a few words of inspiration will get them started on the road to success. As with any endeavor there are always helpful hints in getting started. Here are a few tried and true thoughts to ponder and suggestions for your teens to get them into the entrepreneurial spirit.

Teen Do’s and Don’ts

  • Do get the advice of an adult family member before starting your business.
  • Don’t try to compete directly with any big businesses; the key to finding success with your business is to find a niche – find a problem – create a solution.
  • Do come up with a creative and cool name for your business — it will make you seem more professional.
  • Don’t get too discouraged if your business starts slowly; it takes time to get your business known.
  • Do make detailed plans about how you will run your business, including the types of services you will perform (babysitting, lawn care, errands, tutoring, etc.), prices, cancellation notices, payment options, and the like. And do consider writing a mission statement or philosophy to help guide your actions.
  • Don’t let any of your customers cheat you out of your money. And do consider enlisting an adult family member to help you handle any customer disagreements.
  • Do consider developing agreements for each customer to sign. In fact, do get everything you do or plan to do in writing.
  • Don’t let a competing teen stop you from opening a similar business. If you don’t want to compete, do consider forming a partnership. With multiple partners, you’ll have a bigger network of potential customers and perhaps more time flexibility because you’ll be sharing the load. But do be aware that having partners can also add lots more hassles and aggravations.
  • Do use every available resource to spread the word about your new business, including posting flyers around the neighborhood, in community centers and religious organizations, and local stores. But remember that the best source will be the network of your family, friends, and neighbors — and current customers, once you get your business established. You can consider going door-to-door to announce your service, but don’t do it by yourself — have an adult go with you.
  • Don’t let a dissatisfied customer stay dissatisfied. One of the key rules to business success is satisfying the customer. Ask what you can do to make the customer satisfied — and then do it, if you can.
  • Do get organized, including developing a daily/weekly/monthly planner. Try not to ever accidentally forget a customer appointment, but if it does happen, try to find a way to make amends (such as a discount on the next appointment).
  • Don’t fall in the trap thinking that starting your own business will be extremely lucrative and fun; running your own business is a lot of hard work, but it will be great experience for future jobs and college applications.
  • Do be prepared to leave your friends behind when you go to work; and don’t ever skip an customer appointment to hang out with your friends — your business has to come first.
  • Don’t spend all the money you make from your business; do put some money aside to save for the future.

** Please take a moment and share your favorite teen summer job story with the rest of the Stratbiz readers…just post a comment.