Preparing Tomorrow’s Entrepreneur

Who’s going to build the businesses of the future?

The economy is built and grown through the efforts of new businesses, small business and entrepreneurs. Are we preparing today’s youth to be successful as tomorrow’s entrepreneurs?

Reflecting back on the tools I had when I started my first business, those that made it successful and the very same that were required to build my current companies, I’m not sure that our kids are going to have what it takes. Maybe I’m just looking in the wrong places.

So what’s it take? In my opinion, to be successful in starting on your own and building without a bankroll, you need a broad range of skills, aptitude to learn anything, desire to learn as much as possible and a work ethic rarely seen these days.

I have to go back to my youth and remember what it was like, count my blessings now, counting the very things I cursed and hated when I was a kid. Tough love and physical labor, difficult financial times yet the support to earn what I need so that I may get what I want.

Growing up in an area surrounded by rural communities where most made their living off of the land and to gain was to work harder, maybe our future entrepreneurs aren’t coming from the communities where today’s entrepreneurs reside, rather from areas of the country where the tools are still ingrained at an early age.

I’ve often thought of where and how I could share some of my experiences to both help those that want to start their own company and to ward off those that think they do but won’t be able to cut it. While I could go to he “best” school systems or work with a business college, I have to think that my time and effort would be best spent at the grade school and high school level in an area of the state/country where hard work is still a part of life and instilled by the parents.

Words of advice to myself and others that want their kids to be something special in their future careers would be:

  • Put your kids to work (even for no reason other than to make them work hard). Do this consistently and with very little reward, if any, other than the thanks for pulling their weight.
  • Give them the tools and encouragement to learn a variety skills from accounting to technology, from listening to being accountable and an understanding that failure is required on the road to success.
  • Teach them the upside of personal sacrifice in pursuing a greater goal rather than just today’s wants.
  • Provide the means and/or encouragement for them to earn “it” on their own rather than getting for them as a reward for something they should be doing anyway.
  • Reinforce independence, common sense, decision making and self-awareness by teaching, noticing and acknowledging success in these areas.

It’s going to take a lot more than your experiences and financial resources for your kids (or mine) to be successful in business and in life without the right tools in the toolbox.

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