I am rather busy looking after my children three days a week. We do all sorts of things together, and at the end of the day when they are finally asleep, I confess I am dying for some peace and quiet. Still, I confess, through my hours of parenting, I have realised that most children possess some kickass entrepreneurial skills that should be noted down. As a result I have compiled 9 entrepreneurial skills I have learned from my children. So here it goes:
1. Never wait for tomorrow – Children don’t postpone. Don’t start telling them a story if you have to rush out in 5 minutes. The same applies to entrepreneurship, don’t do it tomorrow if you can get it done today.
2. Observe the world around you – children have different radars. Sometimes we are having breakfast together on the porch, and one of them will call out, ‘look, look dad, an airplane,’ or like my daughter pointed out to me recently, ‘look dad’. ‘where?’ ‘there,’ what? ‘clouds,’ ‘ah,’ I said. They don’t miss the trivial, that’s for sure. The same applies to entrepreneurship, as being constantly alert is essential not to miss any potential business opportunities.
3. Be prepared to learn and ask yourself why – ‘Why, why… why dad?’ is a common question and if you don’t know the answer it is better to Google it and learn with them rather than try to fool them. It doesn’t work. Still, by constantly asking ‘why’ we are more aware of what we don’t know, or how we go about turning solutions into business.
4. Don’t be afraid to fight – If you think children are cute, try eating their chocolate bar in front of them. Regardless how big you are in comparison, they will most likely throw something at you. The same applies to entrepreneurship. It is tough out there. Be prepared to fight for what you believe in.
5. Define clear goals and objectives – That’s right. Sometimes children seem to be all over the place, but give them a task and a prize for a job well done, an ice cream for example, and they will even do the laundry. Entrepreneurship is not about having ideas, but to execute them. Award yourself a great prize, but be diligent and get the boring tasks out of the way.
6. Be inventive and creative – Aren’t children’s funniest moments what parents treasure the most? Spontaneous creativity is by a mile the strongest side of any child. They can make even the most boring person laugh. They can ask the most awkward questions in the most inconvenient places, which shows they are not shy to speak their mind. Entrepreneurship starts here.
7. Find the energy – Children never stand still. They are up and down from sunrise to sunset. They have the energy most entrepreneurs can’t even dream of. Make sure you can find yours too. Executing one’s idea is a titanic task. You are going to need all the energy you can find.
8. Know your stuff – children have great memory for detail, did you know? Try changing the details of their favourite story and they will immediately correct you. The same should apply to you. Know your market, before someone else knows it better than you.
9. Keep high levels of concentration – Even when someone besides you is crying. This is the entrepreneurial skill that stupefies most grown-ups. Children can play and ignore the loudest cry next to them. Children can stick to their games despite whatever else is happening around them. Concentration certainly helps entrepreneurs to be successful.
The list above also serves to raise the questions about what happens to us as we grow up? Where do things go wrong? From avid learners, creative beings, fighters and energetic little creatures we turn into something quite different…