Do you have a teen with an entrepreneurial spirit? Learning to run a business can be a great project for a teen, teaching self-discipline, time-management, and financial management while enabling the young person to earn a bit (or a lot) of money. I received three 3 e-books to review from Micro Business for Teens that were written to help teens (ages 10-18) learn how to start, run, and manage all aspects of running a micro business.
Starting a Micro Business, as title indicates, teaches young people how to start a small business, beginning with brainstorming a type of business to start, and continuing through the processes of writing a business plan, advertising, and financial management.
Running a Micro Business goes deeper, teaching about topics such as bookkeeping, filing taxes, obtaining business licenses, and customer service. This book is quite detailed and would be very helpful for teens (or even adults) whose businesses have grown beyond occasional babysitting or lawn mowing jobs. The advantages of paper bookkeeping vs. spreadsheets vs. accounting software are discussed. The reader will learn about obtaining business licenses, filing quarterly tax installments, and keeping monthly records about all aspects of the business.
The Micro Business for Teens Workbook is a very helpful accompaniment to the books that helps the teen to apply each concept to the business of his or her choosing. Most of the workbook chapters actually correspond to Starting a Micro Business, but the last few are meant to accompany Running a Micro Business.
Emily read through Starting a Micro Business, completing each corresponding chapter in the workbook. First, she learned what a micro business actually is (a small, one-owner, low-risk, home-based business). Then, she brainstormed business ideas, thinking about possible customer needs, her interests and talents, and her experience. I think she had fun with this part, coming up with both practical and more exotic, impractical ideas. The questions and charts in the workbook helped her come up with ideas and to assess their practicality. Some of her ideas included:
I had her choose just one of these ideas to develop further. As she progressed through the chapters, she wrote about the possible problems and pitfalls of her idea, then wrote up a business plan. The idea she chose to develop was breeding guinea pigs. This actually wasn’t the most likely business for her to pursue, but it was a good one to develop for the purpose of this course, since it would involve buying supplies, advertising and customer relations, competition, and start-up expenses. She also had to figure out her costs, selling price, and profit or loss. Then she came up with ways to advertise her product.
Although she’s not starting a business right now, the course has certainly gotten Emily thinking about business opportunities. Just last week, she and her friend were looking for a craft item that they could make to sell! In the past, she’s done a lot of yard work and car washing for neighbors to earn money, so she was able to apply her experiences there as she read and used the workbook. (She’s no longer doing that micro business because of some people not paying her and taking advantage of her, although she may try again with different customers.) I’m hoping that she will come up with just the right idea for a micro business to pursue in the next few months. When she does, she can just start back through the appropriate sections of the workbook to draw up a brand new business plan!
As an owner of several micro businesses myself, I found the Running a Micro Business book helpful, finding some information that I could use to improve my bookkeeping and advertising. I didn’t have Emily read that one yet, because of the more advanced concepts. I think it will be of more interest and use to her after she actually starts a business.
Learning to run a business can be a very beneficial experience for teens, and I think that this series would be a great tool to help any teen get started. I found it to be quite comprehensive and think it would be a great guide for any teen to learn more about advertising, accounting, organization, and planning for running a business.
Want to hear more? Read what my fellow Schoolhouse Crew members have to say about these books: