With more business owners working from home, this is a prime time to start teaching your children about what you do and show them how to be a good, responsible business owner.
There are thousands of lessons to help you and your children appreciate the value of planning to build a profitable business. The key is to make the lessons fun and engaging so your kids will remember them for a very long time. The super benefit to it all is that when we teach others a concept, it helps the teacher be even more aware of the lesson, which in turn helps business owners build stronger businesses.
Here are 4 ways to engage your kids and work on your business.
1. Marketing: Paint Your Ideal Client Avatar and Draw out a Day in the Their Life.
Engage in your inner artist and pull out some paints, markers, or crayons, and paint your ideal audience. As you paint, describe the ideal client with clarity as to their age, profession, and what they like to do. If you work with professional businesswomen, perhaps try to draw a woman with a business suit carrying a briefcase. Don’t worry if the image isn’t perfect. The fun in this is that your child will see the imagery as you describe the person, and you can laugh at what you have drawn. Now have your child try drawing your ideal client or let your child add ideas of what else should be in the picture, based on what you described. Get as specific as possible and be sure to name your avatar. If you get stuck on this, think of your favorite client that you have worked with within the last 6 months and describe that person.
Next, on a new piece of paper, draw a clock. Draw in the 12, 3, 6, and 9 on your clock on the inside of the circle. Now create 5-6 lines bursting out from between each 3-hour period. This should look a bit like how we draw the sun with sun rays beaming out. Let your child help you with this part. Now, describe what your ideal client does between 6am-9am and who are all the people they interact with during this time. If this is for your professional businesswoman, then perhaps they get up, make their bed, bathe, get dressed, have breakfast, greet the nanny or the housekeeper, and then leave for work. Write out all these activities and the people they interact with on the sunbursts. Next, describe and talk about what your ideal client does between 9am-12pm and all the people they interact with during this time. Again, have your child help add things to the picture. Continue to do the above steps for the afternoon and evening slots.
Finally, around the outside border of the page, use words to create a border-image. These words should describe what they read, what they listen to, how they glean information, advisors they talk to, friends and influencers they listen to, etc. You can put stars or asterisks between each item you add to the outer border. You are not only creating clarity to help you target your avatar, you are also teaching your child to be creative in creating borders to fun pictures, so be okay with creating squiggly lines under each word or other creative things.
2. Management: Write out the Instructions for a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich to show the Importance of Building Procedures Anyone Can Follow.
First, explain to your children at least one procedure or process in your business. Help them understand that this process should be written so if someone on your team is sick, you can have a temporary worker come in and read the instructions and know exactly how to do the task the way you want it done. Hint, if you don’t have the procedure documented in writing, consider using a transcription app to record yourself as you explain the process to them, and then have it transcribed. Rev.com is one of my favorites!
Second, ask your children to write out the steps for making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If they can’t write on their own, then you can write, but only write what they tell you is the step-by-step process.
Next, have them sit with you in the kitchen and read the procedure. You can only do what their procedure says, and if they didn’t spell out a step, then they have to start over. Here are some common things that are forgotten.
- Did the instructions state where to find the bread, the jelly, the peanut butter, and the knife? If not, tell them they have to start over with the instructions, because you don’t know where to find the items.
- Did the instructions tell you to open the bread, open the peanut butter, and open the jelly? If not, tell them they have to start over with the instructions.
- Did the instructions state how much peanut butter to put on the bread? How much jelly to put on the bread? If not, have fun and put ½ the jar of peanut butter on and only ½ teaspoon of jelly. When they say you didn’t do it right, you can remind them the instructions didn’t clearly say how much to use.
- Did the instructions say to put the two pieces of bread together? If not, you can say you can’t eat it because it is not complete.
Hint: By the way, this is a great exercise to do with your team as well.
3. Financial Controls: How Much Do You Have Left After Paying for Everything Else!
Get 100 grapes (or use frozen peas or canned beans or something edible), count them out on a cookie sheet at one end. Then go through and explain to your children how much you pay in terms of a percentage for the various items on your chart of accounts. As you talk about each category, explain the category in plain English, and tell them the percentage of your budget that gets used up for that category. Then have them count out that many grapes and then eat them. 40% = 40 grapes.
Here are some example categories and percentages to get you started (tweak to fit your niche).
- Costs of Goods Sold (20%)
- Payroll (include paying yourself) (45%)
- Occupancy/office space and utilities (5%)
- Marketing (8%)
- Overhead (7%)
- Professional Fees (2%)
- Professional Development (3%)
- Profit (10%)
Be sure you make the point that you have to plan out to have profit. Perhaps pull the 10% profit out at the beginning and set it aside into the corner of the cookie sheet to teach the lesson that every business should be profitable!
4. Planning: Use Pictures to set goals.
A picture is worth a thousand words, right? Imagery is a powerful tool, and you can use it to set goals for yourself, your business and your children. Poke around on the internet, through magazines or even images on your phone, and find the following. Think of it as a scavenger hunt:
- A picture of someplace you want to visit in your lifetime.
- An activity you want to do in your lifetime.
- A charitable activity that you want to do to give back.
- A big-ticket item you want to purchase after you have saved up the money.
- A small ticket item you want to purchase after you have saved up the money.
Voila, four fun interactive exercises!
Use these not just with your own kids but do them with others and keep honing your skills.
Cheers to flexing your business owner skills every single day!
Kristen David, a former trial lawyer and partner who went from working 85 hours a week and being a slave to her law firm, built it up to a million-dollar-plus business, then sold her shares and pivoted into a business coach guru. She is now an international speaker, author, and operates a successful business, empowering business owners to build thriving, profitable businesses that are self-managed with systems.