By Excel V. Dyquiangco
Raising your child to become a tycoon or an entrepreneur is fairly easy – if you have the right mindset. “The future belongs to a very different kind of people with a very different kind of mindset; people who are creators, big-picture thinkers, empathizers, and meaning makers,” writes Mary Joy Canon-Abaquin, Ed.M. in her book 8 Simple Secrets to Raising Entrepreneurs (published by Go Negosyo), also the founding directress of Multiple Intelligence International School and a doting mother to Chiara, 14, and Anica, 11.
“Raising kids to be entrepreneurs helps them be competitive global citizens and prepared for the demands of the 21st century,” she says. “The entrepreneurial mind-set enables them to possess an innovative and creative mind needed to be successful. Technology has opened doors for young people to be tycoons even at a young age, if they are able to create products and services that are relevant and appealing to individuals around the world who are connected through technology.”
She cites the famous Vicki Belo who is a doctor by profession but was able to establish her own beauty empire by using her entrepreneurial mind which distinguishes her from other dermatologists. “An entrepreneurial mindset empowers children so that whatever profession they choose to enter, they can think out of the box and they can be innovative to be successful in their field,” she says.
So what does it take to bring out the entrepreneur in your child? Here she shares some secrets.
Give them opportunities to solve problems.
Parents can encourage an entrepreneurial mind-set by allowing children to be creative problem-solvers. Give them the opportunity to be creative and to create products that they are interested in. For example, if your child is interested in cooking, encourage them by giving them recipes to experiment with. If your child is interested in art, enroll them in art classes. “Children’s entrepreneurial ideas often come from their interests,” she says.
Expose them to the 3 Es.
Parents can also give children the 3E’s – Exposure, Experts, and Experience to help them develop their skills and interests. Expose children to good role models and successful businessmen who started their ideas when they were young. Introduce them to Experts who can act as their mentors. If your child is interested in computers or graphic design, find friends or relatives who can mentor them to have better skills. Experience can also be a good teacher by allowing your child to take classes or volunteer to gain real-world experience. Business ideas come from being exposed to good mentors to develop their skills or being given the opportunity to explore their interests. “Our school, the Multiple Intelligence International School, supports the development of the entrepreneurial mind by incorporating entrepreneurship and financial literacy in the K-12 curriculum,” she says. “Children are exposed to opportunities to create their own products and business plans so that they are empowered by their entrepreneurial mind.”
Keep in mind this simple formula.
Parents can keep in mind the simple formula I + I = I (Intelligence + Interest = Idea) in bringing out the entrepreneur in their child. Help your children develop their entrepreneurial mind by helping them to discover their intelligences and their interests. This will drive them to find their original business idea.
Give your child feedback.
Always try to highlight the strengths of your child. Sing praises to him if you must. If you keep on telling people (especially children) that they are good at something, chances are they will find ways to improve and get better. Give him words of encouragement. If, on the other hand, your child failed at something, allow him to analyze why it happened the way it did and what he could have been done so that he could improve. As a parent don’t just spoon-feed your child. Keep in mind that you never should be discouraging; instead praise him for whatever he has done.
Help him develop these values.
There are several values that you need to instill in your child. First, he needs to have self-discipline since as an entrepreneur, he is his own boss. To help him achieve this, you can set a schedule in your house so he can follow. Second, he needs to be resilient. Oftentimes, something goes wrong. Ask him what happened and allow him to tell you what he could have done to make things better. Third is accountability. Don’t just give him whatever he wants. You need to tell him that if he wants something, he must save up or earn for it. Fourth is hard work. At home, allow him to help you with washing the dishes, with mopping the floors or with cleaning the house. Fifth is commitment. “Tell your child that once he starts something, he must finish it,” Abaquin says. “You tell your child that he can’t just quit when he starts something, a project, for instance. He can’t just quit when he feels like quitting.”
Encourage your child to be creative.
Let all the creative ideas flow as this can empower your child. At the Multiple Intelligence International School, there is an annual bazaar where children as young as prep to those in high school can brainstorm ideas and choose the products to sell at the bazaar. The students create the product and think of ways to sell it to the public. The high school students, meanwhile, are given an additional requirement of making a business plan with cash flow and other such pertinent documents.
So what makes a good entrepreneur? Aside from these qualities mentioned above, an entrepreneur should also be a problem-solver when a ballooning task is at hand, a risk-taker for sometimes putting his hard-earned cash and life on the line and a market researcher as he needs to know what the public wants.
By instilling in your child these disciplines and values, don’t be surprised when you wake up one day and he starts building his own business. This is, after, all, your hard work paying off.