Saturday, April 4, 2015

Make Entrepreneurship Education a Top Priority

Every family business owner should make entrepreneurship education a top priority. The more you develop entrepreneurship skills the easier building a business becomes. My approach to most things is to find a way to organize this myself. As a homeschool mom of 4, I incorporate entrepreneurship education in daily learning projects. Even if you don’t homeschool, chances are you’re going to need to supplement your family education (yes, you included). Here’s how I do it:

Create Project-Based Unit Studies

I love unit studies because it’s the most effective way to build skills and knowledge in a way that’s relevant. For example, Sabya is my teen daughter and multimedia producer. I needed her to develop social media marketing skills to help grow our family business. It was important for her to learn and practice those skills last summer because we needed to grow a significant social media following by the beginning of this year. Who knows when a textbook or year long curriculum would get to my pressing need to build a social media presence?
I organized six week unit studies to teach her the skills to produce content and learn social media marketing. I created a Facebook and Pinterest Unit Study, a Build Your Blog Unit Study, a LinkedIn and Twitter Unit Study and one for YouTube. Through her assignments and projects, Sabya helped me reach the 5,000 friends limit on Facebook, All-Star status on LinkedIn and more.  You can find my unit studies and tips for entrepreneurship education on my blog.

Expose Your Kids to Entrepreneurs

I make it a point to interview, have coffee with, watch a lecture by, or visit the office of an entrepreneur at least once a month with my children. Children learn best by models and examples. Every interaction with an entrepreneur is an opportunity to learn. You can learn from their mistakes as well as their successes. It’s real world education that you won’t find in books and one that might spare you (and them) years of wasted time, money and effort. If you’re a part of a homeschool co-op or other education co-op, consider touring the offices or facilities of local business owners. You and your children can draft interview questions ahead of time as well as write a report summarizing the visit.  

Some questions to ask entrepreneurs include: What life lessons have you learned from your business? What would you change? How do you balance work and family? What book(s) changed your life? What model do you base your business on? Why did you choose this business? What are you tips for money management? How does cash flow through your business? Understanding these questions is an entrepreneurship education all on its own.
Add Business Books to Your Reading List

Some organizations promote reading by offering a reward for the number of books you read. Why not do the same at home? Foster entrepreneurship education by designing your own reading rewards program.  Add marketing, leadership development and entrepreneurship books. You can even include reading books for the little ones that teach character building and tie it into entrepreneurship and family business.

The trick to making this work well is to offer prizes that they can’t earn through chores or other reward systems that you already have in place. For example, if they can earn a pizza party for doing a difficult chore or reading a business book, then the chore might win. Set apart rewards that are exclusive to your reading program and ones that will motivate them. Yes, they may only be interested in the books to earn a prize. Some of that information will stick, so don’t give up.

You are ultimately responsible for your family’s education, and entrepreneurship education should be a key part of it. Make it fun and memorable, and you will reap the rewards in your home and business.

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