If I had written a simple business plan years ago, I’d probably be much farther ahead than I am now. And if I’d had my friend Shelly’s guidance? I’d be on fire! I’m pleased to welcome the brilliance behind There’s No Place Like Home for this installment of the Screen-free Summer Life Skills Bingo series.
Last year, my then-12-year-old daughter informed me that she wanted to own her own bakery one day. Knowing how much he loves to make her own recipes, I told her that I thought it was a great idea, so I offered her a little encouragement and sent her on her merry way.
Fast forward to a few months back. Now 13 and a little more mature- and ambitious- my daughter once again approached me and told me she wanted to start her own at-home bakery. Now.
I’m going to admit that I was a little taken aback because I totally wasn’t expecting this, but being a homeschool mom who really finds value in interest-led learning, I decided to figure out the best way to help her do this.
Knowing that we couldn’t just jump headfirst into this entrepreneurship, I finally realized what it was that had to come first. We had to write a business plan.
Here’s how we did it.
10 Steps to Writing a Basic Business Plan (For Kids)
Sounds easy, right? But brainstorming can be a drawn-out and meticulous process depending on the number of ideas, gifts, and interests you have. The key is to write down everything that crosses your mind because, you never know, the most unlikely idea may be the one that stands out in the end.
2. Carefully consider your choices.
After the brainstorming process is complete, spend some time carefully considering the propositions you’ve come up with and ask yourself these questions:
– Which of these ideas best fits my talents?
– Which of these ideas am I most likely to genuinely enjoy doing?
– Which of these ideas is the most feasible for me?
– What about competitors? Are there any goods/services that seem to be overdone?
– What area would best fit the needs of my community?
Asking yourself these questions will enable you to clarify your vision and narrow down your choices until you’ve come up with that ONE idea that stands out among the rest.
3. Nichefy your service or product.
Chances are you’ll have at least a few competitors, so now is the time to come up with a twist that will draw people to your business. How can you add a little bit of YOU to your product or business? What is different about what you’re offering when compared to everyone else?
4. Make an inventory list of supplies that will be needed and how you will obtain them.
Depending on what your business will entail, this may include some research because this does need to be an exhaustive list. You don’t want to discover too late that you’ve missed the purchase of some crucial materials.
After determining what it is you’ll be needing, you’ll need to figure out how you will purchase these supplies. Will it be out-of-pocket? Do you already own some of these tools? Can you earn money for these supplies by doing extra chores or working for friends or neighbors? Are you old enough to hold down a part-time job? Can you use these wages to make your purchases? Are Mom and Dad willing to lend you the money?
5. Determine pricing of your product/service.
There are many factors to consider when deciding on price, such as:
– What do my competitors charge?
– What will be my out-of-pocket costs?
– Do I need to consider the cost of any additional use of household utilities, such as electricity or natural gas?
– What percentage am I comfortable with for increasing the price of the products I sell, when compared to how much the materials actually cost?
6. Determine how to advertise and sell your products/services.
Once you’ve settles on pricing that you’re comfortable with, now is the time to think about how you will advertise and sell your product.
Will you start a website for your service, or would you prefer to keep it simple and pass order sheets around friends and family, at least to start? Would you be willing to ship products via mail, or do you want to keep your business local?
And how will you let people know about your business? Flyers? Word of mouth? Business cards?
These are all crucial things to consider in the establishment of a successful business.
7. Discover your target audience and find out what they’re looking for.
Every business has a target audience. Who is the most likely to buy your product? What is it that would really meet their specific needs, and are you able to do that?
8. Consider using product testers.
This might seem like an intimidating prospect because getting some constructive criticism on something you’ve worked so hard on can be nerve-racking. Keep in mind, though, that this feedback can make or break your business.
Find some friends, family members, or acquaintances who are willing to be objective about your product. Let them try it out, or if you offer some sort of service, provide them the service for free in exchange for their honest opinion.
This can be the most valuable step in the entire process.
9. Make necessary changes.
Once you get your feedback from your product testers, don’t get discouraged if there were some negative reviews. It happens to the best of us. Use those negative comments to your advantage and tweak things until they are better in line with what people expect.
10. Launch your business!
Now’s the time to launch that website, hang those flyers around town, or pass out those business cards. However you decide to do it, let people know that you are open for business, and give them the best that you’ve got!
Teaching kids to write a business plan may seem like overkill to some, but in this age of entrepreneurship, I truly believe it will put your kids at an advantage over their peers. Life experience is just as important as academics. Implementing a business plan is one more way to prove that!
I’m Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling mom of 11 and wife to my ever-patient husband, Shawn. When I’m not busy chasing kids, homeschooling, drinking coffee, or smelling books at the library, you can find me at my blog, There’s No Place Like Home, or on my YouTube channel of the same name.