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Owning Your Own Business: A Mini Unit

The USA, as well as many other countries, was built up by the entrepreneurial spirit of its citizens and immigrants that moved there. As adults it would be remiss to not at least help a child to glimpse the possibilities of owning their own business.

The following activities can take place in the imagination. Or, the child can chose to carry out these activities and actually start their own business. As the adult, we will guide them through the activities, but they should be doing them without our direct involvement. The child/student should be the one to come up with the business idea, develop any investment capital, manufacture and market their product, if applicable. They should be the ones to keep business records and financial accounting. And, if they do borrow venture capital from you or anyone else, they should be made responsible for paying it back whether their business is successful or not.

1. Think about a business you could really start now by yourself or with others, or one that you might be interested in starting in the future. Make a business plan that tells:

-- What product you will make or what service you will provide
-- Who your customers will be
-- The name of your business
-- How you will get the money or supplies to start the business (also known as venture capital)
-- Who will be responsible for which job
-- How you will make your product or provide your service
-- How much you will charge for your product or service
-- How you will find the right place to locate your business and get your product or service to the customers
-- How you will advertise your product or service
-- How you will keep accurate records of income and expenses
-- List any ways that you will be using technology to assist in your business.

2. If possible, take part in running the business you thought about, according to your business plan for at least one month.

3. Carry out the advertising part of your business plan.

4. Show the way you will present yourself and your product or service to your customers. You could do this by showing you know how to use correct business manners when you meet customers, when you speak to them on the telephone, or when you write them a business letter.

5. Find out about opening a savings or checking account for a business, about the services offered by the bank, the amount of interest the bank pays, and how the bank uses its money.

6. Visit a business and find out what goes on there. If possible, make this a small business where you could get to meet the owner and he or she could tell you how the business got started and the success and failures that they’ve had.

7. Find out businesses use their profits to help others. Find out about things like foundations and grants.

8. Develop a list of magazines to which you would subscribe if you had your own business. Why did you chose it magazine?

9. Analyze several advertisements in magazines and newspapers, as well as radio and television commercials for the same product. What do you like or dislike about these advertisements? Do they make you want to buy the product?

10. Find out how technology has changed the face and pace of business.

11. Create a brochure to market your talents and skills to prospective employers or business contacts.

12. Shadow a business owner. This could be for a day or longer. Learn about the skills needed to be a business owner. What personal qualities, such as patience and humor, are needed?

13. Whether you decide to discontinue your business or not, write a report on what occurred, any profits or losses you made, what you would do differently or the same, etc.

14. Have someone else critique your business venture and use it for constructive criticism in case you decide to continue or start a different business venture. Discuss with this person why they felt the way the did.

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