DINEO TSAMELA: Help your teenage entrepreneur set up their first business
When it comes to making money, a lot of young people have the will to start their own thing but are stumped by where to find the funding to bring their dreams to life.
Starting a venture with little or no funding, while juggling school, can be difficult. Here are some guidelines you can use to help your teenager take the first step towards entrepreneurship.
Think carefully about your immediate community's needs or zoom in on a passion. This could be the neighbourhood you live in or your school or university. What are some of the things community members need? What do your peers constantly complain about? Finding a gap in the market and a solution to it will help you define the product or service you can supply. Most business owners encourage youngsters to find their passion and turn it into a business. Perhaps your child is an avid reader. Is there a way to turn that passion for books into a business?
It's important to help your teen realise that the need might not necessarily be one that's tangible, like a product. Perhaps they can start a YouTube channel that's dedicated to spreading good news about their community, or they can share their hobbies with the world. The most important thing is to help them find their unique angle and dedicate their channel to that.
The first step in starting a business it to assess whether it is worth their while. If, for instance, your teen decides to sell hot chocolate, they need to consider the cost of buying the hot chocolate, cups, stirrers and sugar and determine what profit they could expect to earn once they have set the selling price.
Resources such as teenpodcast.com, teenageentrepreneur.com and teenbusiness.com will help them navigate the administrative side of business ownership. It's important to build good business management habits from the start of a venture.
Another aspect to consider is any restrictions on business activity. Some schools don't allow students to run businesses on the campus. Your neighbourhood might also have certain rules around who can sell or offer services and how. Make sure your teen covers their bases so they're not breaking any rules because this could mean their business is shut down before it even gets a chance to flourish.
If you can't offer to mentor them as a parent, perhaps you can help your teen connect with businesspeople in your circle or community. These mentors can be a sounding board for your teen's business ideas or offer insight into operational issues that may crop up. Encourage your teen to attend entrepreneurship events to expose them to new and different ways of thinking.
In pursuing their business, do not forget to impress the importance of safety. Make sure your teen isn't sharing private information on the internet or going into dangerous places in the name of business.
• Tsamela is the founder of piggiebanker.com