Business Lessons From First Graders
I recently spent five weeks working with first graders through Junior Achievement, and, WOW, they really opened my eyes! Here are some business tips from first graders:
1. Be a “sponge!” Listen and soak up all the information you can about your customers—their wants and needs as they relate to your goods or services. As adults, we get so caught up in the business, we forget to slow down and take lessons from what might be right in front of us. Be open to learning and growing-it will lead to greater success and help you to create the life you desire.
2. Go “back-to-basics!” If you’re struggling to get customers through the door or attracting new customers or if you’re having difficulty with your advertising, stop and look back to where you began. Ask yourself: “Why did I start my own business?” “What did I hope to achieve?” Sometimes you can get so lost in the everyday grind of running your business and working IN the business, you forget to work ON the business. In your attempts to try anything and everything to make it work, you can lose sight of what your original mission/vision was and go completely off track. Go back to the basics—your original business plan–what is the reason you went into business (other than making money)?
3. Advertise! Advertise! It’s easy to confuse advertising and marketing as the same thing—they are not. They work hand-in-hand for success and both are necessary.
- Advertising: Where are you advertising? When you think you’ve tried everything, ask for help and branch outside your comfort zone. Have you tried Facebook advertising? What about other social media, like Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, or Google ads? The world is changing and so are the way consumers learn about and respond to businesses and products. If you’re still placing ads in the yellow pages, we need to chat!
- Marketing: Consider your message/logo/branding—are you confusing your customers? For example, shown a picture of a book, half of consumers may think library, while the other half might think bookstore. You may think you’ve “got this” in terms of your branding/logo, but your customers may think just the opposite. Before you put a branding message out there or switch strategies, ask for advice, help, and feedback to ensure that what you want to portray is what you’re actually portraying.
4. Entrepreneurship and advertising are hard words. It took them a few weeks, but they finally got them and I have no doubt they are words they will remember for a lifetime. The same applies to our businesses; certain things may appear to be difficult but once we overcome those barriers, we learned a lesson that we will hold onto for the course of our business.
5. Successful entrepreneurs make it look “easy!” Fifty percent of the students thought that running one’s own business looks “easy!” Take that as a good thing—you must be doing something right for young people to see your work as positive and attractive. You are demonstrating that it’s okay to take risks and follow your dreams.