Warren Buffett Wants to Help Your Child Start a Small Business This Summer

Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, prepares to speak at the Fortune's Most Powerful Women's Summit in Washington October 13, 2015.

Here are some kid-friendly business ideas and how make them successful.

Just in time for summer, the folks at Warren Buffett’s Secret Millionaire’s Club have condensed the Oracle of Omaha’s business savvy into a digestible book for kids. It is meant to stir the passions of teen and pre-teen entrepreneurs, and give them a meaningful alternative to video games and the swimming pool and, perhaps, the consequences of Mom and Dad’s mounting impatience.

Much of the wisdom in the colorful and animated How to Start Your Very First Business is already available online via the Secret Millionaire’s Club website. The site features 26 “webisodes” of animated youngsters grappling with the profit-loss aspects of things like lawn cutting, dog walking, and running the ubiquitous lemonade stand. But the book adds context, step-by-step instructions, worksheets, and goes beyond clichéd ideas.

Authors Julie Merberg and Sarah Parvis, with guidance from Buffett, serve up 21 business ideas for kids. Their suggestions include filming and editing highlight reels for student athletes seeking a scholarship, collecting yard waste to compost and later selling the soil, decorating skateboards, blogging about local events and selling ad space to local businesses, being a DJ at parties, and building and selling birdhouses.

Buffett is involved because he believes entrepreneurship at an early age introduces and reinforces habits that will breed long-term success, even if the summer venture doesn’t amount to much. “Learning the value of being honest, being willing to take risks and fail, and protecting your reputation are among the lessons that form the fabric of success,” Buffett writes in the forward.

These themes are explored in the book alongside basics like start-up and operating costs. Buffett’s guiding principal is that the best investment one can make is an investment in oneself. The book champions education, hard work, honesty, service, passion and presentation. The authors use plenty real-life examples of kids and their businesses, and call on Buffett frequently for inspiring “words from Warren.” In a section on growing your business, Buffett notes, “the more you learn, the more you’ll earn.”

Posted in Columns on June, 2016

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Right About Money

Dan Kadlec is the founder and editor of Right About Money, a media platform that powers financial literacy. Right About Money informs global thought leaders, policymakers, and educators about trends in financial education, and advances their understanding of how best to boost personal money skills. At Right About Money, we...

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