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7 Entrepreneurial Skills Kids Can Learn To Lead A Successful Life

7 Entrepreneurial Skills Kids Can Learn To Lead A Successful Life

As a parent, I want to give my kid an edge, help him learn important skills to lead a successful life. I think he will enjoy more success if he develops a solid entrepreneurial mindset at a young age. People with an entrepreneurial way of thinking see challenges as opportunities and confront them with confidence to innovate and create value in the world.

Kids can develop these key skills and behaviors to lead a successful life. In fact, they are more capable of learning them than adults because they have fewer mental barriers to tear down in order to develop them. Here are seven entrepreneurial skills you can teach your kids to help them lead a successful life:

1. Self Confidence

Self-confidence is a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities and judgment. Developing it is the cornerstone of a successful life. According to psychological studies, confidence comes from where we derive our self-worth, so both internal and external sources.

External sources include appearance, the approval of others, and academic performance. Internal sources include being a good person and staying true to moral standards. Kids with a strong sense of self derived through internal sources – those who are ethical and principled – are less likely to engage in dangerous activities as adolescents and are more likely to have life experiences that lead to a successful life.

Entrepreneurship goes hand in hand with one’s own internal motivation. It is a belief in ones ideas and ability to overcome obstacles that builds strong relationships in both business and life.

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So how do you instil confidence in your child? Be a good role model, show empathy and encourage their opinions. You need to let kids make decisions and support them as they make choices. Even when you think it may not be the right decision, let your kids think up their own ideas and try them. Learning something from experience as opposed to instruction is key in developing problem solving skills and confidence in oneself.

2. Durability and Resilience

Developing a thick skin when it comes to adversity is paramount in an entrepreneur. We all know pain, failure, and disappointment are part of life. No matter how much you want to shield your kids from these things you can’t totally do so.

An important part of entrepreneurship is learning about failure and not fearing it. Prepare your kids develop a resilient spirit and handle challenges life sends their way. You will feel better and more confident in them while helping them avoid anxiety and self-doubt.

How can you help your kids be more durable? Allow them to express emotion and avoid minimizing their feelings. When children perceive their emotions are understood, charged emotions dissipate and allow them to focus their energy on feeling better.

3. Problem solving

Entrepreneurs are critical thinkers. They hone the ability to focus and tackle a problem using analysis and evaluation to form judgments. Learning to think critically is a key component to being a problem solver. It is how people make clear, reasoned decisions leading to a success in business and beyond.

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Teaching critical thinking is, in part, questioning your kids. Ask them how they think they should handle a situation that is troubling them. They may need help coming up with ideas but avoid the urge to handle the problem for them. Give some options for solutions if needed but offer your thoughts in the form of questions like “Do you think this could work?”

Leading kids in this way helps them define the problem aloud, which is affirming. This is a way to get perspective and to find answers independently. Supporting kids in this way helps them feel secure in their ability to find solutions to problems on their own.

4. Creativity and Innovative Thinking

Entrepreneurs need to be creative. Solving complex problems can be tricky. Creative thinking is how new ideas are developed to solve such problems.

Make time for creativity and thinking up ideas with your kids. Questions spark inspiration, like: “What could be done differently to make this better?” or “How many ways can you solve this?”

Ask lots of questions and come up with answers together. Creative thinking is the key to innovation, and the world is changing so quickly that people need to be innovative to stay ahead of the curve and be successful.

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5. Goal Setting

Entrepreneurs know that what gets measured, gets done. All great accomplishments have a timeline, working from a starting point to the goal. Goals keep us moving toward things we really want in life. Having the ability to formulate effective goals and see them through to fruition is important for a successful life.

Teach your kids about goals by sharing your own. Talk about your ideas and your game plan for implementing them. Help them devise short term and longer-term goals by learning what’s important to them, what it is they want to learn, change or have.

Work with them to create steps to achieving goals and talk about progress and challenges over the timeline to achieve the goal. A person needs to know where the finish line is to complete the race and the same is true for life goals. Learning this skill early helps kids accomplish things faster but more importantly helps them gain an understanding that they are capable of controlling their destiny. A pretty powerful feeling when you’re a kid (and later in life too!).

6. Initiative

Entrepreneurs all have initiative. Initiative is a catalyst for creating innovative ideas. It is the motivation to look at what is or what is around you and take action to complete something or make something better. Developing a keen sense for identifying opportunities is one thing but without the initiative to take action nothing gets done.

Teach your kids initiative by modeling it yourself. Children model behaviours of those they look up to so verbally point out instances where you take initiative. This will show them when something needs doing it gets done without hesitation.

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7. Empathy

The ability to empathize is part of being an effective leader. Successful entrepreneurs know that by trying to see others’ views and feelings they can gain acceptance from their colleagues more wholly. Empathy isn’t something you either have or don’t; there are degrees of it and it can be developed and understood by kids as well as adults.

You can help your kids develop empathy by treating them as individuals, people with a mind of their own. Respecting their feelings and emotions and talking about the connections between their feelings and how they behave will help them understand others motivations. This will help your kids recognize things they have in common with people and to relate to them naturally. This ability creates relationships that are more meaningful and is vitally important for success in leading people and as well as in overall happiness in life.

All of these skills are developed through two-way communication. Yes, we need to give direction but kids need the opportunity to express themselves freely and be understood and accepted. As parents, we are the leaders, and we need to be supportive by allowing kids to make decisions and trying different ideas to fix problems. Entrepreneurs know experience is the best teacher and young kids benefit from it most as they develop skills for a successful life.

Featured photo credit: Boy in a park with a plane via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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