My son is part of a team that has a presentation due today in their high school business class. They had to write and film a commercial for the product they were assigned. They had to develop a strategy for marketing and distributing their product. They had to decide on pricing and who their target market would be. They will present in front of the entire class, in business attire. For my son, that means a blue, pin-striped suit. My contribution was to help my son select a tie, and to grace it with one of my perfect Windsor knots.
The product my son's team was assigned? Coloured and scented toilet paper.
Although my son is in grade nine, most of the classmates in this particular course are grade ten students. These kids know much more about business theory than I did in my twenties. I knew virtually nothing when I started my early businesses. I learned by trial and error.
I wonder how many of these kids will actually become entrepreneurs when they finish school. Knowing the terminology of business certainly can't hurt, but I wonder sometimes if business courses don't teach kids that things can only be done a certain way, and thereby help create a bunch of managers and executives, but relatively few entrepreneurs. How many MBAs do you know who started their own businesses from scratch? Most MBAs I have encountered over the years have been managers or executives in companies where, at best, they are minority shareholders.
Becoming an entrepreneur means wanting independence more than anything else. It usually means working much harder for yourself than you would ever do for someone else, expending more hours, making more sacrifices, taking bigger risks. Of course, sometimes it pays off handsomely. Sometimes it doesn't. Either way, it is not usually the money or the status that attracts entrepreneurs to develop businesses. It is the independence. Most entrepreneurs I know are very happy to be out of the limelight.
It seems that my son is very interested in business and that he will continue taking related courses throughout his high school years. He will learn lots of interesting things and then be able to point out to me all of the things I have done wrong since I started my first business at age 17.
Great. Just what I need, another critic.