Editorial: Business vs. Sports

How Do You Teach Kids Business? – Teaching Kids Business With The Sports Approach.

Why is it that we expose kids to sports at an early age, but we practically ignore business?

We expose kids to sports for a number of good reasons which include; to exercise, expend energy, keep them busy, socialize, develop skills, self-esteem, confidence, team play, keep them off the streets, prepare them for a potential future career in sports and many other reasons. Everyone has their own motive and to many people it is an acceptable practice that they seem to follow.

Kids dream about playing in pro leagues, they watch and learn about the sport, they read about it, they practice drills to develop their skills, they find time to play in leagues and pick-up games and parents find the time to play with them or watch them. Often the kids compromise their education, or a least a grade point or two. Parents also spend a lot of time and money on equipment, leagues, tournaments, training and coaching.

We have all heard of the childhood stories of great athletes and we know the impact it has had on many kids aspiring to be the next greatest. How often do we talk to kids about a great business leader or accomplished business person?

What if we took the “sports approach” to preparing kids for business? We can take many of the same reasons we choose to teach sports at an early age and apply them to business. We can take the same approach as we do with sports and can be successful with a fraction of the commitment that kids give to sports. It does not have to be “one or the other” approach. It is really about balance of life or balancing priorities.

Kids will more than likely end up with a business career rather than a sports career. Let’s make teaching kids business at an early age, as early as eight, as acceptable as sports. Expose kids to business at an early age; try different businesses until you find one they like (explore different career paths and business as you would try different sports), teach the fundamentals or basic skills first (time management, organizational skills, problem solving, and presenting ideas, etc.), while working up to competitive games (participating in a business, doing odd jobs or getting their first job). This is basically the sports approach.

The exposure stage can be as simple as starting to talk about varies career choices kids have, do some research, talk to friends parents, talk to local business operators. Find out what is going on in various businesses.

The fundamentals can be learned through every day activities but with more goal setting, performance measures and feedback.

The competitive games stage is really just getting business experience. The more responsibility the greater the experience.

There are also lots of cases in which sporting leagues were started. Start a business club and take the same kind of steps as a sports league would do to grow. Get organized, get kids involved and give them a great experience.

There are all kinds of sports cases, so one thing we could do is to take your favorite case and substitute the sport with a business choice and the well known athlete with a child. Try and work through a plan to accomplish great things using similar strategies.

Be assured that once there is a demand for business preparation education, business will respond.

Written by: Jeff M. Brown, Founder and President & CEO, TeachingKidsBusiness.com