Ah, the long, lazy days of summer are fast approaching and school’s nearly out. Some kids are natural entrepreneurs, making summer a fantastic opportunity to launch a business. Others, however, may need a little encouragement.

In either case, now is the time to start thinking about how to help your kids walk in your footsteps and start a summer business.

The Benefits of Fostering Kid Entrepreneurs

Why encourage your kids to start a summer business? There are valuable life-long lessons to be learned! For one, the value–and rewards–of hard work. As you are well aware, running a small business is tough, so just the level of commitment required to get it off the ground is an invaluable lesson in hard work. Some other things that they can learn are how to manage money, time, and resources – and business management basics such as marketing, pricing, sales, sourcing materials, profit and loss, and customer service. In addition to getting their hands dirty in the business world, launching a summer business provides kids with the opportunity to earn their own spending money, start saving for college, and stay engaged throughout the summer. Your child will gain entrepreneurial experience that could lay the groundwork for future endeavors, making this a low risk, high reward opportunity.

Help Your Kids Select a Good Summer Business

Some business ideas for kids could be as simple as selling lemonade at a lemonade stand, mowing lawns, walking dogs, washing windows, making jewelry, or babysitting. Teen entrepreneurs may be interested in something more complex such as giving computer lessons, selling items out of your brick and mortar location, or setting up an online store – the possibilities are varied indeed, but any one of these can be a great summer business for kids. Keep in mind that the ideal summer business for your child may not be the business you would have chosen for yourself. Start by exploring your child’s unique interests and skills, and work together to brainstorm business ideas that complement them.

Help Your Kids Get Started

While your child may have a great idea for a summer business, like most things, a little parental guidance may be in order.

Make it Official

Check with your city, county, and state to ensure that you comply with any applicable laws, licensing, or permit requirements. Help your child set up the business and order inexpensive business cards. After all, your child may take the business more seriously when it’s officially a business.

Be a Shark

Most new summer businesses will have some start-up costs, and as the parent of a child or teen entrepreneur, you’re probably going to be the primary investor. That said, don’t just write a blank check. Consider having your kids prepare a pitch like on Shark Tank. This could be a fantastic learning opportunity as your kids will need to learn how to prepare a business plan, consider their costs and profit margins, identify their market, and more. Their business plan doesn’t have to be a huge 50-page document, they can easily write a business plan on a Cocktail Napkin. This is an opportunity for them to gain a better understanding of what their goals are, and clarify your expectations about your investment in the business. For example, if you offer $100 in start-up funds, do you expect to be repaid in some manner? Will you reinvest your profit based on whether or not they meet their goals? Will you offer matching funds for any money put aside for college?

Let Them Do the Work

Finally, let them do the work. Yes, you can pitch in here and there and offer advice when asked, but the real value, lessons, and rewards come from doing the work on their own. If you want your kid entrepreneurs to get from child’s play to payday it’s important that you teach them how to solve problems on their own.

Helping your kids tap into their passions and talents to start a summer business is an excellent way to introduce them to basic business concepts and set them on a path towards entrepreneurship. We can’t promise that they won’t become another hamster on that dreaded corporate wheel, but hey, entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. At the very least you are getting them involved, encouraging them to take appropriate risks, building their self-confidence and teaching them the value of a hard-earned buck. School’s nearly out – how will your kids spend summer vacation?

Yamarie Grullon

Yamarie Grullon has years of experience creating helpful & engaging content for small business owners. As Director of Content Strategy at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Yamarie provides merchants with practical advice on all things related to business or point of sale.