We’ve had over a hundred Gr 9 students set up businesses since the start of the year. A term later, we’ve asked them what this workshop has taught them about entrepreneurship.
One answer was that they learnt to have a new perspective on failure.
It only took a few weeks for every small business to start facing some setbacks. Something unexpected happens and sometimes things just simply don’t go as planned.
Dealing with each setback, and problem solving the way to a new solution or business tactic, takes up most of the time spent on a new business.
For example, once a cleverly thought out advert has been placed, our young business owners expect customers to come seek them and their product out. This is rarely how things pan out.
When students aren’t getting the customers they expected, they face the choice between giving up or seeing the problem as a business failure that they need to learn from and overcome. Some businesses realise that their product is not appealing enough and choose to change it into a product that far outdoes their initial idea, ending up with a more successful business than they had initially planned for. Others realise that they need to work on their marketing skills and find new, more creative ways to get customers to pay attention to what they are offering. Some of these small businesses realise that people are interacting with their marketing, like their product or service, but are not willing to put in work and effort to actually get the product. These groups invent new ways to bring their product or service closer to their market, making it easy for customers to buy from them.
Each time the students engage with these setbacks and failures, their business skills and their business both come out stronger.
Learning to face our failures and learn from them, rather than allowing them close doors for us, is an incredible life skill to have.
Our young business owners have a brand-new understanding of what it means to fail and how to deal with setbacks in a positive way.