Mark Cuban’s Perfect Advice for Kid Entrepreneurs

A kid entrepreneur is not like and adult entreprenuer. Treat them differently–or you miss the whole point.

Nothing feels better than to talk to a couple of kid entrepreneurs with a good idea, youthful enthusiasm and that air of possibility. It gives me hope for our future. Really. Let’s understand that the speed of change is so profound today, that we will require leaders who embrace the change instead of being in fear of change.

Shark Tank’s success as a show featuring entrepreneur’s discussing/negotiating idea validation from both sides of a transaction has brought entrepreneurship to the living room. Their willingness to feature kids is even more special as it reveals the possibility of success at any age. Check out Mark’s advice to his younger self.

Check out my good friend Mikaila Ulmer of BeeSweet Lemonade or Ryan Kelly of Ryan’s Barkery both who negotiated deals on the show. I have had the pleasure to work with both as part of Independent Youth, an organization that works with kid entrepreneurs teaching other kids about entrepreneurship.

We all know that creating a successful company is difficult at any age. Finding a timely good idea then executing a product roll out while generating enough revenue to actually make a business profitable and cover your costs is one of the hardest set of tasks I am aware of.

One question is; do kids have an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to starting and building a company?

So, I looked around and found some thoughts from Mark Cuban that applies directly to kid entrepreneurs. Mark has given lots of advice over the years, but this one thought resonates clearly for kids (and everyone else for that matter).

In order to maximize your chances of business success, set reasonable goals.

This is where kids may have an advantage. As adults we tend to dream bigger and unfortunately get caught up in all of the elements that make up that dream. Every idea starts with one customer, but the next thing we know, we are thinking about thousands of customers.

Kids tend to stay more grounded and therein lies a great piece of advice for everyone. Set small and reasonable goals (like finding 10 customers who will buy your custom wheelchair bling) and work diligently to achieve those goals. Then set new goals.

If you are a parent of advisor to a kid entrepreneur, be careful that you don’t complicate the journey by bringing your adult dreams to the project. Stay grounded, reinforce the idea of small goals and have fun seeing what happens.

Speaker, investor, mentor, startup founder. One of 3 or 4 Co-Founders of MapQuest (sold to AOL for $1.2B). Managing Director of $25M Venture Fund in late 90's. CEO, COO or President of various companies ranging from $200k to $20M in size. One of two Managing Directors of The Startup Factory (35 investments across 7 cohorts), founder and MC of the Big Top Reverse Job Fair and national writer and speaker waxing poetic around startups and startup communities. Currently EIR @ Techstars with Brad Feld ~ Startup Communities, to help community leaders around the world grow their startup community.

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