Encouraging the next business generation

Is the younger next business generation prepared to get their hands dirty?

This question recently came up in a casual conversation with a group of farmers at a forum in Adelaide and I fully sympathised with them. While there are some fantastic young people making waves in agriculture, in general terms Australia’s younger generation comes across as only wanting to work on their terms.

Back at home, only a day after the forum, I heard the tinkle of the doorbell. A young girl, probably around 10 years of age, was clasping a backpack in her arms.

“Would you like to buy some broad beans to plant in your garden?” she asked. Not waiting for my answer she launched into her sales pitch. Flawed though it was, her enthusiasm shone through and this enterprising young lady, who apparently lives two blocks away, happily informed me that she’d made $100 so far with her door to door sales.

Personally, I just wanted to hug the child and then go and congratulate her parents. What a great start in life she is getting. If only more children learned the skill of enterprise at an early age, how much better prepared they would be for their working life ahead.

Research has shown that young people who come from a business family or know someone in business are over 30 percent more likely to consider going into business themselves. Often helping out in the family business, these children learn valuable skills at an early age. I know because I was one of them and so were my children, and now their children are growing up in the same environment.

With a growing trend of more contract work and less full time positions being offered by the big corporates, I worry about the skills of those who do not have business connections. Life is about to get a lot tougher for them.

People offering their services on a contract (business) basis will need a whole range of new skills. Instead of just rocking up to work they will have to learn how to manage their own time to ensure that they achieve enough billable hours in a day. They may even have to establish their own workplace. Communication and marketing skills will become essential if they wish to win contracts and develop positive relationship with clients. And, they will need to know how to invoice those clients and how to monitor expenses and cash flow throughout the year. And we mustn’t forget reporting to the Australian Taxation Office!

As always, the trick will be finding something that we’re passionate about that can also make us an income. At other times, we may just have to get our hands dirty to put food on the table at night.

The best thing we can do is encourage all young people to value money and learn how to earn it an early age. Selling broad beans is a fantastic start in life I reckon.

Kerry Anderson – www.kerryanderson.com.au – businesswoman, philanthropist and community advocate from Central Victoria who is passionate about rural and regional small business

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