Let Your Kids Impress You

Assumptions have always been my weakness. I make too many. I try to predict other peoples reactions or how a scenario might play out so I can prepare for whatever the next steps are ahead of time. When I am correct, I save time and effort, plus experience internal satisfaction, as we all do, that I got it right!

But for the times I am wrong, sometimes there is frustration or annoyance because my plans have fallen apart and I have to reorganize "the game plan". A simple example is planning how much food to make when company comes over. Too much or too little. Rarely my assumptions are correct.

But what I absolutely LOVE, is when my assumptions are wrong and the results are AMAZING. That is exactly what happened to me last week.

This summer, Build a Biz Kids launched our Inventor's Paradise 1 Week Summer Camp and it was amazing! Everyday the students left so excited about the ideas they came up with and the prototypes they were able to design from scratch, all based on their imagination.

On the first day, the last activity is to capture a pink fluffy monster who is hiding out in their closet, eating marshmallows and chewing holes in their socks. That little rascal! Their job is the design a trap to capture this pink fluffy monster using materials they are provided. Well, to plan this camp, you need to make MANY assumptions because you want to ensure you give them all supplies that they can work with and not limit their imagination. At the same time, you don't want to bring the entire Michaels Craft Store to each day of camp. So, I thought, if I were them, how would I make a trap.

My first thought, Tissue Boxes! Of course! They will want to capture a monster in a box with whatever mechanism they come up with but a box would be the main part of their trap for sure! Throughout the months prior, I ensured that I could collect enough tissue boxes for everyone as well as other supplies like paper cups, string, elastics and so much more. I wanted to make sure they could really let their minds wander.

Well, the day came and the facilitators explained their task. Catch That Monster! And they did, Oh Boy did they ever! And guess what?! Only ONE of them used a tissue box. Other than that, each student did something completely different and amazing! I was so impressed.

In fact, each day they came up with cell phone holders, robotic claws, and even arcades games, all made by their own two hands and vivid imagination. It was truly one of the most fun camps ever and we can't wait to make a few tweaks and run it again next week. In fact, we have 3 more Inventor Paradise Camps left this summer.

You can find the 2019 Summer Schedule and additional details here. 

So, I guess there is a bit of a lesson here, for me anyway. Planning dinners are hard; stop trying to get it right. And, Kids have different, more dynamic imaginations than you. Don't place assumptions on what they WILL do. Don't set limitations on what they CAN do. Just give them the space, and they will impress you every time.


Solving Problems, 1 At a Time Isn't Enough

I think that all of us can agree, there are a lot of problems in the world. Some, of course, are higher priority than others. don't get me wrong, today we live in a world that is more incredible than any other generation through technology, innovation and modern comforts. But, there are still human need crises that need our attention such as homelessness, illiteracy, war, illness; Man made problems that have come from these modern developments, such as plastics in oceans, air pollution and climate change; not to mention day to day hassles of keeping my iPhone charged, getting stains our of my favourite shirt and keeping my house clean.

If you have a long "To Do" list like I do, then perhaps you have a tendency to tackle the easier ones first; build that momentum up and hopefully take on the bigger ones "Later", whenever that is....

When looking at the world around us, listening to the news or scrolling through my Facebook feed, I can't help but think that the world can sometimes takes this approach as well. I can buy blinds with a remote that makes them go up and down automatically, buy booties for my dog's paws and even have the luxurious option of sitting in my car while it runs on a track and a machines washes my car **touchless**, yet we haven't figured out a way to get clean water to 3rd world countries, and in some cases, even in parts of North America such as Flint, MI. It seems off balanced, no? All of these incredible minds and millions of dollars in spending are being utilized to make our every days lives even more enjoyable, easier and certainly more fashionable.

We seek to teach our students that, rather than complaining about it or chatting with friends about what a mess the world is in while enjoying the luxuries around us, let's find a solution and take immediate action to see where we end up and then do it all over again. As we don't want to be hypocrites, at Build a Biz Kids, we try to take on the same approach, but not all positive contributions are a direct, head on course to providing clean water to more communities.

We believe that each and every one of us have special skills and talents that can bring incredible change to the world, as well as incredible fulfillment to the individuals providing the solutions. But this is key! While some can naturally play every sport out there with a good degree of skill, others have 2 left feet but, instead, can take a computer apart and put it back together again. Some might have struggled through school and even failed a large part of science and math class but once triggered by a surging desire to make positive change and contribution, all of the sudden their limitations in math are no longer an issue (Thomas Edison, who developed one of the first light bulbs, was one of these people).

Where I believe we go wrong, in many ways, is by asking the wrong questions of ourselves. Instead of asking, "how can I make a positive difference in the world?", the question should be, "based who I am when I feel happy, what I am driven to learn more about and that I would be excited to execute on, that could positively effect the world?".

I would like to introduce Kelly & Desiree. They started Ruben's Shoes. "Ruben's Shoes believes that every child should have access to an Education.
They believe that all children are the same and every single child around the world should have access to the same opportunities, regardless of where they were born or where they live."

60 million children around the world are not able to attend school. One of the reasons why, is shoes. Aside from the incredible long walks many of them have to take each day to get to school, once there, they are not allowed entry without a proper set of shoes. For many families, shoes are an expense they can't afford. Kelly met Ruben in the Dominican Republic and he completely changed her life. She saw the extreme poverty they lived in but also felt the love they gave her while she was there. She decided that day to help. She didn't know what the solution was right away, nor understood how big her mission could take her, but she DID know the answer to the question above.

  • Based on who she was, she couldn't stand by and do nothing.
  • She was driven by the mission to help this family, and others like them
  • She was willing to learn the logistics and mechanics of helping Ruben and families like his
  • And WOW, was she excited to get started with this mission to positively effect the world

Kelly and Desiree started Rubens shoes with just the small thought of collecting shoes and sending them to the Dominican. In just a short time, these little shoe drives became enormous containers of shoes being shipped each year.

Now, they have managed to build an elementary school and have a high school that is due to complete construction in the Dominican in the fall of 2020.

If Kelly had asked herself, "how can I make a positive difference in the world" while working as an Insurance Broker with Desiree at the time, just think of how much time she would have spent spinning her wheels trying to figure it out. Maybe she could try recycling more, maybe she could volunteer a few times a week. But that would have been the wrong question at the time. Instead she opened herself up to an experience, met new people, and had a kind heart which led her to Ruben.

So, let's bring it back to where we started in this article. There are a LOT of Problems in the World. How much time today did you spend thinking of those without drinking water? Kids without shoes? Did you notice plastic in the ocean and spend an hour trying to figure out a solution? No? Don't worry, me neither. Most of us have our own day to day problems we are facing or, in a sad way, we have grown accustomed to hearing about these issues, seeing them but not really looking at them. We see a story on Facebook and get angry or sad for a moment, wish them the best and them keep scrolling onto the next one. We play our small part and maybe pick up litter off the ground if we see it but to tackle it in a bigger way, it's not at the top of our To Do List.

You might be saying, enough with the shame game! What is Build a Biz Kids doing about anything? Well, here are the answers to that same question above.

  • Based on who we are, Entrepreneurship is what we know and love. EVERY child deserves to learn these skills earlier than college
  • We are driven to learn what we need to do to provide this education to students, as young as age 7, through until they graduate high school
  • We are MASSIVELY excited to execute quickly on reaching 100,000 students directly by 2035 with these skills
  • Our desire is to instill awareness & Social Entrepreneurship skills in children & youth so they can view their world differently, utilize their raw creativity to seek new solutions, and tap into their natural emotional connection they have towards topics that matter to them. We look to develop 100,000 NEW problem solvers in the world who are equipped with the tools, support and skills to take action on their ideas.

http://BuildaBizKids.com 

Inventor's Paradise is a NEW Summer Camp this summer, 2019, that tackles problem solving in a BIG way. In this 1 week, full day camp, students tackle problems in their life, their friends and families, and even the world! But then they take ACTION! They develop prototypes and test solutions over and over again to understand that nothing is ever perfect, but it's always a start to making things better for people around them.

Summer Camps are registering now for Summer 2019
https://buildabizkids.com/summer-camp-schedule/


Is What You "Know" Losing You Money?

Today was one of the more interesting days for seeing development in our students during our Build a Biz Kids Lemonade Stand Challenge Summer Camp. Day 3 is all about creating prototypes of their product and then test marketing them with real people; A critical step in any business but more often than not, it's skipped.

No really, it is. Look at your business. When was the last time you gave a sample of your business service or product while in development to a customer and asked for their opinion on it from top to bottom, start to finish & encourage raw truth? And I don't mean an online survey with a score of 1-5 for satisfaction.

Let's take a Mortgage Broker or Real Estate Agent as an example. Many don't even consider their service to be testable or in development. It is what it is and I just do what everyone does. Advertise, have a coffee with clients, do my thing and then send flowers or a gift at the end. But services should be tested formally just as much as products.

The most dangerous entrepreneurs are those who made a tangible product based on their own personal need and fail to ask HONEST feedback on it from strangers. Tangible products cost a lot of money, especially when buying in high quantities so please, please, don't just ask friends and family. Stand on a street corner or go to your potential market and ask them to rip it to shreds. In fact, only ask them for negative feedback and see what you get. Best to know now then once you have spent $100k on a warehouse of widgets only 20 people might be willing to buy.

This is where What You "Know" Might Be Costing You Money. Because what you know is not always what everyone else is willing to pay for.

Day 3 of our Build a Biz Kids Summer Camp is a special day and a BIG eye opener for our students. As many parents know, kids taste pallets are not as developed and, therefore, sometimes their concoctions are not what they thought they would be.

For example, the Red team wanted to create a cherry lemonade & a lemonade and Sprite with pretty straws & pink tissue bows. The Blue team created an orange lemonade and mango lemonade with dainty lemon wedges on the cups.

One mixed, the Red team didn't like the tart cherry juice at all. (I think they envisioned grenadine and not real cherry juice). While the Lemonade & Sprite was better, only half of the team was ok with the tart lemon flavour and fizzy bubbles of the Sprite.

The Blue team battled it out but ended up scraping their orange lemonade due to the "yucky" factor and, again, were split over how successful their mango lemon twist would be.

After pouring and garnishing their samples, they went out into the world and found brave adults to try their mixtures. With notebooks in hand, they explained their recipes and asked direct questions about their product.

"On a scale of 1-5, how do you like the taste? How pretty is it? What don't you like about it? Do you have any additional comments so we can make it better?"

What surprised them was that adults like the taste of the tart lemonade and the feeling of fizzy Sprite on their tongue. They also liked the mango twist and thought it was tropical tasting. The kids who were very certain that no one would like it were a little confused but in a good way. They were relieved they had a recipe that might work!

"It needs to be colder though", "I wouldn't drink this in the morning because it's too sweet but in the afternoon it would be perfect!", "I feel like I should be in the sun drinking this! It's so tropical!"

The kids were sometimes confused by the feedback as some liked sweet drinks and others didn't. Some loved mango and others weren't as big of fans. They learned the value of note taking and, at the end, reviewed their results. The kids who were shy to talk to strangers ended up forgetting their were chatting with random adults because they were super interested in hearing the feedback and write it down.

Aside from becoming better bartenders, these kids explored some important lessons from the day.

- Don't assume your taste buds are the same as others.

- You can't please everyone, so go with the majority

- Don't assume you will get it perfect the first time but keep working on it

- Always welcome negative feedback. It does't mean you did anything wrong or should give up. It means you know more now so you can make it better next time. Negative feedback is just as important as positive feedback

We are often asked, what is the difference between your programs? Well, in the end, nothing, and everything. A child could take our program over and over and over again, especially our after school programs, and never have the same experience. We teach kids how to start a business and to skip any of these critical steps would be setting them up to fail.

While we dive deeper into concepts in some courses more than others, yes, your child will learn how to developed a product or service through exploring passions & solving problem. They will learn how to make a prototype and test it as much as possible. They will develop a marketing plan and test out their communication with a 30 second elevator pitch before going to market.

But guess what, we would make you do all of that too :-)