A Letter To Our Students & Kids Everywhere For 2019

A letter to Children in communities everywhere.

Congratulations to our students and children everywhere for everything you have learned and experienced in 2018! Just think of where you started last year and all that you have learned.

Maybe you were introduced to multiplication and division last year. Maybe you got to jump off the diving board for the first time or drive a go cart! Did you score your first goal in soccer or catch a fish? Maybe you read your first book with no pictures and can spell words that are 10 letters long now! I bet you were even introduced to some pretty BIG concepts like what nutrition is, why water is important and shouldn't be wasted and that situations are not always good or bad, black or white but that sometimes there is grey area that should be considered.

Over the next few years, you will continue to grow your mind, expand your thinking, and experience activities and learn new skills that seemed so daunting once before. But once you take that leap and do it for the first time, suddenly you will realize that you can overcome anything just by trying, practicing and taking a chance on yourself.

All of us at Build a Biz Kids are so proud and excited for what's to come for you. 2019 will be great, but it is still just the beginning of what we know you will take on and conquer.

So much of growing up is just understanding how BIG and VAST the world is around you. How kids your age live and learn differently in other countries compared to how you live and learn here. That the number of sports, dance, science, music, professions, ideas and FUN you have been exposed to is just .0001% of all of the incredible things you have yet to see and be amazed by.

You have so much to look forward to and the best part, it never ends! You will always get to look forward to learning something new every single day and find something new that get's you so excited you can't even sit in your seat! Every single day you have the chance to find something that will expand your mind and make the world around you a little better, a little kinder, and little more beautiful.

Are you excited for today? Are you excited to learn something new that will make you and someone you love smile?

Well, here's the thing. Sometimes, if we don't practice finding something new each day, if we don't exercise our brains to find something every day that makes us smile, it forgets how to do it. Doesn't that sound sad? Wouldn't that be terrible if we couldn't learn anything new?

At Build a Biz Kids, we want you to never stop learning. We want you to find something new every day that makes you smile and then have so much fun learning how to do it yourself through practice. It takes practice every day to get better but if you do it enough, just like math or reading or playing sports or playing a video game, it get's easier and even more fun!

To our wonderful students and children everywhere who are about to take on 2019 and learn and grow and hopefully have even more fun then last year, we wish you a Happy New! Take on the world, it is your playground, but only if you never stop learning.

Sincerely, your biggest fans,

The Team at Build a Biz Kids


OH! What If .....???

“Oh! What if….?”

The most amazing part about working with kids is that they have yet to learn what the box is and are not limited to what ideas are “in the box” or “out of the box” thinking.

Only two weeks into our after-school program launch and I’ve found a new favorite phrase. “Oh! What if….?” It’s a phrase that comes with bright excited eyes and usually the student is bouncing a little in their chair. This phrase “oh! What if….?” Is the beginning of possibility and an exercise in creative showcasing.

Problem solving is a creative process and, in our KidPreneur programming, we focus on seeing problems as opportunities to be creative. In yesterday’s class we presented several everyday problems like spilled milk, muddy dog paws, sand on the beach towel and muffins that stick to the wrapper. In teams, the kids began to develop new innovative products to address these problems. Once the kids got a few safe ideas out of the way and were over the fear of being “wrong” the energy in the room began to soar as ideas began to flow.

“We can’t think of anything to clean a dog’s muddy paws”, quickly became “Oh! What if we had socks the dog could wear!”

That’s when the ideas began to flow “Oh! What if we had a brush that sprayed water to get the mud off….. Oh! What if it included a soap dispenser…? Oh! What if it also attached to a hose… Oh! And what if it also blew bubbles to entertain the dog… Oh! Or what if it dispenses a dog treat…”

I anticipate that I will have a new favorite phrases and parts of the program every week but for now, I am inspired by watching these kids discover their creative authority as they take ownership of their ideas a present them to the class. As the kids left for the day, there was an excitement and anticipation for the opportunities in front of them and I could tell the thoughts of “oh! What if…?” was going home with them and I hope this empowerment stays with these KidPreneurs long after the program.


No Tech Zone After School Programs - Why We Do It

Too much screen time is often a common complaint among parents concerning their children. Oddly, however, some parents wonder how we can run a program on Entrepreneurship and teach them how to start their own business without the use of tech in this modern age.

I wanted to give a short and sweet reason for why that is and let you know how we believe technology fits in. With our Incredible after school programs starting just around the corner (register soon to save your child's seat!)

Technology is, without a doubt, a powerful business tool that has enabled businesses to grow faster, extend their reach to more customers, and allowed them to streamline otherwise huge expenses in way of manufacturing, customer ordering and so on. It's basically mandatory if you want to start or own 99.98% of businesses out there today and be successful. So why don't we, not only encourage the use of technology, but ban it, from our Learning Labs?

Simple. Learning technology has nothing to do with learning to become an entrepreneur.

Here is what I mean.

We are teaching the understanding, methodology, and problem solving. savvy skills required to launch a small business. Businesses don't tend to fail because of technology (unless they blow their budgets on unnecessary tech). They fail do to not understanding why they are doing something, skipping crucial steps (such as testing their product) and confusing their customer.

We want kids to be able to dive in and build their business quickly so they can learn, implement, adjust, learn, implement, adjust and so on.

Here is an example. Our students will be coming up with a name for their business, a logo and then carrying that forward onto their marketing signage and packaging of their products. We could set them up with design software and have them go back and forth to learn the program and try to create the desired look that isn't the point of the exercise.

The point is to learn what branding is, how it impacts a consumers perception of what you are offering, and why consistency and brand integrity is key. Whether it's computer generated or creatively drawn by hand doesn't matter. They can learn more about creating a more crisp and professional look if they decide to pursue their business further after their program. We need them to understand why, take action, gain a reaction and feedback from customers, reflect, and do it again.

Beside, many of our students take our program and start a business but by the end, decide they want to try a different business, or pursue their current one by stepping it up a notch. Wasted time learning new programming can slow them down and, frankly, be frustrating when all you want to see is progress.

We are very excited about our upcoming after school programming, and especially the Kids' Market Day where everything they have learned is applied. As we develop more and more budding young entrepreneurs, we look forward to offering additional courses that can develop their base level skills and demonstrate the power of technology, when it's used safely and effectively.

For more information on our After School Programs, Click Here

For our current Fall Schedule that is Registering Online NOW, Click Here


4 Successful Summer Camps, Over $1000 Raised for Charities

What a Summer!!??!! A HUGE thank you to all of our parents, students & community who supported our KidPreneur Summer Camps! And of course, a Gigantic thank you to Vancity for the support and use of their facilities and our friends at each of the local grocers we were able to set up shop with! We couldn't have done it without you.

This summer, Vancity nominated 4 incredible local charities that the students raised money for through their lessons in social entrepreneurship with Build a Biz Kids.

    * SHARE Family & Community Services

    * 3030 Gordon Project 

    * Starfish Backpack 

    * PoCo Youth Services

All together, in less than 3 hours of hustle in each camp, about an hour per team, they raised WELL OVER $1000!

Through teamwork, determination, learning and execution, these kids have made a big difference in their communities.

Next up are our After School programs starting in September. Many of our Summer Camp Students have already registered but there is still space left.

Students in our after school programs start their own business, step by step, and   learn what it feels like to create a product that someone else wants, to hear no more than once and still be successful, to earn their own money and understand the value of it, and so much more!

We have 2 locations available in the Tri Cities/Burnaby area and the ages are broken up for 7-9 year olds and 10-12 year olds so we can really dive into the reading, writing and mathematics.

Click here to see our current schedule

Click here to see our program descriptions

Click here to register now

Don't wait long, many parents have already pre-registered their child and each class has limited space.


What Will My Kids Takeaway After Their Program?

Often as parents, when we spend money and time on our children, we, rightly so, ask ourselves what is the value in this? What will they takeaway or learn? Is it worth it?

This summer we are wrapping up the last of our summer camp programs and kids from 7-12 years have walked through as a team, starting their own Lemonade Stand Business.

Lemonade Stands have been around for a very long time and seem fairly basic. Get a table, get some lemonade and see if anyone will buy it that is walking by. What is there to teach that they couldn't learn on their own?

Well, let's step back a moment, shall we? In all aspects of life, any action we do can be done with a varying level of depth and effort. Sports, work, exercising, cleaning the house and so on. Likewise, a "business", or in this case, a lemonade stand, is the same way.

Have you been to Playland this summer or any local fair? Have you ever seen that BIG Lemon shaped stand that sells fresh squeezed lemonade (which is absolutely delicious btw)? Well, people pay their mortgage doing that. The only difference is the level they decided to take their lemonade stand vs what I did with my Kool-Aid stand as a kid.

On our summer camp program, kids learn about what a business is but also the information, brainstorming and action required to really make it a success.

They didn't just sell lemonade, they came up with different recipes, mixed them and then asked the public to try their concoctions for feedback on sweetness and preference. Information = one step closer to success.

Next, they came up with names, a brand, posters with which to attract attention and promote their business. Brainstorming & Teamwork = taking action that will get them one more step closer to success.

Then, it's the big day! Pressure is on. Time to communicate a message and convert passersby into sales. They role play, practice, watch videos on customer service and how to offer value. Information + Action = a BIG Success for any first business.

Of course they also understand their costs, profit, and pricing as bonuses.

But let's go back to the initial question. What will my kids takeaway after the program?

Here is a quick, tangible example. Meet Taiga and Rio. Two brothers who took on our Lemonade Stand Challenge just a couple weeks ago. Once their program was done, it appears that the entrepreneurial bug dug in deep and they decided to use what they learned and run with it! They started a Snow Cone Stand for Charity! How incredible is that!

We couldn't be more proud of these two and can't wait to see them this fall in our after school program where they can take what they have already learned and kick it up even more!

So, after your child's program, maybe they are inspired to sell something else? Perhaps they want to raise money for charity or save up for that new video game. Perhaps they don't start a business at all. But what they will take away is a new way of looking at the world around them. They will know that they can take on a challenge, step by step, and make something happen. They will know that everything has a cost, money and time, and that if they gather enough information, they can make decisions that can earn a profit or deliver a desired outcome.

True, our students don't come home with each day with tangible items such as hand made mugs or cards written for mom and dad. Instead, they come home with practical knowledge that can potentially empower them for a lifetime.

For more information on our Summer Camps & Upcoming Fall After School Programs Registering Now, Visit https://buildabizkids.com/as-adwords-%26-fb-landing


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 :-)


What's the Purpose of Encouraging Creativity & Imagination?

Asking kids to use their imagination seems like a no brainer, right? If kids used their imagination more then they could occupy themselves through the day without iPads or video games. But are we missing the most important reason for encouraging creativity? And are we also missing out on the day to day opportunities where they can utilize it that doesn’t involve just playing games or keeping busy?

I am going to use a few examples again of our observations from our assorted booths that we set up at a variety of events in the Tri cities area such as Daisy DayRibFestand, coming up, Car Free Day on St Johns Street in Port Moody.

If you have been to our booth, we always have a Problem-Solving game set up where we ask kids to help us solve everyday problems. I will admit, of all the games you see at events, it doesn’t sound that exhilarating but honestly, it is often one of the busier and repeat attending games wherever we are.

3 problems are set up on a whiteboard. An example would be, help us find new or more fun ways to…

1. Keep our shoelaces from coming undone

2. Keeping our teeth clean instead of brushing

3. Keeping our room clean

4. Stopping ice cream from melting all over our hands on a hot day

5. And so on

When the kids enter our booth, they always ask what this crazy looking board is that is covered in other kid’s drawings, writing, or a combo of both. You can see their mind working with “what is this and how can I show off something on there too?”

We ask them one question. “Can you help us solve a problem?”

It’s actually the second best part of this game for us because they light up with the flattery that someone wants their help, even though they don’t even know what we need yet.

“Sure!”

We present to them one or two of the problems. Some kids give us an answer right away, others need a bit of help getting their brains going. But no matter what their answer is, we give them a big high five and ask them to write it down or draw us a picture so we can post it on our board.

“Thank you so much for your help! That was a great idea!”

There in lies the best part of the game for us. Giving them the high five because 4 out of 5 times, they ask if they can help with another problem.

Now I will be honest. Sometimes kids really give some crazy ideas. One kids came up with a slide that you go down and because you are smiling from the ride, a brush comes out and cleans your teeth as you go by. Another said a robot cleans your teeth for you that also holds a TV screen. Others come up with some really practical ideas like gum, candy or a lollipop that cleans you teeth.

But for many, they come up with ideas that aren’t all that crazy like wearing Velcro shoes instead of laces, eating ice cream in the shade, or using your finger to brush your teeth.

So why do all kids get a high five? Yes, encouragement is important in kids, but back to the question of this blog, “what is the purpose of encouraging creativity & imagination”? Because it, like everything we mentally or physically do, is an exercise and needs practice in order to get better.

Parents, I’m not trying to call you out here but I really want to encourage self-awareness in you so it rubs off on your kids.

Often when we ask the kids entering our booth if they can help us solve a problem, some parents laugh and say, “he’s a problem maker, not solver”. Or, “she isn’t very creative, but you can try”. Or once their child gives an answer, they say, “is that it?”

Creativity is not something that only comes up when they sit down by themselves and do it out of boredom because there are no other options. That just doesn’t happen much anymore with iPads and video games around. Creativity is an exercise that can be exercised when shopping in the grocery store, or when running errands, or when preparing for company coming over.

Rather than saying, “go clean your room”, or “keep busy while we get this done”, how about “can you help me with a problem? We need to go to the grocery store to buy a bunch of groceries and then get home to clean up before grandma and grandpa come over for dinner. How can we get all of these items off our grocery list faster?” and then wait. What do they say?

Do they suggest that if everyone splits up with 5 items to grab that it could go faster? That if we put rockets on the grocery cart we could get around quicker? That you should wear runners when you go to the store instead so you can run around instead of walk? Who know? Maybe they suggest you find someone to get your groceries for you? (that’s a thing and it is actually super helpful and cost effective depending on the grocery store you use. Order online and find it at your door)

Or maybe they don’t have any suggestions in the moment but they come up with something along the trip. Either way, you got them thinking and engaged in what you are doing. They are practicing practical creativity.

Yes, it actually may end up taking a bit more time or patience for you to complete your to-do list but just like our kids, we, too, need to practice seeking opportunities to find better and more creative ways to complete everyday tasks and help our kids feel more engaged in day to day life tasks.

To read previous blogs, visit our website.


Being Aware While Still Having Fun!

This weekend was a fun filled event for Build a Biz Kids. We were honoured to be volunteering at the Port Moody RibFest in the Kids Center where we had an information booth along with 3 games for kids of all ages. If you haven’t been to RibFest before, you missed out on a great event so be sure to put it into your calendar for next year.

But back to the topic of this blog. Every time we do an event we love people/family watching and observing others as it can help you to learn a lot about yourself as well as perhaps seeing through a child’s lens of the world and the people they interact with around them.

I have a few stories I would love to tell over the next few blogs that I hope will help you with your own personal journey of continuing to become a great parent and mentor to your children so they, will in turn, become successful and fulfilled adults.

The first story is an observation our VP noticed of a family of 4. Mom and Dad along with 2 kids between about 6 and 8 years.

We had 2 great games provided by the event, both along the same lines. Throw the ball or hit the puck into the wooden cut outs to test your skill & accuracy.

This family was undoubtedly having a wonderful family day together. They looked like any other family when they walked up, however, he just noticed that through their fun and laughter, they may have created a behaviour habit that we noticed wasn’t encouraging their children to try new things or take risks. Of course, once observing this, I encourage you to look in yourself, as we try to do, on whether we are also unknowingly do this as well.

Here's the innocent interaction that occurred. Each parent went up to the football toss to try their skill at throwing the football through one of the two holes in the quarterback cutout. Mom walks up and takes a try, misses and the ball bounces off the boards. The dad starts laughing very hard and encourages the kids to do the same. “Haha, you missed!”

Dad steps up and tries, misses as well. Mom roars in laughter and gets the kids giggling and pointing at dad and how he failed. “Haha, you suck!”

Everyone was having an innocent enough of a time and laughing lots which is always great but when the parents asked the kids if they wanted to try…. Unsurprisingly, each said no.

This exchange was short and innocent. Something I can see myself doing with my friends at a carnival when one tries to win the big stuffed animal and doesn’t even come close to making it. We all laugh and taunt them and it’s all in good fun with no ones feelings getting hurt. We all understand the spirit of the moment and it's a super fun time.

But in this moment, the parents are having a great time but have perhaps unknowingly created an environment where their kids don’t understand that “spirit” and have developed a fear around failing with witnesses. They have seen what happens to you when you “fail”. You are mocked, laughed at and told you suck by those you hope to have acceptance and encouragement from. Who would want to take risks in that environment?

I write this not to shame this family. Truly, we have all done this as kids, teens and adults when around peers. But like many instances, our kids haven’t developed their confidence yet and need reasons to try new things, not shy away from them.

All in all, it can sometimes be tough to understand context as adults when it comes to how you relax and converse with your best friend and significant other, vs when you are around your kids. Laughter, joking, and lightheartedness is strongly encouraged; just remember, the minds of children don't develop over night. They evolve based on the conditioning their environment presents to them.


These Aren't Real Businesses...

Businesses are Big, Daunting Tasks. Surely these 7 year olds aren’t starting a REAL Business…. Right?

One of the best days I have had so far with Build a Biz Kids was at the Tinypreneurs show this year. Tinypreneurs hosts a tradeshow exclusively of kids where they set up shop and sell their wares. It was so cool seeing these young kids take pride in products they have made and proudly speaking to potential customers about why they made each item and why the customer should buy one.

Kids have a truly authentic enthusiasm that you can’t help but get wrapped up in.

But getting back to why it was a fantastic day……

Aside from Tinypreneurs being a great event overall, coincidentally there was a small craft fair running right next to them of about 25 vendors, all adults. Walking through the kid’s booths and then taking a stride down the “grown up” businesses, they were alarmingly similar.

With exception to perhaps more expensive packaging and a lack of crayon signage, the parallels gave me a bit of a chuckle.

The adult craft fair had a delicious bake goods stand of short break cookies and other baked delights, but we had an adorable sibling team who had bags of cookies for sales as well.

There was an adult vendor selling gift cards and post cards, but we had a kid of only 11 who took incredible photographs of nature and was selling non-stop by making the pictures into gift cards, postcards and bookmarks.

Another Adult vendor had handmade soaps and candles, but, so did we on the kids side.

The list goes on. These adults have their own business and brands of products that they make and sell and repeat every weekend, online and beyond. Many earn a living this way. So, aside from the number of booths the adults run vs the kids and the online savvy of the adults having online stores (although some of our kids had that nailed down as well) these kids are taking the same steps and building a real business, the same as you or I would.

The one difference I did notice, however, was the difference in social contribution. The kids of this generation have a different perspective than perhaps generations previous to them. They want to help, they want to give back, and not just because it sounds good; but because it feels good and it keeps them motivated during the hard times.

We have created blogs on social entrepreneurship and will continue to do so in the future but needless to say, I was so proud to see so many kids taking action. They all took ownership of their businesses and many will continue to grow and adapt them as they learn more and more about their product, their market and their consumer needs.

Keep it up, everyone, of all ages!

To help nurture and grow your KidPreneur, take a look at our summer camp and after school programs registering now.