expressed opinion entrepreneur Contributors are their own.
One of the most interesting things in the world is starting a business. There is nothing more rewarding than challenging yourself and turning ideas into reality. Seeing my own 7-year-old daughter start her own business selling eggs from our backyard chickens has confirmed this to me.
There are five chickens affectionately named “Ruby” in our family. My daughter was eager to try her hand at starting a business and realized that with one egg a day per chicken, we have more eggs than we need. She made a plan to sell the extra eggs in packs of six dozen and ten to our neighbors.
I’m proud to say she sold out a year in two hours. Her success got me thinking – what lessons can I draw from this to apply my entrepreneurial spirit and leadership?
1. Jump your boots into a puddle first
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received in business is to start before you’re ready. Everyone is a beginner once and there is no better way to learn than simply by doing. Great things happen when we challenge ourselves to learn and grow outside our comfort zone. Get your boots dirty and get to work!
It’s okay to do this work before you know what each step will bring. I can guarantee absolutely no one can figure it out completely, and the only way to learn and grow fast is to simply start.
One of the big lessons I’ve learned in my career is that it’s okay to spin. Trying out new strategies or approaching from a different angle is not a bad thing, it will only help you in the long run.
2. Don’t be afraid to take on different roles
While always relevant, in the early days of a business, leaders simply cannot be afraid to take on different roles. In the early days of DOZR, our leadership team was busy doing whatever needed to be done—and we certainly weren’t the only founders who held multiple roles.
In her egg sales business, my daughter is responsible for marketing, sales, delivery, customer service and animal care. There’s a lot to be said for hiring someone who can fill gaps in your field that you might lack, and I’m certainly not suggesting that you run your own expansion business. However, getting to the bottom is very rewarding. Gaining insight into different roles and departments can give you a fresh perspective on your business from the inside out.
3. Keep Your Messaging Simple
Messaging can easily be puzzling. That’s fair – you’re excited about your business! But consumers are busy. Make your message easy to read and to the point. Articulate what you offer your customers and why you are the best at it.
My daughter’s marketing message, while basic, was effective because it focused on results. She chose her platform and shared her proposal.
“Hi, my name is Maggie, and I have five chickens. Their names are Ruby #1, Ruby #2, Ruby #3, Ruby #4, and Ruby #5. Ruby each lays one egg per day. They are free range Yes, organic and delicious. We have 18 extra eggs available for purchase each week. $3.50 for 6 eggs or $6.00 for 12 eggs.”
4. Customer service matters
Customer service is a must for success. Happy customers can have many positive effects for a brand: referrals, referrals, reputation building, repeat customers. Understand what your customers need and figure out how to provide them with that.
My 7 year old daughter is thinking about how to get her customers to get their eggs. She offered two options for free: curbside pickup and after-school bike delivery. After her initial success, neighbors demanded alternate delivery schedules to share supplies.
5. Take care of your team
Perhaps the most important lesson learned in business and life is to take care of your team. Rubies are vital to my daughter’s success, but they require consistent care and maintenance. The effort of careful care pays off in the long run.
Happy employees make successful organizations. Numerous studies have proven that happy employees are productive employees, and there is even evidence that companies that are recognized for employee happiness show greater financial success.
Most importantly, never forget to keep the business fun. To me, there is no better way to challenge yourself and test your creativity and problem-solving skills than starting a business. There is no limit to what you can achieve by capturing this fun.
Starting an egg selling business has improved my daughter’s financial literacy, helped build her confidence, and gave her real customer service experience, one of many tiny life lessons she’s accumulated along the way. If she learned these valuable skills by selling eggs for $3.50, imagine what you could learn through your business. On top of that, a child’s willingness to learn and a willingness to never be the smartest person in the room is a business lesson in itself – worth a listen.