Question: As a parent, how can I assist my young child in getting funding for his or her business?
Question by: Ashley
Network for Opportunities
"It's easy to overlook the relationships that lead to collaborations, funding or new opportunities. Teach your child how to meet and network with lots of people, and encourage relationship building. By developing a long-term view of business building, you'll cultivate a characteristic many entrepreneurs struggle with -- patience."
Equip With a Computer
"If you're child is ready to start a business, he or she is most likely capable of navigating the web to find relevant sources of funding. There's plenty of guidance available online to those that seek it. And this publication is the perfect starting point!"
Coding Always Counts
"Your child can learn the basics and even advanced coding through Codecademy. I wish I could have done this as a kid growing up. Your child doesn't need to become a developer, but if they're looking to raise funding in Silicon Valley, it's important to understand how to code and how to communicate with developers."
Study the Art of the Pitch
"Like most facets in the business world, there are norms that, if understood, can increase the attractiveness of the business for investors. This is not the "art of the spin" but rather learning how to share important elements of the business so the founder and business is perceived as credible. I recommend starting this education with the book The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki."
Start Your Own Business
"I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs, making starting my own business the logical thing for me to do. It was important for me to do each step myself (including figuring out the money), but being able to ask experienced entrepreneurs, like my parents and grandparents, for their advice was invaluable. But if they hadn't had their own businesses, they wouldn't have been able to give information."
Talk Isn't Cheap
"Your child's business is best coming from their mouths, and that's what will get people excited to invest in it. So even if you're managing the deals, don't push them to the side. Let them talk to friends, investors, or anyone else who may be giving them money. It might take them a few tries to get the pitch down, but this will put them way ahead of the game in the long run."
Assist, but Don't Do the Work
"The trick is to assist, but don't do all the work. Parents can supply the helpful experience that young entrepreneurs lack. However, parents should just point their children in the right direction. For example, use some of their resources to find out what banks or investors to get in front of. My parents were always supportive, but never handed me money or made it easy."
Is Funding Actually the Answer?
"Is funding what he or she wants for the business, or is it what you want? Make sure to ask that question to your kid directly, so that he or she isn't pressured to take a path and later regret it because it wasn't his/her choice. Money is everywhere, but give your child a new point of view: many of the greatest businesses are built and bootstrapped without outside funding."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.