Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Launch Day!

This blog will document the process of starting a business by a 4 year old boy. Our young entrepreneur is named Zhen, and he is starting a farm, raising chickens to harvest their eggs as well as their organic compost material, which he will use to produce soil for his vegetable garden.

Zhen's initial ambition came a few days ago when he saw a toy advertised on TV that he wanted his parents to buy for him. As parents, we realized the time had come to introduce our child to the world of getting what you want. Zhen exists in a zero allowance environment. Up until this time, all of the money he has received in his short life has gone into his piggy banks, savings account or brokerage account to invest for his future. Now Zhen wanted to earn money to buy things, and so we told him how he could do it.

Entrepreneurship is the art/science of turning raw ideas or resources into valuable outcomes while starting with little other than those basic raw materials. It does not take money to make money, it takes vision and intelligent effort. Zhen is not being raised to think that hard work equals money. Hard work is a virtue all its own that transcends monetary reward. Money is a tool that you can capture and use by building other tools. Zhen is learning about starting a business to earn money so that he will understand how to make money in the future, no matter what economic conditions surround him.

So we started out by explaining to Zhen that we would not give him any money, but we would help him create his own money by starting his own business. As Zhen has two parents that own their own businesses, he was very enthused by this idea. He was also very adamant that this new venture be only "HIS BUSINESS" and not Daddy's or Mommy's! So we started a discussion with Zhen about starting his own business... a chicken farm.

First we explained that Zhen needed to get some money from his piggy bank to buy the chickens and the materials to build his chicken coop and take care of his chickens. Once he counted how much money he had, we explained to him that he did not have enough, and was going to need to ask some people to invest money into his new business. So we next made a list of all the people he would ask to invest in his business, and how much money he was going to need to buy all of his startup supplies. Once those lists were made, together we made calls to grandparents and uncles to recruit their participation. All were very receptive!

With money secured through these verbal commitments, we headed to the store to buy our materials. Zhen was very excited by the entire experience, and continued to remind us that this was HIS Business. Zhen purchased 8 baby chix, a 5 gallon water can, some bedding, some food, a heat lamp, a feeder, and a large storage container to serve as the chix temporary home. With these initial supplies in hand, we headed home to play with our new friends... at Zhenerbee Farms.

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