Lizzie Marie Likness, age 14
Lizzie is the creator of Lizzie Marie Cuisine. She creates and shares healthy recipes on a web series hosted by WebMD and is the recipient of a grant from DoSomething.org to teach healthy cooking classes in her community.
Growing up, I was surrounded by business owners and entrepreneurs mainly because my parents both had experience with creating and managing a business. They taught me most of everything I know as far as finance and helped guide me in deciding what to do with my income, how to figure out priorities and how to manage it in general. For example, it is important to know what your expenses will be so that you save money to pay for taxes, new equipment, etc.
Knowing how to manage money has been essential in running my business because it has really shown me what results you can get from hard work, like increasing income and saving money for college. Having to manage and prioritise my finances has taught me how to be practical and think about the future when I’m dealing with money, and I think that’s something important that everyone, including business owners, should learn to think about.
Henry Patterson, age 10
Henry is the creator of Not Before Tea, a sweets and children’s products company. Henry designs all the new products and writes books featuring characters who work in the sweet shop.
I‘ve always been interested in business, from around the age of five. The main reason I got started was that I wanted a new Power Ranger and my mother told me I should sell my old toys to get money for new ones. She helped me list them on eBay. I loved doing this and got quite imaginative putting Ben 10 on a tractor and selling him as Farmer Ben 10!
The real basic business lesson came from having my very own pitch at a car boot sale. You can grow your stock and business with the money you make selling your first items (but you have to pay your bills first and that includes paying a percentage in tax). My mother has helped me and I have been to some workshops to learn about pricing too.
I started with £100 Christmas money and have built the business up organically which has taken a year. I wouldn’t have understood how you build a business in this way if I had not been taught about how you buy more stock with the money from sales. I get a percentage from the business so I was quick to learn how to work that out.
Madison Robinson, age 16
Madison is the creator of Fish Flops, a line of footwear featuring her original designs.
I learned how to run my business from my parents. My dad has a financial and marketing background and helped me with budgeting and sales forecasts. My mum spends more time teaching me about presentation, planning and organisation.
When I came up with the idea, my dad began teaching me about budgets and planning. I continue to learn about business daily. Last semester at school, I started taking business classes. My high school teacher did a great job teaching us about all aspects of how to run a business. I plan on continuing business courses next year to learn as much as I can.
Running my business with my dad, we make financial decisions on a regular basis. We have to decide on questions like do we spend the money to go to a trade show or do we invest in a sales team, advertising, or marketing? Trying to figure out the most cost effective way to spend each dollar is important. In some ways, managing money is like managing your time because you have to prioritise what’s most important.
Ed Hardy, age 17
Ed is co-creator, with Kit Logan of Edge ski app, a companion app for people in the mountains that provides maps and weather updates and tracks distance and speed travelled on the slopes.
We never had any formal training as such. Instead, we opted to dive straight into things and learned from our failures along the way – something that is still a frequent occurrence. We were extremely lucky to bring on board an excellent team of advisers and investors early on and they helped with the knowledge required to run, manage and grow a business.
However, there is a clear information gap here. Current resources are clunky and ineffective to the point that a collection of our investors are working to change this with a new app for entrepreneurs that they are launching later this year.
With regards to learning about money, there was a large part of naivety on our side. We believed that navigating HMRC and Companies House couldn’t be that tricky. After a few stern letters from HMRC, we realised that was far from the case.
Ultimately, however, all this expense could have been avoided if there was an effective way to educate new business owners. HMRC have tried to address this but their help emails etc are far from sufficient.
Moziah Bridges, age 12
Moziah is the creator and designer of Mo’s Bows, handcrafted bow ties.
I learned to start and a run a great business from my awesome mum. My mentors always tell me to be sure the price is right on my product and not to spend a lot of money on silly things. Being aware how to manage money helps me figure out what I’m going to sell my ties for and how much I will spend on fabric and other things that I need to run my business. It teaches me to be prepared for challenges and how important maths is because I have to count money when I sell my product.