Friday, December 10, 2010

Including Children In Our Business

Involving our children in our business teaches responsibility, dedication, hard work, and the entreprenerial spirit!   Here are some tasks children can do to help.
  • Prepare order forms or catalogs by stamping or applying stickers.
  • Organize a mailer by applying labels or stamps and licking envelopes.  Maybe they simply put everything in the mailbox for you!
  • Load materials into boxes and carts or bring them to your car to prepare for an event.  They can help unload too!
  • Stuff hostess or customer folders.
  • File papers.

Older children can:
  • Enter information into the computer (customer information, orders, receipts, mileage).
  • Run errands to pick up office supplies or go to the post office.
  • Make customer service calls to inform of delivery status, check on product satisfaction, or to notify about a sale or special.
  • Design and print invitations for parties and events.
  • Wash or clean display products or display items.
  • Be an assistant at home parties or vendor events.  They can help set up your display, pass out materials, answer questions, and take orders.
Children seem to have a way of really pushing our buttons when we are focused on something else, particularly in a time crunch.  One of the best ways to redirect their behavior is to include them in what we are doing.   Assign them a task as needed or create a regular work schedule. 

Do you have little ones that are sad when you have to work, whether it is at home or out for parties, shows, or appointments?  You can make working a positive learning experience by using a reward system.  Pick a specific goal or prize, like a video game or a trip to the movies.  Use a chart or picture divided into sections to track each time you complete a targeted activity associated with work.  This can be time in your office making calls or each time you hold a home party.  You may want to choose an activity that you have a hard time completing with your children around.  Let the child put a sticker on the chart or color in a section of the picture when you successfully complete the activity.  When the chart or picture is complete, the child gets the reward. 

This system creates accountabilty for you and shows the correlation between work and reward for your child.  It gives small children something to be happy about when your attention is on work and not them.  You could also use this to reward positive behavior if the children are good while you complete a task.  I've heard moms say that their children have asked them when they are going to do more home parties so they can fill in their charts to earn their reward.  With older kids, you could make a chart with money earned towards the goal to create a math lesson!

I found an interesting article by Jean Murray entitled "Hire Your Children to Work in Your Small Business - and Save on Taxes."  Check out her article for more information.  If you decide to pay your children for helping you, there are many additional lessons to be learned about earning a paycheck and responsible saving!

 I'd love to hear how your family is involved in your business so I can add them to the list!

~Melissa

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