Search
  • Caleb

Growing a Business - The art of networking and pitching


Hi I'm Caleb Smith, the 13 year old founder of Peacebunny Islands, Inc. and STEM Bunnies nonprofit with one of my favorite rabbits, "Wachamacallit."

For fun I thought I'd share some of the skills I've been working on and some insights from running my own business for several years. Participating in the 2017 MN Cup Entrepreneur Contest has given me lots of extra opportunity for growth. Here's a list of some of the perks of being a kid entrepreneur and some of the lessons I've been learning along the way that I might not have learned any other way... NETWORKING SKILLS * Confidence: Go up and START a conversation.

* Poise: How to balance a beverage/plate of food and have a conversation. Chewing/talking/thinking all at once --yeah it's an art.

* Prepared: I now do a much better keeping enough business cards with me and what people will ask; anticipate what to bring and how to answer

* Connections: Try to find something in common with people and see it as a mutual opportunity. I have something to offer them too.

* Recall: I write down "memory joggers" and the date on the back of business cards so I remember where I met people and a little about them * Listen: Expect to learn something from every person I meet and drill down to find the nugget. It's not about me planning to answer them but to really really listen to them.

LIFE SKILLS * Professional Dress: Practice tying a tie. Set out clothes the night before. * Navigation: I'm learning how to get around, find parking and reading maps. Also

* Scheduling: I still really need help, but I rely less on my parents to keep me on track and to be ready to go out the door.

* Performance Curve: Know how much is my optimal stress load --"pump up" or "deescalate" to be my best. It needs to be just enough to be my best. * Self Advocate: Ask questions and ask for help

* Vocabulary: Hanging with adults and doing research has been good for my vocab and spelling!

* Perspective: Life is more than school. It's a huge world out there!!

BUSINESS COMMUNICATION SKILLS * Write a formal business plan

* Make a 12 minute power point presentation with animation slides showcasing your story

* Make a 1 minute video -- used a drone. AWESOME!

* Deliver the presentation, use a clicker, look forward followed by a 12 minute Q&A with judges

* Pitch in front of several hundred people * Learn how to "read a room" to see who might actually be open to talk

STARTING / RUNNING A BUSINESS

* Fill out forms. Lots and lots of forms.

* Create and stick to a budget. * Bank deposit slips --my favorite!!