Friday, May 16, 2014

Micro Business for Teens- TOS Crew Review

Did you know that by definition a Micro Business is small business that can be started up very quickly, usually has one owner and is home based, is low risk and manageable and takes little to no start up money.
        When CPA Carol Topp started Micro Business for Teens, it was in response to her finding very few resources on the market to help teens start such a business.  Her research, teamed with her CPA background, resulted in the books which we have been reviewing-Starting a Micro BusinessRunning a Micro Business, and Micro Business for Teens Workbook.  These books are not about kids selling lemonade on the street corner.  Targeted for those 10-18, they are about legitimate businesses, though on a smaller scale, that teens can and do run successfully and make decent money doing so.  
Micro Business for Teens ReviewStarting a Micro Business is a 7 chapter book that starts with teaching you just what a mirco business is.  From there you will be introduced to a bunch of micro business ideas, pitfalls to look out for and how to avoid them, writing a business plan and financing your business, and a final chapter to motivate your young person to get started!  This is the book you need to inspire your teen, get them brainstorming and get them started with a micro business.
Micro Business for Teens ReviewRunning a Micro Business is a nine chapter book that covers sales, marketing, customer service, record keeping and book keeping, using software, legal pointers and reducing your risk and time management.  This book takes over where the first left off and tells your teen from the first days of a business to the nitty-gritty details needed to keep that business running.
Micro Business for Teens ReviewMicro Business for Teens Workbook is a 14 chapter workbook designed to go with both of these books and gives you some hands on activities and exercises to do.  From writing a business plan to record keeping it will walk you through the process you learned in the books.
How we used this product-
I admit that these books intrigued me as a parent.  What parent out there has not heard their children ask, "How can I make some extra money?"  Mine are no exception.  Chores in this house do not earn you cash, so  they knew they had better find other avenues if they wanted the cash badly enough.  My 12 year old was assigned reading Starting a Micro Business.  He read several chapters a day and afterwards we would discuss what he read, answer any questions he had and brainstorm together.  My 20 year old daughter read the second book, Running a Micro Business.  She has had a small sewing business for several years but is ready to take it up to the next level.  We figured this book would be just what she needed to fine tune her business and pick up a few new ideas.
What we thought-
I think these books are a great idea!  As Carol points out, there are many "how to run a lemonade stand" type books for younger adults but very few for teens that speak at not only their level but to their point in life. These are kids with often big dreams, but little time and money. They need to be encouraged and motivated but also be given a dose of reality as well.  I think she does just that!  By having your teen develop a business plan (the hardest part of it all for my son) they see that there are more things to cover than just I want to mow grass and then go do it.  Yes, that's what my son wants to do.   This is the kid who has never been behind a lawn mower for more than a minute.  But Carol's books gave him the motivation and confidence to get started and with a little training from his father is ready to go out and conquer the grass.

As encouraged in Chapter One of the Running A Micro Business book, he has even developed a Sales Statement-  I mow lawns so you don't have to!  Once his flyer is done, he is anxious to get started!
While our daughter on the other hand already had a business going, she did pick up a few helpful tips as well, mostly on the taxes and legal side of things.  She said that the Bookkeeping Basics chapter was the most useful to her, but she did think the level at which it was written could have been a bit higher.  Keep in mind though, she is no longer a teen.

The workbook covers chapters for both books so we split them up between the kids.  They would do each section when it pertained to the chapter they were reading for the day.  Most chapters in the workbook begin with a fill in the blank page that is a review of the particular chapter read.  It is then followed by brainstorming and other activities pertinent to what was learned; for example a business plan or expense spreadsheet.  One of my favorite lessons was one that had the teen do more research on their intended business using one website, one book and one person as their resources.

Another thing I want to mention is that Carol's website has a great blog, full of articles and short videos.  Especially for those that are visual or auditory learners, this is a gem of a resource.  I encourage you to have your teens take a look at it!  And speaking for auditory learners- an online portal for Micro Business for Teens is in the works- take a look at the first lesson of FastTrack!

If you have a teen that has been pestering you for ways to make some extra money this summer- these books would be a good place to direct them.  We highly recommend them!

You can buy these products-
Starting a Micro Business (Book- $9.95, eBook $4.95)
Running a Micro Business (Book- $9.95, eBook-$4.95)
Micro Business for Teens Workbook (Book- $14.95, eBook- $9.95)
Micro Business for Teens can also be taught to a group.  A free teacher guide is available as well as group prices for the resources.
You can find Micro Business For Teens at-
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  1. Wishing your kids all the best as they work their business endeavors! Neat ideas :-)

  2. Michele,
    Thank you for the review! I really appreciate it.
    I'm glad your kids liked the books.

    It will be fun to see what they learn and do with their micro business.

    Your daughter may need the next book in the series, Money and Taxes in a Micro Business. I recommend this advanced-level book for students who have been running their business for a year or for businesses selling a product who need to learn about sales tax from the beginning.

  3. You are so welcome Carol! We enjoyed it! You are right, my oldest probably needs to read the next book for her level of business. We want to be super careful to set it up correctly from the beginning!


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