How I got schooled in business by a six-year-old, by asking this one question

This morning, whilst getting ready to head out for a home education event, Mina, our six-year-old, asked me, as she often does:

“What are you going to be working on today?”

“Marketing for UK Open Mic” I replied.

“What’s marketing?” she asked.

So, in the spirit and habit that we have of always explaining things as best we can, I took her through the concept of marketing; what a market is, buying and selling, etc.

Then, in the same spirit, I put that in context with a specific example relevant to our conversation; we want more performers to come to our open mic events.

After taking it all on board, she said:

“Well, I’m sure it’ll be fine, as you’ve got lots of ideas!”

Again, in the spirit we’re trying to raise and empower our children, instead of saying something obvious, like “Yep, I’m sure I’ll be fine.” and closing the conversation, I reflected it back to her:

“What ideas do you have? What would you do?”

She thought for a very short second, then said:

“You could put them in a magazine, so performers could read about them and want to come.”

And in that split second, I got schooled in marketing by a six-year-old.

Despite putting a lot of time and thought into the marketing for UK Open Mic, and embarking on a comprehensive growth strategy overhaul in the past month or so, I hadn’t considered PR at all; literally, the thought hadn’t crossed my mind to try to get media coverage for this particular business.

Now, howsoever that reflects on my marketing abilities, or whether I can get any PR action going, is neither here nor there; the point is that I just got a given a completely valid business insight by the open-minded imagination of my six-year-old daughter.

I am not sharing this to suggest or demonstrate any superior intelligence that my daughter has; she is intelligent, she is imaginative – but so are all children.

And that’s my real point; I firmly believe that all children have an innate imaginative intelligence, but, as a society, we often, willingly or not, manage to “educate” it out of them, rather than nurture and develop it.

Then we wonder why companies put such high esteem (and salaries) on “problem-solving” and “creativity” in their teams – it’s in short supply because a lot of traditional schooling, and parental, educational ideas hamper its development.

So my big take-away, one I hope you may also take-away, is to always try to encourage children to be imaginative, to solve problems – even “grown-up” ones – and for them to feel comfortable and encouraged to explore, experiment and develop their imagination.

And to do that, it’s simple; in any given situation ask them how they would do things.

Not only will it help them grow fundamental life-skills, but you may also get some valuable business insight too!