The constant lament of most teenagers from any generation, perhaps more so from boys than from young women, is, “Why do I have to learn math? What good is it anyway?” These often heard questions can send teachers and parents alike into long defensive discussions that the teenager rejects point blank, more than likely after the adult in the room proclaims, “Just learn it and stop complaining!” Although a “teachable moment” seems at hand, the ability to choose an excellent example to drive home the lesson is somehow lost in the heat of the discussion.
It was none other than Helen Keller, deprived of many of her senses that we generally take for granted, who stated in her own inimitable fashion that, “Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be learned.” These words of wisdom suggest that the best way to teach a lesson is to get the student to “live it” and then learn from the experience.
Every teenager at some point expresses a dream that could earn money for a car or for some other long sought after consumer item of a different description. Teenagers can be much smarter than we give them credit for, but the lack of experience begs for mentoring guidance as a way to teach sound business practices and what it takes to take a dream and turn it into reality.
Business is all about math, an easy statement to make, but difficult to accept until you confront the many analytical challenges that are present in each step in the early development process. The basic decision making process involves first defining what you want to do and what you need to do it. Next, you must evaluate your alternatives, then pick a course of action, implement it, and modify it along the way, as the market requires. Each of these steps requires math to assess how and when to move to the next step.
The teenager must learn the difference between capital and a loan. Capital can be invested capital or working capital, the latter term being the one that most entrepreneurs fail to understand the necessity for in the early going. Capital expects a return, a math exercise in itself to demonstrate. Loans, on the other hand, must be paid back over a period of time at a negotiated interest rate, another example of math and the time value of money. Beyond these basics, prices must be set, based on recovering costs and delivering a profit. However, costs can be fixed or variable, and, once prices are set, you can project a breakeven point, an opportunity to use charts and math to show how success can result from the proper application of basic mathematical techniques.
If you are a teenager with an eye for business, take the time to let math help you plan and define your working capital and product pricing issues. Hard work is also required, but be prepared!
No related posts.
Related posts brought to you by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.