Why Our 3 Year Old is Better at Business than Most Business Owners

You’re about to get a business lesson from a toddler. My not quite three year old daughter wants to start a business. Not someday. Right now. And she is smarter at business than most business owners today.

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Aracelli’s attitude about getting into business is “Why wait?”

She wants to start a candle-making business right now and asked Tara and me for help. So, we’re starting another business…with a toddler.

I was in her room playing with her and (no joke) she said:

“Time to work on our business.”

In reality it was time for her nap, but she did spend a few minutes planning and talking with me.

With no prompting from me, she distilled three powerful business lessons into only a few words.

Q: What will you do with the money?

A: Make more candles.

In other words, reinvest in the business.

That is the first place to put your earnings. That is the only way to grow.

Most business owners fail to budget for continual reinvestment in the company. They only see the short-term (personal riches now) and not the long-term effect of building an empire.

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So when Aracelli said she would spend the money to make more candles, it showed me she gets it.

Q: What else will you do with the money?

A: Give it to Mommy to save.

The next place to put money is in savings. Without savings, economic downturns become business disasters.

FACT: The economy has never caused a business to close. Dumb business owners cause them to close. (tweet that)

Economic downturns are like fire to silver. They refine the business world down to only the wisest owners.

Most business owners fail to save for a rainy day. Again, this is usually the result of short-term thinking. They assume all equipment will work as intended, new employees will magically operate at 100% by the second week, and their customers will always spend like they spent today.

But the reality is: stuff breaks, employees usually cost more money than they make you for at least the first month, and your customers will come and go. So save up.

Q: Anything else you’d do with the money?

A: Yes. Adopt a baby that doesn’t have a home.

The last thing that she would do with the money is cause social change. She would use it to better others’ lives.

She would change the world with her profits.

I have never written prouder words than what I just wrote. The money she would make is an ends to a means…helping others.

The reality is that many business owners want their companies to be able to do good works, but by failing to reinvest in the company, it never grows and by failing to save, 95% of them go out of business in the first five years. Without growing and saving, giving is not possible.

In business, as in life, the right heart with wrong plan usually gets you nowhere.

My daughter gets business finance. She would reinvest in the business and grow it, save some for a rainy day, and give generously to help others. At its core, it really is that simple.

Question: What business lessons have you learned from unlikely sources? You can leave a comment by clicking here.


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  • Paige Gordon II

    It’s amazing how often the real answers to things are just common sense. So many times we over complicate things in an effort to feel smart and it takes someone looking at it with a common sense perspective to show us the truth of the matter. Please send a thank you to Aracelli for her wisdom! She just made my day!

    • “Please send a thank you to Aracelli for her wisdom!”

      Or you could :)

      • Paige Gordon II

        let me know the best way and i’m on it! :)

        • shoot me an email at matt -at- mattmcwilliams.com and I’ll reply with my address.

          • Paige Gordon II

            Done.

  • I’ve learned some things from my kids a couple weeks ago. We were out selling World’s Finest Chocolate as a fundraiser. My son does most of the work, but my daughter (4 almost 5) is learning and getting better. I usually try to keep them together because they were carrying different candy bars. In one place, my daughter separated from him. He had gone around and asked most of the people with no success. I started to get her back to him, but she started asking the same people that said no to him. In my mind, she was wasting time. But a couple of the people said “yes” and bought a couple candy bars from her. Lesson: the market is not saturated, even if someone just came before you.

  • I love it! Grow, Save and Give. If we all thought like Aracelli, our world would look a lot different. So when is she opening her store? 😉

    • I think we will have an online presence within 3-4 months. We’ve got most of the stuff we need. We’re going to work on scents next.

      • Steve Pate

        she should hire a marketing coach….na forget it, just get out there and just kill it.

      • Awesomeness!!!

      • Haha, that’s awesome! Man, it sounds like you have a little Steve Jobs on your hands.. :)

        • It does kind of feel that way :)

          Tara asked her about pricing and she said “3 dollars for the little ones.” Which is, remarkably, an accurate price on that size. Cheap ones go for $1 and top-of-the-line ones in that size usually go for $2.49-$4.

          Crazy.

  • Awesome! I think that sometimes little ones remind us of the core concepts of so many things we overcomplicate. Reinvestment is so easy to ignore because everyone wants to know that their business is making them money, not costing them. But like you said, it’s only through reinvestment that we can grow.

    Thanks for sharing, Matt.

    • I think most children have the gift of simplifying things like that!

  • Steve Pate

    From learning to read music. Like people, the right notes placed together makes great music. And keeping it simple. It seems the most simplest of music out there is the biggest hits, so why can’t that be true for business as well.

    As from learning from my kids, I’ve learned just because they are little, doesn’t mean they don’t have something important/huge to say! Great post Matt.

  • Kirbie Earley

    I often tell people in my leading innovation workshops that if they’re stuck, they should consult a kid. Kids are brutally honest, incredibly insightful and way more intelligent than we give them credit for being. I have a 3 year old grandson and I love their logic!

  • Dude, your daughter rocks. Keep this spirit in her as she grows up!

  • Beauty Lady

    Great post! Your daughter is obviously learning by a fine example in you and your wife. Thank you for your continued inspiration.

  • I love her third answer (the first two were great also). I think we often miss the opportunity that lies in answering the question the way your daughter answered the question the third time. We (You and Me!) have the unbelievable ability to impact the world by what we do, my what me make, and by the decisions we face. Let’s do it!

  • When’s your new child adopted child coming?

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  • Let’s Grow Leaders

    So powerful! I’m linking to this now for my mothers day post. Thanks or sharing.

    • That’s cool. Thanks!

      We’re excited to get started. Turns out the scent part is a pain :)

      • Let’s Grow Leaders

        Oh, I’ve done the candle thing… it’s really messy.

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