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Top 5 Business Tips learnt from my kids

by Claire Martinsen on Fri 26th Aug 2011 05:37

I started my business Breckland Orchard two and a half years ago.  It might not have been everyone’s vision of how to start a business – in a recession with a one and three year old at my heels!

My two little ones are affectionately referred to as the ‘mini’s’ in our household.  They are three and five; lively, adorable and surprisingly good coaches as to how to run your small micro-business.

Here’s my Top 5 lessons that they’ve taught me:

  1. Focus on what you want and bargain hard
    My son just loves Top Trumps….in fact it could be bordering on obsession.  His passion knows no bounds, and both me and Mr Breckland are asked to play it again and again.  His sister can’t play yet, so he’s got just his mum and dad as playing partners.  Both me and Mr B don’t have the inclination to play said game for 23 hours of the day, which causes him some problems!

    He has reverted to some pretty hard negotiation tactics [and I should know having had some of the most extensive negotiating training available].  The Russian Front is the mostly commonly used, which goes along the lines of ‘Do you want to play three times or five times?’  He’s pretty good at negotiation, and as a result Mr B and myself are dab hands at Top Trumps!

    It’s easy not to hold out for what you want, to give up, to accept a compromise.  The mini’s have taught me that sometimes, just sometimes you have to hold out for what you really want.  If it’s important [and TT clearly is] then it helps to be relentless and single minded.

  2. Anything is possible
    Young kids have infinite dreams.  My 5 year old is completely sure he will own absolutely every item of Playmobil at somepoint.  Similarly he’s sure that he wants to be a Zoo-keeper.  My 3 year old wants to be a Princess as a career.

    Are they dreams? or are they aiming for some pretty ambitious targets? They are at an age when they have infinite belief that what they want will come true.  No one has trampled on those dreams, and they haven’t got anyone telling them to be more reaslistic in their ambitions [in fact all their aquaintances have similarly high dreams and futures planned].

    It’s a good lesson for all of us to remember – aiming high is not a bad thing.  Go do it – make it a reality [and hopefully little Miss Martinsen will meet her Prince Charming one day]

  3. Keep Inventing and improving
    My 5 year old son has a wonderful imagination – he’s really into inventing games at the moment.  If we are out walking, he thinks of variations on hide and seek [poacher and prey], at home he invents plays, scenarios, card games, board games.  My daughter is much the same – the recycling box is a constant stream of invention and toys……….cereal boxes become treasure chests with a few jewels stuck on them, kitchen roll tubes become telescopes. In short a constant stream of innovation.
    Their attitude to invention is amazing- because they don’t think about it at all, its just part of every day.  If yesterday was Poacher and Prey then today is about making that even better or different.  They have no internal voices telling them that there’s a set way of doing this, and its bad to be tinkering with an established set of rules.
    Sometimes it can be easy to keep going with the way that things have always been done, but the Mini’s remind me constantly not to forget to keep trying new things.
  4. Have boundless energy
    Small children only have two speeds – full power or off………..There’s no middle ground, no slouching around, no down days.  The throw themselves into things whole-heartedly, if they are going to do something then they do it with real energy and vigour.

    That’s a key lesson for most of us too…………its tempting to be half-hearted about something, to edge gently, to half-commit.  Boundless energy and full power is a much better speed for small business.  Lots of people comment on my energy and drive…..but if you think I have energy, you should meet the mini’s!

  5. Enjoy what you do!
    The Mini’s have very little else in their life apart from play – which they do with great aplomb! Few worries, just lots of energy and enjoyment. They love life and its shows.

    Most people start businesses to do something they enjoy….and similarly if you enjoy what you do it shows.  Enjoying what you do is what life is about and I don’t forget that!


Posted in: Business Advice


Beth Kennett
Tue 17th Jan 2012 17:02
Found this from the NAFDMA contest. I just love it!! Thanks so much! If you ever come to New England, please come visit our farm. Your website is fresh, bright,and full of Your personality!! Love it! Beth

Claire Martinsen
Tue 17th Jan 2012 18:09
Hi Beth! Thank you so much for your lovely comments..........I am RIDICULOUSLY excited about going to the NAFDMA this year. Looking forward so much to seeing all the lovely farm shops your way xx Lots of Love Claire

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