Chance Sterling launches a pool cleaning business over the summer. Join Chance as he looks for new customers, discovers how much to charge them, takes on a business partner, recruits an employee, deals with difficult clients, and figures out how to make a profit. He has twelve weeks to reach his goal. Will he make it? Only if he takes some chances.
KidVenture stories are business adventures where kids figure out how to market their company, understand risk, and negotiate. Each chapter ends with a challenge, including business decisions, ethical dilemmas and interpersonal conflict for young readers to wrestle with. As the story progresses, the characters track revenue, costs, profit margin, and other key metrics which are explained in simple, fun ways that tie into the story.
“I thought you said you weren’t really going to be my boss,” Amit said. “I know.” We were walking back slowly, so I would have enough time to think about what to say as we walked. Milton was panting softly as he followed alongside us. “I guess I was wrong,” I said at last. “This is my first time doing something like this, and I’m starting to realize business is different than friendship. There has to be a different set of rules.” “So you actually are going to be my boss?” “Yes.” It was hard for me to say. “If you want to keep cleaning pools with us, then I have to be your boss.” “Hmmmph.” Amit grumbled. “I don’t know about that. I’m not sure I want a boss telling me what to do.” We kept walking. I was worried. I tried to think about what worried me the most. “That’s ok,” I said. “I’m not sure I’d want to have a boss either, if I were in your shoes.” Amit nodded but said nothing else as we kept walking. “The important thing is that we’re still friends,” I said. “We’ll always be friends.” Milton barked in approval “How does that work?” Amit asked. “Well it’s up to you if you want to keep cleaning pools. If you don’t, I’ll figure something else out. No hard feelings,” I assured him. “But if you do, then you have to agree to work by my rules. And you have to agree, that during the time you’re working, I am your boss and you’ll follow my rules. “Whoa dude! That’s intense.” “I know,” I agreed. “But the more I think about it, that’s the way it has to be. We have clients depending on us. The rules have to be different. It can’t be like when you’re coming over just for fun, and it’s not a big deal if you’re an hour late. I mean it’s annoying, but ultimately it’s not a big deal. But it is a big deal when we tell a client we’ll be there at a certain time, and then we’re not. They plan their day around our appointment.” “I guess I can see that.” “And a lot of times, they need their pool cleaned because they’re going to have a swimming party. And if we don’t follow through on our promises, we’ll get fired. And we don’t want that.” “Yeah, that’s not good.” “So I need someone who will follow rules. I hope it’s you, because you’re my best friend, and I like working with you. But if you don’t want to deal with rules, and you don’t want me as your boss, then I understand. What’s important is our friendship, and I know that if we can’t agree on the rules, we’ll end up fighting and that will hurt our friendship.” Milton barked again in agreement. Smart dog. “So what are the rules?” Amit asked. “I don’t know. That’s a good question. I need to think about it and write them down. Are you still interested?” “Well it is nice making some extra money. And I don’t mind the work, it’s kind of fun, actually.” “Ok, why don’t I think about the rules, write them down, and then we’ll meet and see if we can agree.” “Ok, Mr. Boss.” “Hey, you’re still the boss of penalties.” I tried to lighten the mood. Amit laughed. “It’s true,” I said. “You always beat me when we have penalty shootouts.” “It’s good to be the boss of something.” Amit smiled. Excerpted from Kidventure: Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue by Steve Searfoss, Copyright © 2022 by Steve Searfoss. Published by Steve Searfoss.
About the Author
Steve Searfoss: I wrote my first KidVenture book after years of making up stories to teach my kids about business and economics. Whenever they’d ask how something works or why things were a certain way, I would say, “Let’s pretend you have a business that sells…” and off we’d go. What would start as a simple hypothetical to explain a concept would become an adventure spanning several days as my kids would come back with new questions which would spawn more plot twists. Rather than give them quick answers, I tried to create cliffhangers to get them to really think through an idea and make the experience as interactive as possible.
I try to bring that same spirit of fun, curiosity and challenge to each KidVenture book. That’s why every chapter ends with a dilemma and a set of questions. KidVenture books are fun for kids to read alone, and even more fun to read together and discuss. There are plenty of books where kids learn about being doctors and astronauts and firefighters. There are hardly any where they learn what it’s like to run small business. KidVenture is different. The companies the kids start are modest and simple, but the themes are serious and important.
I’m an entrepreneur who has started a half dozen or so businesses and have had my share of failures. My dad was an entrepreneur and as a kid I used to love asking him about his business and learning the ins and outs of what to do and not do. Mistakes make the best stories — and the best lessons. I wanted to write a business book that was realistic, where you get to see the characters stumble and wander and reset, the way entrepreneurs do in real life. Unlike most books and movies where business is portrayed as easy, where all you need is one good idea and the desire to be successful, the characters in KidVenture find that every day brings new problems to solve.
One winner will receive a print copy of KidVenture: Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue and a $15 Amazon gift card (US, UK, Canada only)
Ends March 2, 2022