7 business tips we can learn from children

The best business lessons can be taken from those who haven’t had time to become cynical.

Peter Iantorno June 30, 2014

The business world can be pretty complicated at times, not least of all because it's run by adults who by their very means of development have mental and emotional experiences which can hinder them in the office.

If more people followed the examples set by children, then the world of work would suddenly become a lot simpler.

Sure they haven't got the training, the qualifications, the years of experience or the ability to dress themselves, but you'd be surprised at how many business lessons we can learn from them.

Here's our guide to making business like child's play:

1. Have no fear


By and large, children are pretty fearless, often throwing caution to the wind and just doing whatever they feel like, with very little thought paid to the possibilities of something going wrong. If a youngster sees a rock that looks like it would be fun to climb, they don't stand at the bottom thinking about all the possible consequences of failure - they just do it. This should apply to us all. If we spend all our time worrying about the possible flaws of starting a new business or taking a risk on a deal, we'll never do anything of note and we'll never succeed. Sometimes you have to take the plunge.

2. Be honest

42-33085751 We've already pinpointed honesty as a trait that should be present in every gentleman in our 10 Things That Make a Man a Gentleman article, but it's not just gentlemen who are honest. In fact, there is nobody more honest than a child. If you serve up some substandard food, or take a child on a boring day trip, make no mistake, they will let you know about it. And by the same token, if an employee or colleague isn't pulling their weight, the only way they'll learn is if you speak up.

3. Keep an open mind

42-38395576 A child will try anything once. Mud pies? Yes please. Eating worms? You bet. going over the highest ramp in the skate park? No problem. Often these new experiences end up being unpleasant are are not repeated, but occasionally a new skill, taste or hobby will be developed, and the child's life becomes richer as a result. It's the same in business. Just because you've never used Twitter to promote your company, doesn't mean it won't work. And if it turns out to be mistake, then chalk it off as a learning experience.

4. Show ambition

42-17838371 No child in history has ever been happy with climbing the second tallest tree in the park. While ever there's a tougher challenge, a child will not rest until it's been achieved. But for some reason this burning ambition, drive and desire to succeed tends to leave most people as they grow up. However, look at a list of self-made millionaires and you'll see that every one of them managed to retain their ambition into adulthood.

5. Forgive

42-48608150 No matter how angry children are with their parents, they will always forgive them eventually. Aside from the innate love they have for their mum and dad, it's also true that children know that that particular relationship is one they need to maintain in order to make their lives easier. So if you've had a disagreement with an important client and feel like cutting ties with them, sometimes it's best to take a step back and think about the bigger picture. Although it might go against the grain, keeping the right people happy is essential to a successful business.

6. Be confident

42-32403020 Children are absolutely certain that they are the best at what they do, and they have no qualms about telling you as much. This is a great example to follow in business. If you don't sing your own praises then nobody will. The only difference here is that children can be forgiven for thinking that they're better than they are, but you have to make sure that you can deliver on your claims.

7. Think outside the box

42-57054254 A full team of highly paid advertising executives haven't got half the imagination of a child. From cardboard box castles to make-believe superheroes, kids are the ultimate in content creation. Some of the best business ideas are the simplest and are inspired by looking at a problem from a child's point of view. If you're struggling for ideas on a project, thinking like a child offers a whole new perspective.