Successful teens like you know that it takes more than luck and good grades to get ahead in school. You know how hard you have to work and the hours of studying you need to put in. Here at the Kantner Foundation, we love to see bright, motivated teens become outstanding young entrepreneurs. Part of achieving success comes from figuring out what you need to know. And we have a list of books that can help.
Think of these books as your entrepreneurial homework. The only due date is your business timeline. And the only test is running a startup well. Nearly all these books are specifically aimed at kids and teens just like you.
Take whatever advice you need from these books. Apply them as you see fit. Ready to add to your To-Be-Read pile?
1. THE TEENS’ GUIDE TO STARTING YOUR OWN BUSINESS: YOUR STEP-BY-STEP BLUEPRINT TO BECOMING A TEEN ENTREPRENEUR, 2020
By Tanya Rogers and David Rogers
David Rogers and his daughter Tanya are entrepreneurs. Together, they’ve written a series of books specifically for the under-18 set about starting and running a business. (Even though the title says “teen,” anyone 10 and up can use this book.)
This book offers an exact, workable blueprint that readers can start using right away. From startup capital to putting your plan into action, this book acts as a guide for anyone who has ever wanted to start a business but isn’t sure how. It’s not a book of ideas, it’s a book of plans for ideas you already have.
*Read this book if: you have a million ideas for products you can sell or services you can offer, but have no idea how to get started.
2. BECOME THE YOUNGEST BUSINESSPERSON IN TOWN: 111 TEEN BUSINESS IDEAS FROM SIMPLE $100 PLANS TO GREAT PERSONAL PROJECTS, 2020
By Thomas Henderson
If you’ve always dreamed of becoming a kid CEO but think you need thousands of dollars from investors to get started, this is the book for you. The basis for this particular teen entrepreneurial book is to give young people ideas for startups that will cost only $100 out of pocket. The author boasts 111 ideas anyone can use to build the entrepreneurial empire of their dreams. Advice includes everything from how to sell on Amazon and Etsy to creating a marketing platform that works for your unique business.
*Read this book if: you have the drive, energy, and creativity to start and run your own business but aren’t sure how to get the resources.
3. KID START-UP: HOW YOU CAN BE AN ENTREPRENEUR, 2018
By Mark Cuban, Shaan Patel, and Ian McCue
Yes, you read that author lineup correctly. Mark Cuban – THE Mark Cuban – along with two successful teen entrepreneurs wrote this book.
While aimed at a younger (9-12) crowd, the advice and tips in this book can be applied to any startup no matter your age. From exploring what it means to be an entrepreneur to marketing strategies, kids and teens will learn everything they need to know for business success. The book takes complicated business ideas and turns them into actionable items.
*Read this book if: you are among one of our younger entrepreneurs, or if you need a simplified (but not condescending) overview of entrepreneurship.
4. 6-FIGURE TEENS: MAKE SIX FIGURES BEFORE YOUR 21ST BIRTHDAY, 2020
By Maurice Sanders
Renaissance man and “serial entrepreneur,” Maurice Sanders wrote this book specifically to help teens not only start their businesses but become wildly successful at running them.
Here you’ll find business ideas and basic business advice. There’s also a breakdown of the types of business entities you’ll encounter. There’s an entire chapter on customer service and another one just for money management. In other words, this is the book for serious young entrepreneurs.
Sanders knows that you don’t have to be an adult to grasp concrete business principles. So, if you’ve been dreaming of entrepreneurship since before you could even spell the word, you might find this book useful.
*Read this book if: you have dollar signs in your eyeballs.
5. 10 STEPS TO YOUR FIRST SMALL BUSINESS FOR TEENS! A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE FOR ANY TEEN TO START THEIR OWN BUSINESS, 2017
By Adam Lean
Author Adam Lean began his entrepreneurial journey in much the same way many of you might be doing right now: with a lawn-mowing business. He knows exactly what it’s like to be a teen entrepreneur.
This slim workbook is laid out in a series of steps for you to complete. You’ll start with your business idea and work your way through to getting up and running. And if you don’t have a business idea, it’s got you covered there, too.
*Read this book if: you’re a little crunched for time and want to get started.
6. JUST GO WITH IT: HOW TO NAVIGATE THE UPS AND DOWNS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP, 2021
By Mandy Gilbert
While not specifically written for teens or other young entrepreneurs, we included this book because we love the personalized story that comes with it. From the first pages, author Mandy Gilbert lets you know that she wasn’t what you would have called an overnight success. She started her business from the bottom and learned as she went along. Now she’s here to inspire others on their journeys.
Sometimes it’s nice to know you aren’t the first person to have to “bootstrap” yourself in the world of business.
*Read this book if: you crave some inspiration with your advice.
7. STARTUP SECRETS: A PRACTICAL & POWERFUL GUIDEBOOK FOR NEW AND YOUNG ENTREPRENEURS, 2021
By Karthik Siva
This is not another how-to book. It’s also not another book of startup ideas for teens. What this book contains, though, is straightforward and honest advice for entrepreneurs. How can you trust this advice? The author, Karthik Siva, has been mentoring entrepreneurs longer than you’ve been alive.
Before you get started in business, this book can help you recognize some common pitfalls and mistakes, as well as offer valuable advice cultivated from decades of experience.
Read this book if: you feel like you’re ready for a reality check.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Think of these books as your ounce of prevention that keeps your business healthy and strong!
Young entrepreneurs in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we have to offer and how to apply.