If you have a knack for business, think about becoming an entrepreneur. By joining high school entrepreneur clubs tied to your interests, you will not only acquire practical life skills in an industry of interest, but you will also develop a host of general business skills that you will need in order to be a successful entrepreneur.
Let’s begin by looking at some key skills that you can work on in high school clubs, classes, electives, and extracurriculars. College prep classes, along with club participation can accelerate core skills in planning, communication, leadership, teamwork, financial literacy, and much more. The skills below will help show you how to think about how lessons learned in high school apply to any business endeavor.
Following the list of practical business skills, we will explore some clubs that might actually stimulate interests and motivate you to participate in clubs. We will also provide the names of some boarding schools that offer business and/or entrepreneur clubs. Especially if you are planning to attend a boarding school for high school or make a transfer, this list should be helpful as a starting point.
Entrepreneurship Clubs Teach Business Basics
Master the business skills below while you are in high school and you will be well on your way to a life as an entrepreneur. Clubs are a great way to master business basics while having fun.
- Strategic Planning – As a critical starting point for any business, it is very important to map out a business plan. Plans should detail strategies and tactics and ideally should be a three or five year plan. Learn how to create powerpoint presentations in high school and follow best practices for working up your plan.
- Branding and Messaging – A big part of a start-up business’ success is rooted in how a company brands and messages who they are and what makes them different from the competition. Think about how lessons you are learning in high school can ignite your creativity to brainstorm and build your business’ brand identity.
- Financial Literacy – Many boarding schools offer specific programs to help students become financially literate. If you attend a military academy, for instance, finances are part of the JROTC Leadership Education Training (LET) curriculum, where the mission is to create strong citizens. In the business and corporate world, finance comes into play at many levels including: pricing, forecasting, payroll, profit and loss statements, accounting audits, and more. Honing your math skills and becoming financially literate while you are attending a boarding school will pay off in any entrepreneurial venture.
- Analytical Thinking – Not only do you need to be creative in entrepreneurial ventures, you have to apply analytical thinking. For instance, lessons where you use numbers, analyze data, or narrow down choices, all involve analytical thinking. Focus on high school clubs where you put these subjects into practice (e.g. Math, Science, Computer Science, Cyber Security, Aviation, Business, Economics)
- Creative Thinking – If you naturally possess an inventive mind, the creative aspects of entrepreneurship will appeal to you. Many people have new concepts for products and services, but remember you will need to learn how to actually convert your ideas into actionable steps to launch a business. High school academics help you use your creativity, as well as acquire the self-discipline to execute your ideas. Allow your mind to imagine and explore new ideas.
- Problem Solving – There are always problems to solve with any business, so your ability to identify and solve problems quickly and effectively could make or break your business. Think about how you solve problems within the context of your high school academic classes, electives, as well as in your extracurriculars.
- Growth Mindset – A growth mindset can be acquired and practiced, so make sure you practice this way of thinking while you are in high school. Successful entrepreneurs believe they gain abilities through hard work and dedication. They do not rely on innate talents. They are undaunted by setbacks and show great tenacity, perseverance, resilience, and self-discipline. You can do the same while attending boarding school.
- Decision Making – Entrepreneurs know how to make tough decisions. The ability to weigh pros and cons and figure out what to do is an integral part of running a business or corporation. High school entails making many decisions, from the courses you take, to the clubs and sports you participate in, as well as the friends you choose. Use daly school decisions as a training ground for becoming a better decision-maker.
- Maximizing Resources – When you own a business, you may have a limited budget for instance or you might need to rely on key contacts and use specific research tools. At your private school, think about all the ways you currently have to figure out how to maximize resources in terms of time, money, and resources. Apply these lessons to your entrepreneurial ventures.
- Leadership and Teamwork – Integral to everything you do, strong entrepreneurs know how to lead and build strong teams. They do this in various ways. For instance, at Amazon there is a focus on taking ownership for ideas and projects, whereas other corporations might focus on other values. Being involved in student government, athletics, and clubs will help you master leadership and management skills that you can apply to business.
- Negotiation Skills – Every business involves negotiation. You may have to negotiate prices with vendors, employment agreements, or even negotiate with future clients for the goods or services that you offer. Right now, while attending a boarding school, you may have to negotiate with your parents, friends, teachers, or fellow students in various ways. Practice the art of negotiation through communication, persuasion, and assertiveness.
- Customer Service – Learning how to respond to inquiries and complaints is key to the ongoing reputation of any business. In high school, you can practice these skills when listening and speaking. This is a great time to learn how to listen, reflect back what the speaker just told you, and then convey the action step you will take in response. Also, learn how to write positive reviews and understand how people review businesses online.
- Demographics – Knowing your target markets is an integral part of a good business plan. When you create a business, you will need to know the demographics by gender, age, income, location, and other interests/characteristics. Many high school students have already launched businesses in their local community or even set up national for profit or nonprofit organizations. They did this by understanding their audience(s).
- Technology Skills – A great way to get prepared to launch an entrepreneurial venture involves technology choices and skill mastery. In high school clubs and classes, you can advance your computer skills and learn more about the technologies used in various businesses. Learn about software systems like Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and various marketing platforms such as: websites, search engine optimization, search engine marketing, digital advertising, social media, email newsletters, publicity platforms, review sites and various forms of digital and traditional advertising.
- Communication Skills – Practice your verbal and written communication skills while you are in high school. Your ability to communicate effectively will be pivotal to entrepreneurial success. Boarding schools often emphasize writing across the curriculum, so you really have a chance to master your communication style and practice while writing essays, research, plans, and reports. Also, don’t forget to practice when writing text messages and emails!
- Character Development – Strong values are an important component of being a strong business leader. Military boarding schools, in particular, tend to offer leadership training, alongside character development. Develop your moral compass during your adolescence as this will serve you well if you start a business someday.
Boarding School Entrepreneur Clubs
Here is a list of some types of clubs or extracurricular programs that might be of interest to you as you develop practical skills in entrepreneurship and an awareness of various fields where your talents could make a difference.
Beyond boarding school entrepreneur courses, many schools offer a variety of clubs tied to business and entrepreneurship. For example, the clubs listed below, are available at Army and Navy Academy, to provide exposure to various industries, as well as to stimulate ideas for start-up entrepreneurial ventures.
- Agriculture and Gardening Club – If you are interested in farming, horticulture, or even owning a restaurant or garden shop, this is a great club to join. Students typically learn about gardening and agricultural fundamentals, as well as irrigation and pest control.
- Business Club – Business clubs are generally geared to helping students develop specific skills sets related to starting and owning a business. Students often get involved in doing competitive marketing projects, stock market simulations, and discuss investment strategies. This is a must if you intend to pursue entrepreneurship.
- Cyber Security Club – Check out clubs in cyber security to see if this growing field might be of interest to you. Learn about passwords, encryption, the linux operating system, and free and open source software. It could lead to a career or a business venture in this growing field.
- Forensics Club – Clubs in forensics often involve hands-on activities, connections to professionals doing forensics and build an understanding of forensic science. If you like solving mysteries, enjoy “CSI”, you might have a mind for solving crimes. There are even freelancers on Upwork, so you can work with the criminal justice system or independently.
- Green Club – Green clubs are generally intended to raise environmental awareness and may involve specific projects in recycling programs, beach clean ups and more. If you think you might want to start a business or nonprofit organization tied with the environment, this is a great place to begin.
- Interact Club – Being part of Rotary International is an excellent way to connect with business leaders, do service projects, and even learn more about fundraising. If you want a mentor or you are thinking about starting a nonprofit or doing philanthropy as part of your business model, this is an excellent club to join.
- Sports Medicine Club – Students interested in the sciences can really benefit from a sports medicine club, where you will learn about anatomy, injuries, first aid, and learn about this field. Many health professionals are setting up their own practices and this requires background, experience, education, and an entrepreneurial spirit.
- Repair and Engineering Club – Learning how to repair and make things will exercise both sides of your brain, but could also lead to a business someday. Your school might even have a maker space as well as expose you to different engineering occupations (e.g. aerospace, agricultural, architecture, bioengineering, computer hardware, drafters, environmental, industrial, marine, mechanical, nuclear, petroleum, and surveying).
In addition to entrepreneur clubs, think about expanding your horizons through the following: weekend excursions to various types of businesses, career mentorship programs, and being a leader in student government.
Also, take elective courses and advanced placement classes tied with entrepreneurship such as: game development, computer science, media, and the visual and performing arts.
Last but certainly not least, let’s not forget your college prep core classes. College prep classes in English, math, social sciences (economics), science, languages, and more will help lay the foundation for many of the skills you will need in the world of business.
Boarding Schools that Offer Entrepreneurship Clubs
Before you contact boarding schools, give some thought to the type of campus facilities and amenities that might make a difference to you. For instance, some boarding schools are ideal of future entrepreneurs. For example, the Army and Navy Academy has a maker space on campus, as well as: aviation simulators, drones, smart boards, robotic labs, music technology equipment, and video production studios. As a school built for how boys learn, the focus is hands-on and highly interactive.
To get you started in your search for boarding schools with entrepreneurship clubs, here is a short list below.
- Army and Navy Academy, California
- Asia Pacific International School, Hawaii
- EF Academy, California
- Governor’s Academy, Massachusetts
- Hebron Academy, Maine
- Tilton School, New Hampshire
- Wyoming Seminary Upper School, Pennsylvania
- Shawnigan Lake School, Canada
As you can see, by joining high school entrepreneur and business related clubs, you will not only acquire practical business skills that you can apply directly to your business ventures, you will also develop the personal mindset to become a successful entrepreneur. By starting early while attending a boarding school in the U.S, you could even start your own business while you are in high school.