Once again it is the time of year when you can stock up on your Do-Si-Dos®. These cookies are more than a mix of flour, sugar, oats and peanut butter. As one of the biggest girl-run businesses in the world The Girl Scout Cookie Sale teaches some very important life skills; skills that will last a lifetime.
- Goal setting. When setting a goal you need to keep it S.M.A.R.T. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. In addition to a team goal, before they begin to take orders each budding entrepreneur sets her individual goal. Both as a team and individually the girls develop the steps needed to reach their goals. They decide how to track their progress and most importantly how to celebrate their success.
- Decision making. When developing goals each girl learns to make decisions regarding how many boxes she wants to sell and which individual reward she would like to earn. In addition, their troop also earns money. Although some of the money is used for troop activities the girls learn that money can be used to make the world a better place by setting aside a portion of their profits to help others. As a group they discuss their options, develop alternatives, make a decision, implement their plan and finally reflect on it.
- Money management. From the order taking to the delivery of the cookies girls observe how a business is run. As business people they learn to set aside money to pay for the product, as well as how to use their profits for things they plan to do now and in the future. Learning to watch the money coming in and the money you spend is a critical money management skill we all need to develop.
- People skills. Communicating with others is an important component of business success. Each girl learns to describe their product clearly and answer any questions their customers might have. As part of a team she learns to listen to the ideas of others, express her own ideas and work together to make a collaborative decision on how their profits will be used. Learning to agree as a group what they will do with the money teaches each girl how important her voice is and how to solve differences in a positive way.
- Business ethics. Building trust is important. When a customer orders cookies they have the expectation that they will be delivered at the agreed upon time. In business success is dependent on their customer’s belief the business will provide the goods and services promised. As a member of the girl-run cookie business, each girl learns how important it is to keep your word at all times. As in a business, if someone on the team fails to follow through it makes it harder for the team to reach its goals.
There is more in those boxes than just cookies. Those cookies teach decision making skills, problem solving, how to manage money, they help develop people skills and most importantly they encourage business ethics. If you need help finding your favorite cookies—there’s an app for that!