According to AECF.org, the number of children in the United States under the age of 18 is at an all-time high. For those looking for a business opportunity or a way to leverage additional income, catering to children is the way to go.

There are a number of ways to take advantage of this number. One is to open a business that caters to children. Another is to incorporate children’s activities into a business that you already own.

Businesses Models That Cater to Children

David Ullendorf and Peter Markovitz knew they had a great business idea. In 2002, they partnered with Larry Martinek to offer his learning model to the world. Martinek, a math teacher by trade, had developed his own supplemental materials which he used to help kids learn math. Now in 2016, Mathnasium is a franchise with more than 600 locations throughout the United States.

Mathnasium is no different than many business models that cater to children. They started out as either a problem or a solution to a problem and marketed it to the world.

Want to have a carnival type party or bounce house? There’s a business model for that.

Need a babysitter on the fly? There’s a business model for that.

Kids-only stylist or barber? Of course, there is a business model for that.

If you look around you will see many businesses that are children oriented. You can elect to open one with your own business model or buy into a franchise. Either way, there are many business opportunities out there for you to cater to children.

But what about businesses that don’t focus on kids? Well, they’re leaving money on the table.

Non-Children Businesses Must Still Cater to Children

If you run a business that isn’t kid oriented, you can still find a way to cater to children. In fact, it’s mandatory if you want to keep up with your competitors.

Some businesses put up a small play table and simply keep the kids “out of sight, out of mind”. What businesses need to do is take advantage of the additional market that is right in front of them. In fact, many businesses are missing out on income from adults (parents) because they have nothing for the kids.

A great example is fine dining restaurants. Of course you can’t take your kids to a fine dining establishment. The times I have tried I get nervous, people stare and eventually I just want to leave. I just don’t get why people get so angry when my 5 year old throws his meatballs across the room. Many parents simply skip the fine dining restaurants because of this. A small group of Michelin-Starred restaurants in New York City took note of this problem and began to cater to children.

How’d they do it? Simple. Keep them separate.

Restaurants would have their normal dining where parents could spend a nice evening with candlelight and wine. In a separate dining room, kids enjoyed their own meals. Sounds inhumane, but the kids love it. They feel as if they are the ones out on the town and according to NYC Restaurant News, kids actually feel more comfortable trying new things without their parents around. These places are now filling empty tables with kids and earning extra income, while bringing in the income they’d normally lose because parents don’t want to take their kids out.

It Makes Sense to Include Children in Your Business Plan

According to sociology professor, Kathleen Gerson, there is a big misconception that parents do not spend as much time with their kids as previous generations did. In her book The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work and Family, she says that Millennials spend more time with their children than parents did in the 1950s. This despite there being two working parents in a household.

I know that my wife and I never go anywhere unless we have our son with us. We also shop at places where we know there will be something to keep him entertained. Call it spoiled if you will, but you are missing out on a big opportunity if you don’t embrace the children’s market.

With 74.2 million children under 18 in the United States (an all-time high), now is the perfect time to grab onto a business opportunity that caters to them. If you don’t like running something for kids, at least create an environment where parents still want to visit you. Those who fail to do so are leaving plenty of money on the table for their competitors to take advantage of.

Do you cater to children in your business? Are you a parent who agrees that this is a missed opportunity if you don’t?

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