DEAR JOYCE: MY 14-year-old son has had the usual baby-sitting, grass mowing and lemonade stand experiences. I would like him to have a real business this summer. If he makes any money, fine, but the goal is the learning experience. Can you suggest appropriate small businesses a youngster can operate this summer? J.S.
Few endeavors are less certain than small business so your ideas are right on target. If your son learns nothing more than how to bounce back after a disappointment, it will have been well worth the time investment. Begin the venture right away with a joint trip to the library. You'll get a carload of small business ideas from books and entrepreneurial magazines (like Income Opportunities, Venture and Inc.) articles.
You may want to make it a family project, working with your youngster using such books as "The Teenage Entrepreneur's Guide," by Sarah Riehm (Surrey Books, (800) 326-4430). Two more leads: Write for information to Future Business Leaders of America, 1912 Association Dr., Reston, Va. 22091, and to Junior Achievement Inc., 45 E. Clubhouse Dr., Colorado Springs, Colo. 80906.
A product specifically developed for teen entrepreneurs is attractively packaged as "The Busines$ Kit." It's published by the Busines$ Kids company in Coral Gables, Fla., (800) 852-4544.
The kit contains five booklets to guide young entrepreneurs through all the stages of their selected businesses. One of the booklets notes 76 businesses young people can consider, including services for senior citizens, wake-up service, pet grooming and janitorial services. Another booklet shows how to make a business plan and market a business. Other kit components include an appointment book, audio cassette, stationery and business cards.