Be Prepared for Life

Activity Kit Six:
"The World of Work"

Part 1. Making a Start

Ideally to obtain maximum benefit from this kit you should start with Project One, and proceed to any of the following projects depending on the interests of your patrol or select an alternative project from the index at the back of this kit.


There are five types of business opportunity:

selling: someone else's product [eg. flower bulbs]
service: doing something for others [eg. clean ups]
food: processing/selling food [eg. hot dog stands]
consulting: selling information
manufacturing: making and selling something non edible

Scouts have been involved in at least three of these five types of work and perhaps all five. We have usually done this to raise funds but there are very real skills to learnt at the same time, provided the Scouts do it all themselves!

After all, the one who does the work, learns the skills.

In this kit it is assumed that your patrol will finally choose a project involving MANUFACTURING a product and SELLING it, and that the main reason behind this exercise is to learn skills associated with starting and managing a small business enterprise, beyond any profit motive.

The following steps are presented in the form of questions that should be answered by the patrol in discussions guided by the Scouter.

It should not be rushed, but handled in depth over a significant period of time.

Project 1: Planning a Scout manufacturing project


  • Talk it over together as a patrol...

    What are the advantages of doing any project like this for ourselves?
    How could others benefit by it?
    What is our goal in doing this?
    Write your goal down on poster paper on the patrol room wall.

  • List on your poster the things you think you could make for sale as a patrol.

    Ask your Scout families and friends to help make suggestions.
    Ask them what sort of things they need.
    Are their needs being met adequately?
    Add their suggestions to your growing list.
    Look at the suggested projects in this kit. Do they sound interesting to you?
    Look at the index for the Be Prepared for Life kits
    Are any of them feasible in your circumstances?
    Do any of them trigger ideas for other projects?
    Do you have some new way out idea of your own?
    Add all interesting ideas to your poster list.

  • Make a short list of the five best ideas.

    Make a list of criteria to help you choose the best idea.
    eg. - Will this product sell here?
    - Is there anyone else nearby offering the same product? Survey the shops in your area. - Is there someone who could give advice on this? - Does it interest us? - Are there any other important considerations? Reduce your short list to 5 products.

  • Make a preliminary choice of a product.

    Get advice on your best bet.
    Target one project.
    Write it on a seperate poster and display it.


  • What do you want to make?

    Define it in detail.
    What will you call it? Choose a name that says it in style.

  • Are there any legal implications to be observed?

    [eg. plans, regulations, approval, license for a home industry etc.]

  • Do you know how to make it?

    Where can you find out what you need to know?
    Who can help or advise you?
    Where will you get the raw material from?
    How long will it take to make it?
    How much will it cost?
    How will you finance the start?

  • Where will you sell it?

    Are there any legal implications to be observed?
    [eg. Licence for selling, trading, hawking etc.]

  • Is there competition for your product here?

  • How will you sell it?

    Who [what type of customer] would buy it?
    How will you bring it to their attention?
    How will you get it to them?
    When is the best time to sell it to them?
    Are you going to ask others to help you sell it?
    Who... Scout families? Craft shops? Scout shop? Scout patrols in other areas?
    How will you get it to them?

  • How many do you think you should be able to sell?

    Will you have them ready in time?

  • How will you know you are successful?

    Look at your goal statement again...
    - Do you expect to make a profit?
    - How much do you need to sell it for? [Your costs]
    - How much can you sell it for? [Market potential]
    - How much profit should you make?
    - What sort of price do similar types of products command?

    - How will you use your profit?
    - Do you expect to learn a skill?
    - Which skills?
    - How will you know when you are skilled?
    - What do you expect to learn?

    - How will others benefit by this?
    - How can their opinion of our success be measured?

    - Will our environment be improved or suffer from this production?


  • Make a range of samples of the sort of products you plan to manufacture and sell.

    Keep records of how you did it [how you solved your problems]
    Keep records of what it cost to make it
    Keep records of how long it took to make each item.

  • Improve your techniques and effectiveness - get creative.

  • Take your range of products to some of your sympathetic, prospective buyers and ask them...

    If they would be prepared to buy something like this?
    How much they would be prepared to pay for it?
    How it could be improved? eg. Better finish etc.

  • Make a final choice of your product.


  • Work out an action strategy chart on the patrol room wall for manufacturing in market quantities.

    Write up the name of your project.
    Write up your project goal.
    Make a list of things needing to be done.
    Make a list of who will do these things.
    Make a list of the dates by which they should be done.

  • Get started and keep updating your action strategy chart.

  • Keep looking at how you are measuring your success!

Part Two: Small craft manufacture

© Copyright 1991 - 1994
Dr Frank Opie for the South African Scout Association