This Wall St. Journal article suggests that more kids are their own boss in a tough economic climate. At a time when it’s hard for high school students to find the typical jobs that see them through the summer, many are opening up shop, commercializing the proverbial lemonade stand and taking it to new levels. But the story that’s most inspirational in the article belongs to a young guy who understands who’s really in charge.

Josh Bostick, 17, has been running his own car washing business for three years. Starting from humble beginnings – scouring the neighborhood for business in a golf cart – he’s now marketing his services through a variety of media and is projecting revenues of $15k for the year. And boy does he know how to win a customer’s heart:

Mr. Bostick watches weather forecasts and warns customers of impending rain, suggesting they delay washing their cars until after the storm. Josh says, I do lose a good amount of business doing that, but my customers are really appreciative. He hopes to have $50,000 saved when he leaves for college next year.

Here’s a guy at 17 who understands something that plenty of corporates and marketing divisions never get: As friend and former Procter & Gamble head AG Lafley would say, the consumer is boss. Put people first, deliver priceless value – like a car wash service telling you when not to wash your car – and the sky is the limit for your business.

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Kevin Roberts

Kevin Roberts is founder of Red Rose Consulting; business leader and educator; author and speaker; adviser on marketing, creative thinking and leadership.


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