The Way the Cookie Crumbles: The Girl Scouts Teach Money and Business Skills

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    Mellody Hobson talks about how the Girl Scouts can teach a thing or two about money and business.

    I’m not sure if you noticed, but it’s Girl Scout cookie season.  I hate to play favorites, but nothing beats a frozen Thin Mint.

    Whatever your poison, Girl Scout cookies are big business.  In the organization’s century-long history, the cookies have played a major part in funding. And grown-ups can learn a thing or two from their business model.

    Like what?
    The biggest advantage the girl scouts have, in addition to their adorable little pint-sized sales reps, is that they have mastered the art of supply and demand. The cookies are good, but they’re not AMAZING. So why the annual frenzy? How have they built a $700 million cookie empire? A key ingredient to Girl Scout cookie mania is the scarcity effect: the fact that you can only buy the cookies once a year adds a sense of urgency to lock in those orders.

    So the scouts have it all figured out.
    Actually, they don’t, and that’s primarily what I want to talk about today. The cookie business was created not only to help fund the Girl Scouts’ endeavors, but also to help the girls themselves learn about business. The five stated skills are setting goals, better decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics. The Girl Scouts’ research arm conducted a recent survey and it that found that 88% of girls interviewed do not feel confident making financial decisions. 88%!

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