Friday, February 25, 2022

Book Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway: KidVenture: Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue by Steve Searfoss

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

KidVenture: Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue
(KidVenture #1)
By Steve Searfoss
Middle Grade Fiction, Contemporary
Paperback & ebook, 125 Pages
January 26, 2020 by Steve Searfoss

Chance Sterling launches a pool cleaning business over the summer. Join Chance as he looks for new customers, discovers how much to charge them, takes on a business partner, recruits an employee, deals with difficult clients, and figures out how to make a profit. He has twelve weeks to reach his goal. Will he make it? Only if he takes some chances.

KidVenture stories are business adventures where kids figure out how to market their company, understand risk, and negotiate. Each chapter ends with a challenge, including business decisions, ethical dilemmas and interpersonal conflict for young readers to wrestle with. As the story progresses, the characters track revenue, costs, profit margin, and other key metrics which are explained in simple, fun ways that tie into the story.

(Affiliate links included.)

I tried to think about why the unfairness bothered me so much. It was more than just having to split the money with her. This business was mine. I had started it. Sure, it had only been five weeks, but still. I had done a lot of work to get to that point. Not just cleaning Dad’s pool, but negotiating, going out and finding another customer. This was something I was building, all by myself. I didn’t like the idea of sharing, of giving part of it up to someone else. I liked being able to say to myself this was all mine. All of it. I didn’t want to give that up.

I smiled, satisfied with myself. I tried to think of more cons, but no other ones came to mind. But those were enough. I had five really good reasons not to make Addie my partner. So I turned my attention to the right side of the sheet, the pros. Those were a lot harder to come up with. I stared at the white sheet for a long time. All I could think about was how I would lose half of my money and how that wasn’t fair. Not fair at all!

Finally I forced myself to concentrate. I had to admit her flyers looked nice. She did a good job with them. And she was right, I couldn’t draw. Nobody wants to look at doodles of nervous spaghetti. That wasn’t my strength, but it was something she was good at. So I wrote that down. Maybe she would be better at finding customers than I was. Maybe she wouldn’t be, but did I want to take that risk? If I didn’t agree to make her my partner, she’d be out there slipping flyers under the same doors I was knocking on. Our neighborhood was only so big. Could it support two different kids offering a pool cleaning service? Maybe it would be good to partner with her just to keep her from competing with me.

As I thought about it, I also had to admit she had good ideas. This whole marketing thing was a new concept I hadn’t really thought of. It definitely solved the two problems I was worried about before. If we could leave a flyer describing our pool cleaning business at each house, then it didn’t matter if they were home or not. They could read it whenever they got home. If they didn’t have a pool they could just throw the flyer away. But if it was me knocking on doors though, I would have to waste twenty minutes talking to them, like I did with the nice old lady who gave me candy and the pimply teenager who wanted to steal my idea. On the other hand, if they did have a pool, maybe they’d look at the flyer and decide to call. In that case I’d be happy to go talk to them about our service and how we guarantee not just a clean pool, but peace of mind too.

Look at that! I just said our cleaning service, and they would call us. What was wrong with me? Was I forgetting how unfair this all was? Then I remembered that Addie got Mom to let her use her phone number. She was always good at getting Mom and Dad to help her. Ok, if I really thought about it, she was better at asking for help than I was. I usually had a lot of pride to swallow, but she didn’t seem to have that problem.

I tried to think if there were other pros. I remembered something my mom had told me once, she said two were better than one. Maybe this is what she meant. I was good at cleaning pools, negotiating, talking to customers, figuring things out. Addie was good at art, coming up with new ideas —she was very creative I had to admit—, and asking for help. Maybe it was true, two were better than one, and together we could do more things, in different ways, and do them better, than we could if each of us were on our own. This way I could focus on what I did best, and have her do the things I really didn’t enjoy doing.

There was something else. I could trust Addie. Sure, she was annoying sometimes. But she’s still my sister. She wouldn’t intentionally try to mess me up or run off with all my money. It’s true I could probably find someone else to draw the flyers and just pay them for it without giving up half my business. But they wouldn’t be a partner. Not like Addie would. Someone who really cared if we succeeded or failed, and someone I could trust to have our best interests at heart.

I wrote down one more pro. If Addie’s plan did work, there was the chance that we could make a lot more money than I could if it was just me. This whole time, I had kept thinking about what would happen if Addie’s flyers didn’t get us any new customers, or only got us one or two. But what if her marketing got us three customers, or five, or even 10. That would be amazing!

Was that a chance worth taking? I turned the paper over and drew two lines across, so I divided the page into thirds. At the top of the first section, I wrote down Worst Possible Outcome. That was easy, I quickly scribbled: “0 new clients. Result = $20 a week instead of $40.”

Below that I wrote Normal Outcome. I had to believe that, over time, with Addie’s help and with her flyers, we could get at least two more customers, which is what we have now. Aargh why did I keep saying we again? So in that case, I’d be making $40 dollars a week, just like I am now. That seemed very reasonable. This was the most likely result.

And then at the bottom of the page I wrote down Best Outcome. Let’s say Addie got us four more customers. That would be six total. Then we’d be making $120 per week, and I’d get half of that, $60 a week. Plus that seemed a lot more stable. What if Larry changed his mind? Then I’d be back to just cleaning Dad’s pool. But if we had six customers, losing one of them wouldn’t be as big a deal.

I glanced back up at the worst possible outcome I had written down. I scratched my head. Would I be ok if the worst happened? Yes I would. I could handle it. Now it would be a bummer to only make $20 each week, but not the end of the world. It would take me twice as long to get Midnight Blue, but other than that, not that big of a deal. On the other hand, the best possible outcome…well that made me giddy to think about. I realized I had spent all my time thinking about the worst possible outcome and not enough thinking about the best possible outcome.

Then I had another thought. Summer was almost halfway done. I was nowhere close to my goal of making $225 to buy Midnight Blue. If I was going to make it, I had to do something different. I had to be true to my name and take a chance.

I put the pencil down. I had one more thing to think about. This wasn’t only about Addie. This was about me, and what I wanted. What did I really hope for? Did I dream about scooping up dead leaves and drowned insects? Not really. I was already kind of getting bored with that. But what I did daydream about, what I fantasized about, was running a business. A real business. I had been having fun ever since Dad put that idea of leverage in my head. I like a challenge. And, I have to admit, again, Addie’s flyers had inspired me to dream big. I imagined us running a real company with lots of customers. That was easier to do with a partner. Even if there were just two of us struggling to find another customer, that felt like we were a real business, building a dream. When it was just me, it was hard not to feel like I was just cleaning pools.

Excerpted from Kidventure: Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue by Steve Searfoss, Copyright © 2022 by Steve Searfoss. Published by Steve Searfoss.

About the Author

Steve Searfoss: I wrote my first KidVenture book after years of making up stories to teach my kids about business and economics. Whenever they'd ask how something works or why things were a certain way, I would say, "Let's pretend you have a business that sells..." and off we'd go. What would start as a simple hypothetical to explain a concept would become an adventure spanning several days as my kids would come back with new questions which would spawn more plot twists. Rather than give them quick answers, I tried to create cliffhangers to get them to really think through an idea and make the experience as interactive as possible.

I try to bring that same spirit of fun, curiosity and challenge to each KidVenture book. That’s why every chapter ends with a dilemma and a set of questions. KidVenture books are fun for kids to read alone, and even more fun to read together and discuss. There are plenty of books where kids learn about being doctors and astronauts and firefighters. There are hardly any where they learn what it’s like to run small business. KidVenture is different. The companies the kids start are modest and simple, but the themes are serious and important.

I’m an entrepreneur who has started a half dozen or so businesses and have had my share of failures. My dad was an entrepreneur and as a kid I used to love asking him about his business and learning the ins and outs of what to do and not do. Mistakes make the best stories — and the best lessons. I wanted to write a business book that was realistic, where you get to see the characters stumble and wander and reset, the way entrepreneurs do in real life. Unlike most books and movies where business is portrayed as easy, where all you need is one good idea and the desire to be successful, the characters in KidVenture find that every day brings new problems to solve.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a print copy of KidVenture: Twelve Weeks to Midnight Blue and a $15 Amazon gift card (US, UK, Canada only)

Ends March 2, 2022

Grab Our Button!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!