Youth business guide to success – Make the most of your 4-H market animal project curriculum teaches entrepreneurship and marketing

This MSU Extension curriculum provides unique learning opportunities for all involved in 4-H market animal projects.

Cover of guide.

According to a 2014 article in the Journal of Research on Adolescence, “Entrepreneurship offers a viable and proven pathway to economic growth and personal fulfillment.” Entrepreneurship encompasses mixing an interest or hobby with creativity and business and marketing principles. Youth entrepreneurship is growing through Michigan 4-H.

What does it cost to raise a market animal? How can raising a market animal teach positive financial management? How are presentation and marketing skills related to an animal project? Youth Business Guide to Success – Make the Most of Your 4-H Market Animal Project by Michigan State University Extension is ready to assist 4-H youth staff members, volunteers and 4-H members in answering those questions.

Youth Business Guide to Success – Make the Most of Your 4-H Market Animal Project was written with partial support from a Michigan 4-H participation fee grant. Youth ages 12-19 will benefit from 14 lessons that revolve around the following six units and learning objectives:

1. Goal Setting Unit

  • Youth will create a SMART goal related to their market animal project and break down their goals into action steps.

2. Record Keeping Unit

  • Youth will identify a variety of records that are kept for their market animal project, apply record keeping skills to their personal life, and explain the connection between a market animal project and a business.

3. Budgeting Unit

As a result of working through three lessons, youth will:

  • Identify the basic items needed for a market animal project related to budgeting.
  • Calculate percentages related to their market animal project budget.
  • Prioritize items needed for raising 4-H market animals through budgeting.
  • Explain the two parts of a spending plan and the difference between the financial terms income and expense.
  • Be able to recognize that some decisions related to market animal projects impact future earnings.
  • Create a sample budget/spending plan for their market animal project.
  • Calculate a break-even point for their market animal project.

4. Communication Unit

Following five lessons focused on verbal and non-verbal communication, youth will:

  • Identify written communication tools that can be used in market animal projects and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
  • Identify the components of a good communications piece.
  • Explain what makes a communication piece professional.
  • Explain the importance of a thank-you note.
  • Create a thank-you note using the seven steps to creating a good thank-you note.
  • Identify a variety of communication options available through technology and utilize a technology tool in their market animal projects.
  • Create and deliver a 30-second pitch.
  • Demonstrate a proper business handshake.
  • Explain how to dress and behave appropriately around potential buyers.

5. Marketing Unit

As a result of completing three lessons, youth will:

  • Identify and generate examples of each of the five Ps in a marketing plan.
  • Calculate the break-even point for their market animal project.
  • Demonstrate they can develop a marketing plan.
  • Explain the concepts, processes and systems needed to determine and satisfy customer needs/wants/expectations.
  • Create a customer profile.
  • Describe and identify various target markets.
  • Explain the six market strategies and identify an advantage of each.

6. Teen Leadership Unit

  • An opportunity for teens to teach younger 4-H members.
  • Youth will identify the five basic needs that every animal requires and give an example of each.

Youth Business Guide to Success – Make the Most of Your 4-H Market Animal Project may be purchased at the MSU Extension BookstoreMSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development helps to prepare young people for successful futures. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education, or youth entrepreneurship, email us at

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