Science Fair Projects: A Good Start But Not Enough.
Doing science fair projects is a good way to get a young student interested in a career in some technical or scientific business. There are many careers that one can pursue where science fair projects can be the flame that ignites the students’ interest in a technical career.
But there is so much more that is necessary to be successful in business. Very few if any schools at the high school level or even at the college level teach the engineering or science student what they really have to know to run a business.
For example, every good business person has to know how to do a cash flow projection. This is a guesstimate of just what it will take for the business to become profitable. You have to estimate what your costs will be for labor, for general and administrative
expenses, and for all incremental expenses involved in providing your product or service. You must factor in the cost of marketing and advertising and sales, and be sure not to forget the cost of rent, electricity, insurance, legal, accounting, and everything else from cleaning the offices to garbage removal. All of these costs go on whether or not you are making any sales, so you must factor in just how long it will take till your marketing takes effect and you begin to get customers. All good stuff to consider for a science fair project.
Most people overestimate just how soon they will start getting customers and they underestimate what their expenses will be. It will take longer than you think to start making profits. No science fair project will teach you this lesson.
Marketing is a science in itself. Just how do you get business? You are ready to sell your service or your project but no one else knows about it. Marketing and advertising is very expensive and takes a long time to work, even though most people underestimate the cost and time it takes.
Just what experience does the science student have in hiring people, in working with them and motivating them to do a good job? The student was trained in science or engineering but what do they know about managing human resources, or for that matter any other kind of resources such as facilities, machinery, management information systems and the like.
Science fair projects are great to help get the ball rolling in the direction of a career in science or engineering, but it is only the beginning.