Kids are pretty active to start, but between at-school physical education, after-class extracurriculars, and playing at the park, you’d think kids like Matty and Benny Smalarz would be worn out by the end of the day. Not quite—in fact, the brothers have come up with a great way to exercise, feel strong, and have fun after school and on weekends.
Matty (8 years old) and Benny (7 years) have their very own “ninja warrior” obstacle course in their parents’ basement. Though this alone is often enough to fulfill any kid’s wildest dreams, the brothers have bigger plans for their course: specifically, to make it accessible to paying customers in southern California.
Dave, Matty’s and Benny’s dad, built their first ninja warrior course, complete with a rock wall, rope swings, pegs, and monkey bars. After a soccer game one Sunday, the family invited friends over to the house, where Matty and Benny and six other boys played on the ninja warrior course. By the end of the evening, the boys were ecstatic about how much fun it was to challenge themselves on the course. They plan on making their cool ninja warrior courses into a business.
We had the chance to catch up with Matty and Benny and ask them about their upcoming venture.
What inspired you to come up with the idea for your business?
We like to play and climb and there is no place in Acton to go (besides our downstairs). Our friends say it’s super fun!
How do you plan on getting started?
Mom and dad will help. And our grandpa likes to build things so we will get him to help, too. Our friends like to come to our house to play. We already have customers who want to play like we do.
Will you be opening a facility kids can visit to play at and exercise in, or will you be offering to build similar ninja warrior courses for customers in their own backyards and homes? (If it’s the former, do you plan on modeling it after indoor “trampoline parks” like Krazy Air and Sky Zone?)
Well, we like having a place to go so a bunch of us can play together. And it will be like Sky Zone, but we like Altitude. But we will make bigger rock walls and an obstacle course. Actually, two, no three courses: one for us and our friends, one for little guys and one for adults.
How do you plan on acquiring the capital necessary to start this business?
Mom has been giving us some ideas but we are not sure yet. We are meeting with Chris [soon] to ask him questions; he owns a CrossFit gym. He may know!
What will your main duties be in starting the business?
[Matty]: I will make the videos and mom will help me put them on YouTube. She already has a YouTube (channel) and seems to know what she’s doing.
[Benny]: I will build the course – or help daddy and grandpa. Or maybe I will draw it out and let them build it? I will make it super hard!
Do you plan on using any particular Web tools, apps, or organizational methods to help make the startup process easier?
Mom was showing us how to make a website so she said she can help us with that. And she uses Facebook a lot and our friends’ parents use it, so we will share videos and pictures on Facebook. All the parents will see it and want to come! And we will tell our friends at school and at soccer and basketball, too.
Between work and school, how will your family get together to build the business from the ground up?
It is going to be our summer project—together. We have been playing Uno at night but talking about what we will do. We started a journal and workbook. (Thanks, Adam!)
What tips do you have for kids who have come up with great business/product ideas?
Do them! It’s super fun! Mom and Dad tell us we can try things and if they are fun—awesome. If they aren’t fun, we [will] find something else to do. Definitely do it.
What tips can you provide to parents whose children are interested in entrepreneurship, product/service design, and more?
Well, the [Kidpreneurs] book and workbook are good. Some of it is kind of hard, so be sure to read it with your kid. Don’t just give it to them and say “read.” We have good ideas, so let [us] try them out. Oh, and write on your whiteboard a good word each day. Mom started that and we kind of like it now.
Matty and Benny are working hard at organizing their business and bringing their dream to life. We can’t wait to see what they put together this summer!