As a rite of passage every child in my humble opinion should have a lemonade stand. My kids recently opened up for business and as a parent I found myself brimming with pride. It probably has some to do with the fact that I work for a bank and they can now take those earnings and invest them here in my bank. I’m sure you my readers also had a lemonade stand as a young person. So let’s take a look at the economics of the lemonade stand and what we as grown-ups can learn from our kids.
1. Planning. When my kids said they wanted to sell lemonade in our front yard I thought fondly of my youth and the fun I had running my stand. However, as the primary investor in their business I asked for a business plan or plan of action. I wanted to know what their forecasted ROI would be; I wanted them to calculate their COGS, and finally I needed to know what their final NP would be. All kidding aside I did ask them to figure out what they should charge per glass and what their cost of that lemonade was going to be. After they satisfied my questions I invested the lemons and sugar to their venture; with the understanding that they needed to make enough to pay me back and make enough to keep for themselves in the form of profits. They came to me with a crude yet workable business plan and work got underway, mind you they are kids.
2. Quality Control. My oldest son was adamant that we had to use lemons from the fruit stand as they were better quality from the lemons you can get at the super market. Also, he wasn’t going to use tap water, he wanted to use our purified water. Lastly, he went to Google to find the best lemonade recipe. So now armed with quality ingredients and a fool-proof recipe the lemonade was made.
3. Production & Staging. The lemonade was made according to specifications and now they need to let people know they were open for business. Signs were made and a table was set out in the front yard. They made sure that they had the supplies they needed, cups, napkins, change for people paying with bills. All was set and they were ready to go.
4. Sale Sale Sale. Unfortunately I wasn’t home when this was going on. But, my wife said the boys did great. However, sales were slow to start. If you build it they will come didn’t hold up right off the bat. But finally the first customer showed and bought a cup of lemonade. The boys were quick to build rapport, so much so that the gentleman sent his wife to buy a cup. They knew that they needed that repeat business. After all was said and done they sold out of lemonade!
5. Clean Up. The lemonade stand is now gone and put away. I hope they get the itch to do it again in the future as it can only help to foster an entrepreneurial spirit. They are already talking about making business cards, getting a website, and debating with each what their new company should be called. They want to diversify their product offerings next time with cookies, brownies, and cupcakes. They realize that the can capitalize on the business customers they already had by diversifying. We’ll see if mom wants to make all those baked goods.
As a grown-up we can learn two vital lessons from our kids. The first and most important is enthusiasm and excitement. At times as adults we get told no all lot that when we have an idea we sometimes give up on it because our experiences tell us all the reasons it won’t work. Kids don’t have all the negative thoughts in their minds. So when an idea or opportunity comes around let your child-like enthusiasm come out and play. Let it help you combat all the negative adult stuff and let your excitement for your idea lead you where you might not have ventured.
Another great thing we can learn from the Lemonade Stand is kids willingness to learn. My kids had never ran a lemonade stand before so they looked for mentors in the form of me and my wife. They learned from our experiences and looked to us for guidance. As a business owner or professional we can’t always know the way to go. We have to be like a humble child and not be afraid to ask for help. Have you searched out a mentor, can you be a mentor? Either way it’s great to be able to learn from someone with experience or share your knowledge with up and comers.