Lemonade stands have been teaching kids about how to run a business for generations. Remember the old Peanuts cartoon where Lucy dispenses advice instead of drinks for five cents, and then Snoopy undercuts her for two cents?
Even if your neighborhood was less competitive growing up, your first experience with being an entrepreneur probably made a lasting impression. Some of these lessons still hold, but others may need to be updated.
Lemonade Stand Lessons You Can Still Count On
- Set your goals. Many stands got launched by the desire for a new bike or the latest video game. Having a specific goal for your business is always motivating.
- Line up investors. Your parents may have provided the start-up capital. Even when you have a great idea, you still need the finances to bring it to life.
- Create an image. A catchy name and logo draw in potential customers. Create a mission statement and be super creative with your logo.
- Make an effort. You proved your work ethic when you gave up hours of your summer vacation running your lemonade stand when you could have been at the beach. The best things in life are the achievements you earn for yourself.
- Scout out your location. Go where the customers are. Look for spots with lots of traffic.
- Team up. Working with a partner always helps. You can enjoy each other’s company and achieve more through cooperation.
- Pursue hands-on learning. The first-hand experience makes everything more vivid. You may remember more about your lemonade stand than the university economics courses you took much more recently.
- Know your customers. Simple surveys enable you to figure out what will sell. Maybe your neighbors wanted lots of ice or sugar-free options.
- Timing is everything. Lemonade stands tend to be seasonal work. It pays to keep the calendar in mind, so you coordinate your initiatives with major holidays and annual events.
- Set your hours. Chances are you had to pick times that wouldn’t interfere with your homework and Saturday morning cartoons. Scheduling is a big part of most businesses.
- Focus on safety. Now that you’re the one providing adult supervision, safety still matters. Know the best safety practices in your industry and follow them.
- Exceed expectations. Wow, your fans with something extra. Embrace that spirit that inspired you to throw in a free cookie or train your dog to shake hands with your best customers.
Lemonade Stand Lessons You May Want to Reconsider
- Follow regulations. Things tend to be more casual when you’re a kid. Today your business has to pay taxes and abide by the laws in your jurisdiction.
- Pay attention to quality. Most kids get a lot of mileage out of just being cute. You can stay ahead of the competition by offering superior products and services.
- Know your math. When your parents supply free lemons, you can afford to be a little fuzzy about the details. Now you would be better off mastering pricing and profits to keep your business afloat. Hire an expert advisor or take a course in basic accounting and marketing.
- Assess your overhead. It was sweet when all you needed was a folding table and a sign to make your first sale. Do your research. Figure out your real operating costs before you proceed with any business venture.
- Go online. Depending on your age, your lemonade stand may have predated the internet. Take advantage of technology to become more successful with your business.
If you’re feeling nostalgic about your old lemonade stand, introduce your kids to the tradition next summer. It’s a refreshing way to learn about the world of work.