Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Lemonade Stand Lessons for Little Entrepreneurs

When I was about eight years old, I set up a lemonade stand in my front yard. I pulled down the large pitcher from the cupboard, retrieved the tin of lemonade mix from the pantry, measured and poured and stirred. I roped my brother into setting a table up for me and then painstakingly penned a poster to advertise my offering. One cup cost five cents, and I knew I was going to be rich by the end of the day.

An hour later, I had made two sales. (Did I mention that we lived on a quiet, circular street that didn’t get much traffic?) I quickly tired of the boredom, heat, and relentless sunshine. I was done.

A few decades later, I am now the mother of some enterprising young people who decided to sell lemonade.

If you’ve been following this blog for long, you know that my 84yo mother decided over the winter to sell her condominium and move into an independent-living apartment in a retirement village. It was a wise decision for her, but it involved the selling of many, many items.

For the second weekend of her estate sale, my children set up an old-fashioned lemonade stand, including cookies.

Whether the year is 1977 or 2017, many of the lessons remain the same, and it was a tremendous opportunity to talk with all six children about a few of the many, many things to consider when running a business.

Cost of materials. We figured out the cost of the lemonade, the water, the ice, the ingredients for the cookies, the poster board for the sign.

Cost of employees. The Littles thought they were running the lemonade stand and bringing home all the profits. But they needed the help of the big sisters who supervised the baking of the cookies and brownies. The Littles learned that saying, there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Employees cost money as well as other benefits, like taste tests. J

Cost of rent and utilities. They were quite appreciative that Grandma didn't charge anything for the use of a corner of her garage…but they learned that she had that right. J

Price of goods offered. Many considerations were necessary to decide what they would charge for lemonade and cookies: the cost of their materials, who their customer base might be, the location of the stand, and what the market determines to be appropriate for the goods offered.

Profit. Of course, this would have to be divided between the three entrepreneurs.

Taxes. This was a most interesting discussion of how taxes are figured, how they are paid, who determines the tax rate, and why we pay taxes.

Customer service.  The Littles learned that excellent customer service is of utmost importance. ~ Smile. Serve them promptly. Say thank you.

Keep your workstation clean and tidy. No one wants to buy lemonade or cookies from a messy table.

Keep your money safe. Because you just never know.

Politeness and common courtesy in the work environment. Yes, politeness is necessary with customers, but it’s also vital among the employees. No one wants to work in a hostile environment.

Marketing. How do you make potential customers aware of your business? In their situation, marketing consisted of a sign to make their goods attractive. {Mom marketed her estate sale.}

Tithe. The Littles gave ten percent of their profit to the church the next day.

At the end of the day, they came away with a number of lessons as well as a tidy profit of over $20. Perhaps I should resurrect my own childhood stand? 😊

Have you or your children had a lemonade stand? Any other lessons I need to impart to my little entrepreneurs?

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