Why NOT to Have a Lemonade Stand (A Rhea Perry Entrepreneurship Post)

by Rhea Perry

The first thing most young entrepreneurs do when they need money is set up a lemonade stand in the front yard. When this happens, encourage them that business is about serving others with their gifts, not just making money. Here’s what to tell them.

  • When you sit quietly behind a Lemonade Stand with your sister or your next-door neighbor, you can expect to do all the work.
  • Workers may even drink all the profits. When business is slow, the help gets thirsty. Yes, you aren’t supposed to muzzle the ox while he is threshing, but on a hot summer day, all the profits could be gone by the time thirsty customers show up…. if they do.
  • Mom may not ask for reimbursement for supplies. I know it’s hard to believe, but some sincere mothers who want to see their young entrepreneurs succeed with their first venture often donate the expenses to the project. Unfortunately, this help skews the financial figures and robs you of the lesson that profits increase when expenses are managed well.
  • If you build it, they may not come. Building a business is only half of the project. The other half is reaching out to where your well-funded market operates and dragging them back to your product or service with excellent marketing.
  • One bad experience may discourage you from doing this again. Failure or public ridicule could steer you into something less risky.
  • The cost of lost opportunity could also be significant factor. While you sit patiently behind a card table on the side of the road, you could be missing a bigger opportunity somewhere down the road. Keep your eyes open.
  • Most of all, it’s not fun to work on projects by yourself.

So How DO You Sell Lemonade?

Think bigger! The world is your marketplace, not just the sidewalk in front of the house.
Plan your projects to take advantage of sporting events and holidays where people are out more than usual. Place your business in high traffic, easy-to-find areas.
Create a system to provide customers with your much-needed product. That means YOU can’t do this all by yourself. You, right-brained entrepreneur, conceptualize the project. Then assemble a team of loyal, conscientious, left-brain workers to man the tables and work the system for you.
Provide equipment and products with creative financing. Use self-discipline to manage expenses because expenses will determine your profits.
Don’t forget to get a permit from the city or the authorities may shut down all your stands.
Place 5 to 10 lemonade stand managers at prime locations all over town. Spend your afternoon communicating with and visiting each one to replenish supplies. If you are not old enough to drive, barter with a driver.
At each visit, make sure the manager is happy and well supplied. If you discover areas that need help, adjust immediately.
If you have researched and marketed your business well, people will buy.
At the end of the project, have your managers bring the supplies back to you. Make sure the experience is positive so they will work with you again, if you want them to.
Pay the bills. Pay God. Pay yourself 10% of the net.
If you make a profit, invest the money to finance your next project.
If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. If you give life a lemonade stand, you can make money. If you build a system to give lemonade to the world, you can make a difference.□

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