Wednesday, July 13, 2011
How to Run a Successful Lemonade Stand
So our Big Helper wanted to have a lemonade stand this summer. Her daddy used to set one up in his front yard all the time, and we both wanted to see her have some measure of success with this, but who can guarantee that? We ended up putting all of our heads together for the planning, and her stand far surpassed our expectations. While we're certainly not business geniuses, here are a few things that (I think) helped her along the way.
- Location, location, location! We live on a dead-end street, so setting up in our front yard would've brought in exactly zero customers. But at the end of our dead-end street is a fairly busy road that connects to the local hospital, the high school, and several doctors' offices. We set up the lemonade stand on that street.
- Advertise! Our Big Girl painted a large, bright sign to hang from the edges of her table. She used big letters and bright paint. She also prepped a message on Facebook to go out to all of my FB friends.
Also, unbeknownst to her, I was taking pictures of the entire process and posting them on FB the morning of - both so that our families could see how hard she was working and so that maybe some of our friends would stop by and support her efforts. People definitely commented on what she was doing, and several of my friends made it a point to stop by!
(I'm not saying that I go around hitting up my friends for money ... but if they are willing and able to buy a 50 cent cup of lemonade from my daughter to help her learn about economics .... I'm most appreciative. And of course I'll return the favor when they set up their doughnut stands. Just sayin'.)
- Be little. Maybe this goes without saying, but I don't think all of those kind people would've turned their cars around to buy lemonade from my husband. Or me. Or any other of-job-age-holding adult.
But for a kid, people went all out.
I know I'm biased - but honestly, who can resist those faces? It's only a few cents per person - but it adds up fast.
- Sell something to eat. The cupcakes sold out in about 40 minutes - if that.
I wasn't expecting that, but people shared their rationale. They couldn't hold an open cup of lemonade in their car, but they could wrap up a cupcake (my Big Girl insisted on providing napkins for just such an emergency) and they sincerely wanted to support her. This way they could.
Others reminisced about how long it had been since they'd had a cupcake. One construction worker tipped quite generously in his excitement over seeing them for sale.
A cup of lemonade and a snack make a nice, round cost per person - only $1! - for a snack and drink.
And for those of us female types ... who can resist chocolate??
- Be excited! My Big Helper was very excited about her lemonade stand, but her bubbly personality doesn't bubble over until she knows you a bit - which presents a problem when greeting unknown customers.
Enter: The exciteable, older neighbor boys.
These two guys are a few years older than our children, and they are good kids. They were eager to sample her cupcakes and then stayed to hang out and help.
They convinced her to sit in her princessy chair and wave at oncoming cars ...
and eagerly rode their scooters home to make more signs for her stand. They said things like, "Honk if you are thirsty" and they jumped up and down and waved near her stand.
THEIR enthusiasm made us all laugh - and kept everyone's energy level high as we sweated in the heat.
Oh - and the lemonade clerk got lots of honks and hand waves after that!
- Watch the weather. We wanted to set up on July 4th before the fireworks, but it poured something awful. Instead, we set up during this very hot and humid afternoon, and many people stopped by.
I'm sure that even my cute, enthusiastic daughter couldn't have sold hot chocolate on such a day, though - the weather was perfectly suited for icy lemonade. So match your product to the event, the season, and the weather.
- End well. When we had packed up our belongings and returned home, my husband sat down with our kidpreneur. They counted out the money from her cash register and returned her starting change to her piggy bank. Then they worked to disperse the money as is proper.
First, she took out her tithe to take to church the next day.
Next, she chose an amount to pay her brother for his help.
Then she set an amount to add to her savings account for educational use someday.
Finally, she took the profit that was left over - still a very large percentage - and added it to her Disney fund. She's going to have quite the pocket money for mouse ears if she keeps this up!
Has your child run their own lemonade stand or similar business? What steps did s/he take to make it a success??