The arrival of summer also means the classic Norman-Rockwell-type neighborhood lemonade stand will soon be popping up on street corners. Neighborhood kids will craft their homemade signs and carefully arrange the paper cups, cold pitchers of homemade lemonade and money jars on table tops. I don’t know about you, but most of the children in my neighborhood do pretty well with their little businesses – on a hot summer day they can make more than their weekly allowance in just a few hours.
So, this got me thinking about how these pint-size entrepreneurs can remind us grown-ups about the fundamentals of running a business.
1. Location, Location, Location. Have you noticed that the busiest lemonade stands are usually on a busy corner or the main entry to the neighborhood? That just reinforces one business basic: location. In today’s busy marketplace, the adage “if you build it, they will come” isn’t always the case. More appropriate is the saying, “if you build it in the right place, they will come.” Paying close attention to your neighbors, traffic flow, and parking can add to the value – and popularity – of your business.
2. Service with a Smile. Let’s “face” it: It makes you feel good when you do “business” with a kid that’s genuinely excited about your patronage and smiles when they hand you that cup of lemonade. Same goes for any business – good customer service is one of the main ingredients for customer retention and brand advocacy. So the next time you’re dealing with a customer, imagine yourself as the kid on the corner with his lemonade stand and get back to the basics of customer relations 101.
3. Strategic advertising. I once saw a lemonade stand located at the entrance to the public beach access with a sign reading, “last stop before the beach.” What a great tactic to draw in customers before they get situated on the beach for the day. I’ve also noticed that with every stand, the signs are pretty simple – straight to the point, often with just a price or unique value proposition like “freshly squeezed” or “best in the neighborhood!” The messaging in your advertising should do the same by honing in on what makes your business different, special and relevant.
Lastly, I came across an article about this smart boy who created a lemonade stand that he turned into quite a successful business. Hopefully you’ll find it as motivating as I did.
Turns out children have a lot of wisdom-not just about business, but life in general! Don’t you agree? What type of entrepreneurial adventure did you engage in as a kid?