What Small Business Can Learn From a Kid’s Lemonade Stand

The basics behind a successful lemonade stand don’t require a rocket scientist to figure out: buy cups, make lemonade, paint a few signs, sell more than it cost to make, and voila! A 7-year-old entrepreneur is turning a profit in no time.  Surely, the adult business venture isn’t that simple, but remembering the basics of running a business like the tried and true lemonade stand is an important requirement for success.

  • Focus on your local market.  Decide what exactly your local customers’ needs are, and cater to those first.  If you were running a lemonade stand you would need to consider the demographic when deciding when to conduct your business.  For the parents and kids coming home in the early afternoon from a morning baseball practice or beach outing, marketing your stand for a lunch rush would make perfect sense.  For the working parents who just finished a long commute from the office, an additional set of early evening hours would be beneficial as well.
  • Know when to adjust.  Even if your business is pulling in profits, it is important to know when it is appropriate to invest more money and when to pull back.  After a lucrative summer and early fall lemonade stand season, it would probably be ill-advised to buy more supplies for a larger lemonade output just as the colder weather moves in.  The demand will be much lower, which will make it more difficult to turn a profit.  A smart idea would be to hold off until the warmer weather returns.  Does your business have a slower time of the year, month, or week?  Use your busier times to prepare for lags and don’t sink money into it when you’re unlikely to see a return anytime soon.
  • Be an aggressive advertiser.  Budding entrepreneurs don’t simply wait for cars to drive by their stands.  They can be seen with their friends and parents on street corners throughout the whole neighborhood holding large, colorful signs and loudly announcing their businesses as their neighbors drive past.  Furthermore, 21st century kids are using their social media presence to generate customers.  Take a lesson from their spirited advertising and get your name and face out there.  And just like those kids standing on street corners, don’t be afraid to enlist the help of friends and family to put in a good word about you in their own circles.
  • Offer exceptional customer service.  Have you ever stopped at a kid’s lemonade stand?  Those adorable faces, those winning smiles, and those polite “Thank you’s” and “Come again soon’s” are enough to make anyone a repeat customer.  Make your customers feel special and important by showing them that you truly appreciate them patronizing your business.  Outstanding customer service goes a long way through word of mouth that will bring you repeat business and new clients alike.
  • Sell a high-quality product.  For as much time and effort as setting up a lemonade stand can be for a child, it would all be for naught if he or she just put some powder mix in a pitcher of water and called it a day.  Many successful children have a special, and often secret, recipe that they work hard to perfect for their business.  You should be doing the same for your product or service.  Consider what your competitors are offering, and make sure yours is a step above the rest.  This will make your business stand out and turn potential customers into frequent ones.

Did you have a lemonade stand or other business venture as a kid?  What did you learn from it that you still use in your business today?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!