Thursday, July 18, 2019

Make Time for Lemonade

It was steamy hot this weekend in Minneapolis. The blow-up pool was out on the back lawn 24/7, Saturday required a morning and evening shower, and I thought maybe if I buzzed my head things would be better.

In the midst of this rainforest weather, my young daughters (3 and 5) ran a lemonade stand in the front yard. As I watched over their business operations, it occurred to me: a lemonade stand provides a perfect introduction to entrepreneurship.

Now our kids had it easy as my wife and I did not demand repayment for the costs of their inventory or require a lien on their toys, but they still sold product, served customers, and practiced counting their precious coins (and bills in some cases from generous customers). More importantly, they gained self-esteem and inspiration to plan more for next time.

Meanwhile, the older (9) girl next door stepped it up a notch with a friend. They bought their own supplies (lemons, cups, napkins, sparkling water, watermelon, and cookies) and established a posh stand down on a busy street and, as they say, made bank. Lemonade was 75 cents, but you could make it sparkling for 25 cents more. Want a cookie or slice of watermelon to go with it? That’s another 50 or 75 cents, respectively.

I am sure that one day my daughters’ lemonade game will rise to that level, and when it does they will learn more fundamental entrepreneurial skills such as setting profit goals, making a budget, repaying investors (e.g., mom and/or dad), marketing (e.g., a post to Nextdoor), saving/reinvesting, and sales.

It turns out that I’m not alone in this thinking because there is actually a community-wide, educational initiative called Lemonade Day and various communities around the country have joined in on the fun in an official capacity to empower today’s youth to be tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. The premise is to teach kids how to start, own, and operate their own business. You can check it out at  

So the next time you see that little lemonade stand on a street corner, make sure you stop for a cup. You will be supporting our youngest entrepreneurs.

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