The Lemonade Stand: A Fun Idea for Little Businesspeople
By: Elizabeth A. Phelps
As summer arrives, parents and children look forward to long days of free time and creative activities. One of these healthy educational activities of summer — creating a lemonade stand — is an experience that will affect kids for a lifetime.
Jon Levingston, executive director of the Clarksdale/Coahoma Chamber of Commerce, thinks the old-fashioned lemonade stand is the perfect way for children and young people to learn about customer service and public relations, make money, and — perhaps most important — have a good time.
Levingston knows a lot about the benefits of lemonade stands.
“At age eight, my youngest daughter wanted a cherry red Fender Telecaster electric guitar,” he explained. “The guitar cost $300 and included an amplifier. I suggested she try to earn the money by operating a lemonade stand just off our local golf course during a tournament.”
He said she earned enough to buy the guitar, amplifier and case.
“She is now 14, continues to play the guitar, and earns spending money by appearing at restaurants, events and music festivals,” he said. “From her initial experience, she learned the value of setting a goal, working hard to achieve that goal, and reaping the rewards from her effort.”
The humble lemonade stand does, indeed, provide experiences that build lives. Levingston is also quick to point out that activities that require critical thinking and communication skills can be quite productive for children.
“Operating a lemonade stand, or anything similar, is a great opportunity for parents to set up an activity in which a child may experience acquiring inventory, selling the inventory, and engaging customers,” he said. “The parent and child can set goals that may or may not be achieved, such as how much inventory to sell, what kind of markup may be charged, and how much money may be earned.”
Parents will naturally want to monitor the safety of their children when selling anything to the public.
Children can also make bracelets, necklaces, or even artwork, and sell the items at stands made from simple card tables. Selling anything can be fun, and pulling in customers is exciting and encourages future efforts. Moms and dads can do their part by calling friends and neighbors to come by to boost business if things are slow.
A great resource for encouraging a child to earn money and learn about starting a business is the website for Lemonade Day, at LemonadeDay.org. It’s a national non-profit program hosting lemonade stand events and activities in cities across the U.S. The website offers tons of information on encouraging kids to be entrepreneurs, so be sure to visit before starting out on this new adventure with your child.
Lemonade stand tips from LemonadeDay.org:
• Location, Location, Location!
Make sure there is enough traffic that passersby will see the stand. Good spots are public parks and in front of businesses (make sure to get permission first, wherever the stand is located!)
• Diversify What is Offered
Give some choices. How about different flavors of lemonade? How about different sizes of cups?
• Customer Service Matters
Before opening for business, practice “customer service” with your child. Work with your child on making eye contact with customers, being polite, and having an enthusiastic attitude.
• Have Fun!
If it’s fun, your child will be more likely to want to continue as an entrepreneur.
Elizabeth A. Phelps was raised on the Gulf Coast. She is a writer, speaker, teacher and youth program facilitator. She has won awards for writing and inspirational youth programming using the arts.