Fresh Squeezed Entrepreneurs

Now that summer is upon us and the school year is coming to a close, do not be surprised to see neighborhood children setting up shop on street corners trying to sell you a cup of fresh squeezed lemonade.

More and more children are using the opportunity to run a lemonade stand as a means of learning valuable lessons about business and finance. If your children are anything like mine, their first venture with a lemonade stand may result in an empty cash register and a sugar-high as they consume the lemonade while sitting in the hot sun waiting for a customer.

Or maybe they will give a *discount* to their friends and end up without any money at the end of the day. But as they experiment with the lemonade stand, they will begin to learn that they cannot consume all of the product themselves if they want to make any money at the end of the day.

One very valuable lesson to be learned in running a lemonade stand is the importance of location. I’ve witnessed the neighborhood kids set up a stand in a location where not a single car or person walking by will stop to purchase a cup and I have seen the kids select a location where the traffic is ideal and they run out of lemonade in no time at all.

When I was a kid in junior high and high school, I had quite the booming business of selling Blow-Pops to my classmates. This was shortly after Sam’s Club stores had opened in our area and I took advantage of my parent’s membership to buy the bulk size boxes of Blow-Pops for about $12 if I remember correctly.

I’d purchase a few boxes of suckers and sell them to the kids at school. It was rather surprising at first as I wondered why the kids did not just go and buy their own box of suckers, as I was making a handsome profit. From what I remember, I sold the Blow-Pops for $0.25 each or 5 for $1.00. After selling suckers for awhile, I began to realize that certain flavors were preferred and began to sell those at a premium and the money continued to roll in day after day.

While I didn’t earn a ton of money in this entrepreneurial endeavor, I do believe that I learned valuable lessons that have served me well throughout life.

The next time you see a few kids that have taken the effort to set up a lemonade stand, make an effort to stop by and purchase a cup or two. It is very gratifying to think that your simple transaction with these kids could very well be planting the seed for some of our country’s future entrepreneurs. And if nothing else, you should feel rewarded just by the pure excitement from the kids as they earn a little bit of money.

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6 Responses

  1. Erik Karey says:

    Wow selling blow-pops in middle school, great idea. I wish I had the business prowess when I was that young. Nice post.

    • mnc says:

      It was a nice little money maker for awhile, although the school began to crack down on it and eventually had a rule against selling candy during school. My business was probably hurting their fundraising activities!

  2. Chris Gray says:

    My son “opened up” a lemonade stand last summer right after we moved in to our new home. Our house is on the corner of a four-way stop and gets a decent amount of traffic. I kid you not, in one Saturday he made close to $30. It was amazing to see the excitement on his face at the end of the day as he counted his earnings. He talked about his experience for weeks. Since then he has come up with numerous ideas (from selling “books” he has written to setting up an outdoor movie showing for the neighbors).

    I totally agree…the lessons learned early in life may very well “plant the seed” for future endeavors. For that reason I try to encourage his ideas no matter how “crazy” they may seem.

    • mnc says:

      Chris, thanks for sharing those stories about your son. He sounds a lot like my oldest son who has been drafting his own Lego magazine to provide tips and lessons to his friends on building custom Lego designs.

      I’ve been thinking of setting him up with his own website to reach more people than just his friends but that is still a work in progress.

      As you said, it is important to encourage children to pursue ideas and continue thinking creatively.

    • Derrich says:

      Similar to my childhood location…4-way stop, baby! 🙂 I’m all for kids doing this. And definitely stop when you see one. it goes a long way.

  3. I also sold Blow Pops at a middle school in California. It was a great money maker.

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