Many of us were entrepreneurs at a young age. We babysat, mowed lawns, delivered papers, walked dogs, washed cars or ran a lemonade stand. Success as the result of work meant pocket money…and a feeling of confidence and satisfaction. Not to mention the respect of peers…and parents.
When you think about it, most of the concepts learned by running — and marketing— any of these “businesses” prepares one for the workforce and for many, to some day own their own business.
As a young entrepreneur, you identified and satisfied the wants and needs of your target customer.
Let’s take the lemonade stand as a good example of how an entrepreneurial business evolves:
- You see a need: it’s hot and people are thirsty
- You provide a product to meet that need: lemonade
- You brand your lemonade: “ice cold,” “fresh squeezed,” “Mama’s Recipe”
- Location, location, location: you set up your stand on a busy street corner with excellent visibility and no immediate competition
- Your price point is acceptable to your clientele, covers your expenses and allows for a profit
- There’s an opportunity for the upsell: a large lemonade is twice the price but much bigger (and more thirst-quenching!) than the regular
- You offer ancillary products: chocolate chip cookies, brownies and potato chips
- Marketing your product includes researching packaging businesses, “store” signage, posters on telephone polls, flyers distributed around the neighborhood, or even you hawking your wares to walkers, bicyclists and motorists. Hey — why not?
Tip: Passion is contagious. Convey enthusiasm for your product or service and customers will likely buy.
- You keep costs down (maybe your mom and dad even provided the raw materials) by sourcing low-cost ingredients and serving disposables, making your own signage, distributing posters and flyers and building your own stand
- Labor costs are reasonable — you’re a small business owner who does it all…and reaps the benefits
- You add a benefit to buying your product: fundraising. Besides customers being thirsty, they probably like to help out kids in their endeavor. Pledge to donate a portion of your proceeds to a local or online charity and increase your product “likeability” and potentially, your sales.
As a bonus, hopefully you’ve found that running a lemonade stand is fun: you had a vision and realized it, met new people, pleased those people by offering a delicious, quality product and ended the day at a profit.
Comments? Would love to hear from you:
Did you “run” a business as a youngster?
What lessons did you learn from that business that you apply to your work today?
If you knew then what you know now…how would that have made a difference?
Ready to set up shop? Contact Martha. Martha Spelman is a Los Angeles-based small business branding and marketing expert. She is the author of The Cure for Blogophobia: How to Easily Create, Publish & Promote Your Business Blog.