My daughter, Elaina, definitely has the entrepreneurial spirit. When the weather gets warm, she can’t wait to get outside and sell lemonade or candy to the neighbors. Her Daisy troop participated in the National Lemonade Day in May, a free, community-wide initiative powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, and locally here in Indianapolis by entrepreneur Scott Jones (Indianapolis.lemonadeday.org). I love that this annual event teaches young children how to start, own and run their own businesses. Perhaps one of these young stand owners will be one of the next great visionaries?
What can a lemonade stand teach us about our businesses? These are some things that I noted along the way that may help you and your business sell more and get noticed:
Location Remains Key to Success: Choosing a great location is one of the best ways to bring in drive-by or walk-through customers. Elaina’s Daisy troop selected Lowe’s Home Improvement of Brownsburg for their lemonade stand location, hoping to catch thirsty do-it-yourselfers in the midst of home improvement projects or gardening and planting. As a retail or service-based business, having a location in the heart of town can make a difference in getting customers in the door, so choose wisely. Where can your business have the most impact? Whether it’s an advertisement or a tradeshow opportunity, find the perfect location for reaching your ideal customer base.
- Perfect Timing: We choose mid-morning to early afternoon for the store hours of the lemonade stand. This was the best opportunity to reach customers during the peak buying hours of Lowe’s on a Saturday. With the event in mid-May, we hoped that weather would cooperate and that it would be the ideal temperature for customers to visit the store. When your business is hosting an open-house, educational workshop or other celebration, think about your customers: Do they live/work nearby, or will they need to travel from work/school to get there? Is there a more convenient time to schedule the event so as to not interfere with other business or community events in the area? Do your fact-checking before your event to ensure greater success. And when it comes to mailings, e-mailings or social media marketing, try to time your release of information when your customers are most likely to read them.
- Advertising and Promotion: While the Daisy Troop did not have funds to advertise in local newspapers, we were able to submit our booth information to local papers who were covering the event. We also did some advanced promotion on Facebook and Twitter (through parent accounts) prior to the event, as well as during the event. We emailed family members and friends who might be able to attend that day, inviting them to come out and support the troop. Through the Indianapolis Lemonade Day website, we were able to create our own lemonade stand website and location to announce our stand location, items for sale, and pricing. Are you effectively using advertising and PR to promote your business? Are you reaching out to customers for referrals and assistance in promoting? If not, there are many ways to go about doing that, at an affordable cost or investment of your time.
Working for a Cause: When your business is a known supporter of a community organization or cause, it can help boost your company’s reputation in the community and may enhance your sales efforts. In the case of the lemonade stand, half of the troop’s proceeds went toward a local animal shelter, and the other half was used for troop donations and activities for the Daisy Scouts. Who can you support in the community with your products, services or volunteerism?
- Attract Attention with Signage and Decorations: The lemonade stand had prominent signage (created by the Daisy Scouts), with details on what they were selling, costs, and the benefiting organization. The individuals working the booth dressed in yellow and decorated themselves and the booth with yellow flowers, sunglasses and hats to fit the lemonade theme. Is your business easily recognizable with exterior signage, logo-wrapped fleet vehicles, or logoed business shirts and attire? If not, you’re missing out on opportunities to stand out.
These are just a few ideas gleaned from a lemonade stand. If a grade-school kid can do it for her business, so can you! The concepts are simple, but they work.
And if you’re thirsty for more, find a local lemonade stand and support those young entrepreneurs in your community!