I have such fond memories of my childhood summers, growing up in small-town Michigan. Riding bike around the neighborhood with friends. Playing kickball at the local playground. And yes, the summer lemonade stand.
What’s better than a little money in your pocket at the end of a hot, summer day after sipping on cold lemonade and munching cookies your mom made just for the sale? (Yes, that should have been a lesson I learned, not to eat the product, but let’s move on…) For a kid growing up in the 80’s, lemonade stands played a role in our summertime joys.
3 Business Lessons from Lemonade Stands
Here’s what I learned from my glorious entrepreneur days of old:
1. Timing Is Everything
Who tries to sell lemonade in the middle of a Michigan winter? No one! And any 10 year old kid can tell you why. In order to sell your product, you need to know when your product is relevant. Lemonade? Not exactly suited for -30 degree weather. But sell it when it’s 80 degrees? Bingo! With lemonade as your product it’s pretty obvious, but unfortunately not all businesses utilize the concept of timing — especially when it comes to marketing.
Marketing your business – especially on social media— is actually a science of when and where to post. There are many tools out there, and if you’re running ads on Facebook, they will pretty much do it for you. When I first started planning social media content, I used The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Media, by Fast Company. The important take-away item is to find the best time to market your business, and begin a trial and error until you find what works best.
2. Know Your Audience
If you don’t know who your business is targeting, good luck becoming successful. With my lemonade stand I knew exactly who I was targeting – other kids (and their moms, who came with the money)! And I learned a very valuable lesson on how to get the biggest audience possible: Lemonade stand during the neighborhood garage sale.
This brought not only all the moms in the area, but their kids too! We always made a killing at our stand when we combined it with the garage sale. Why? Because we knew our audience and the best time to reach them. Business Nugget: Know your audience.
3. Never Underestimate ‘Word of Mouth’
We are so caught up these days in advertising, content marketing and social media. Yes, we need these channels to grow our business, but never, oh never underestimate the power of good old fashioned ‘word to mouth’. Lemonade stands pretty much thrive on word to mouth – and let’s be honest – it’s not like there’s a big radius to cover. But it does teach you one valuable lesson: It works! Kids will tell other kids, will tell other kids etc. etc.
The same goes true for your business. If you have a good product and service, don’t be surprised if people tell other people, tell other people – you get the idea. Word of mouth has been a factor for many successful businesses. But beware! The same rings true if you have a bad product or service (sometimes to an even higher degree). Bottom line? People will talk. Give them something good to talk about!
So don’t undervalue the lessons you learned from childhood. Many simple, everyday teachings can be turned into multi-million dollar business decisions. You just have to be ready and willing to use them!
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