2015 was our first year participating in Lemonade Day, and the boys had so much fun! In case you don’t know about it, Lemonade Day is a national program designed to teach kids about business and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. With help from the website, kids can create a business plan, pitch their idea, and design their lemonade business from the ground up. On the designated Saturday (this year it will be May 21), children around the country will set up their stands and sell their hearts out. Afterwards, children are encouraged to figure out their profits and donate a portion to a worthy cause. Beyond learning about profits and losses, start-up capital, and marketing, here are some of the things my 7 and 9 year old guys learned last year.
When serving customers, customer service is key. Being a kid offers you a lot of leeway, but the fact remains that if you aren’t friendly, customers are going to find somewhere else to do their business. Within in the first hour of manning their stand, my shy boys had to learn how to make eye contact and smile. They had to, there were many other stands available with kids that were just as cute and very nice.
Even when you’re a cute kid selling lemonade, nine times out of ten when you ask someone to buy something, they will say no. I was scared this whole experience would be hard on my kids. I thought they’d take the rejection too personally. Apparently, all the times they ignore my “NO”s has paid off for them, because they took every no in stride and kept right on asking more people to buy their lemonade.
Sometimes You Have to do Things that Make You Uncomfortable
Anyone who knows my Big Boy knows that it took years for him to talk to people. Not because of any developmental problems, just because he was shy and took that “don’t talk to strangers” thing a little too literally. As a young child, he was that kid that would just stare at you, sort of glaring, while you asked him if he liked dinosaurs (or trains, or superheroes, or whatever was on his shirt). At ten, he will now speak when spoken to, and he’ll converse just fine with his friends and family, but put him in a situation with adults he doesn’t know, and he’s not going to try to be the center of attention. Yet, that’s exactly what he did on Lemonade Day. He carried cups of lemonade to people sitting on benches and asked them if they’d like to purchase one. He did this not once but many times throughout the day. That would be hard for ME to do, but he chose to try his best and step out of his comfort zone.
Don’t Be Afraid to Get Loud
The early bird gets the worm, and the kid that brought a bullhorn got the customers. Competition is fierce, and you can’t be afraid to make yourself stand out. Let people know you’re there, even if that means dancing in a silly hat in front of the booth and guiding people to your stand.
Things Don’t Always Go Your Way
My boys’ booth, Speedy Lemonade, was one of eight chosen to set up on qualifications day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Do you know how HUGE that is? I mean, we’re talking Indianapolis in May. Race cars, checkered flags, and hot weather… nothing could be better than a nice cold glass of lemonade on a hot day while you’re enjoying Indianapolis’ favorite sport, right?? … Until it rains. And rains. And rains some more. It was freezing and we were soaked. Only the die-hard race fans showed up, and most of those didn’t last more than an hour. Maybe if we ran a rain poncho booth, we would have made money. As it is, the hundreds of dollars they’d been imagining they’d make actually ended up being…. $10. Ten. Dollars. That was their profit. I know I was disappointed, so how could they have possibly felt differently? And yet, they did. They were happy. No, they didn’t get to donate as much money as they’d hoped and they certainly didn’t get to blow anything on video games, but they were happy. Both boys loved their day at the track. They loved all the planning and making decorations. They walked away from this experience smiling and making plans for next year. There was no disappointment, just an acceptance that sometimes, things don’t work out. When that happens you learn from your mistakes and accept that some things are out of your control.
Lemonade Day was such a great learning experience for my kids, and they can’t wait to do it again this year! Be sure to visit the Lemonade Day Indianapolis site to register your kids’ booth as well as find many learning materials, fun games, and local events around the city for even more lemonade fun.