Observations at a Lemonade Stand

Innocence, much like a glass of lemonade, is pure bliss. Beyond that, it can teach a crazy entrepreneur and creative such as myself a lesson – or reminder – or two. In this case, I put together a list of 5 little reminders after watching my 6 year-old Gavin work his magic at a lemonade stand down the shore.

Enthusiasm (and Impatience) Rules. “Let’s go find some customers!” were the first words Gavin said after the little card table was set up. There was no doubt, no fear, no hesitation as he knocked on doors within a half-block of our spot. When there wasn’t a line of customers, he’d go back out screaming his battle cry.

The Post-Sale Sale. “Great choice guys!” were his pat-on-the-back words after kids chose one flavor or another of a lollipop. I have never told a new client “great choice,” many times getting too caught up in diving right in and kicking off a project. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a figurative high-five after your business has been chosen to bring it home for a client.

Accentuating the Positive. “Look how great I’m doing!” he would yell to any new customer as he held up the plastic cup of dollar bills or an almost empty bottle of lemonade. How often have you been at a networking event and when asked, “How’s business?” You avoid the temptation to say anything too effusive for fear of looking like a blowhard? I know in my case, my typical response is a “pretty good” as if lightening may strike in the event I say, “we’re having a great year.” Maybe time to put pride before humility. Positive attracts positive after all.

Having Fun. The kid had an absolute blast selling that yellow magic, getting the cups out, pouring it, holding out the cup of lollipops, greeting people who came up, and thanking them. We all have one aspect of the business we love more than another, but maybe it’s time to celebrate all of the nuances that make a business run, and ultimately attract employees to celebrate those details with you.

Timing is Everything. Who wouldn’t want a little refreshing lemonade on a hot summer day when the “owner” of said stand is so enthusiastic about his product and a new customer’s presence? Sure, not everyone may want your product even when forces should be aligning, but why let that dampen your enthusiasm for loving what you do – every day – and as always, when someone may not want to “invest” in your lemonade, keep pouring, keep smiling, and keep having fun as you look for that next lucky customer.

– P. Madden, Top Cat