Monday, August 18, 2008

Learning from young entrepreneurs

There has been a flurry of activity in front of my house. My budding 7 year old entrepreneur has been selling lemonade for 3 days straight. Yesterday, he added "cuffins" to his sales (chocolate chip cookies made in mini muffin tins).

There are lessons we can learn from such young entrepreneurs:

1) Find your price and stick to it. With flocks of children trying to get E to lower his price, he held strong. Even I find it hard not to give my products away sometimes or give huge discounts.

2) Give samples. E gave out little sips to entice his customers.

3) Raise prices when necessary. E found that he needed to raise his price today to $.25/dixie cup. When I asked him why, since the price was $.15/dixie cup yesterday, he said it was because he didn't have many more dixie cups. He was so matter of fact and comfortable with his decision.

4) Put yourself out there. E announced himself and his product to each person passing. He didn't sit back and expect his customers to just show up.

5) Be tenacious. E sits at the end of our driveway, under an umbrella, for hours at a time. There are moments when I look out and no one is around. He still sits patiently for his next customer.

6) Delegate and ask for help. Okay, it would be hard for E to have this stand without my help (making the lemonade and cuffins, and setting up). But, he hounds me to do it and sits back as I make it happen. I have to hand it to him. I tend to do everything myself and never ask for help.

7) Take what you do seriously. E gets frustrated when he feels like someone is trying to take advantage of him. Again, he sticks to his guns. This isn't just fun and games to him.

8) Be a good bookkeeper. Okay, I wouldn't suggest piling up your coins by denomination as E has done each night. But keeping a record of sales, inventory, profits, loss, etc. is very important.

9) Re-evaluate your product. E started out selling rocks. It seems there isn't a big market for rocks these days. So, he quickly changed his product to lemonade and cuffins.

10) Embrace the reason behind your venture. I'll be honest, E isn't making a profit. I'm not going to tell him that. He is only making a few dollars a day. But, he is doing this for his own enjoyment. I like that he is learning about sales, communication, and work. In my business, I may be making a little profit, but not enough to make millions. I do what I do mostly because I love it.

All kidding aside, I get a big kick out of seeing my kids put their ideas into action. I look at their excitement and I'm inspired. Didn't we all start with a lemonade stand?

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