By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
7/10/2012 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Freedom and entrepreneurship are quintessential parts of the American success story. A student of history will observe that most of the founding fathers were businessmen. Naturally, it follows they would establish a capitalistic society that would be amicable to business. Children need to be prepared for that society, and as soon as they're old enough to count, they're old enough to start learning about business.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Today's summer solution is to build a lemonade stand (or some other similar concept). Hopefully your children can earn a few dollars while learning important lessons about entrepreneurship.
Note this activity will require adult supervision since children will be interacting with the community at large.
1. Decide who will be in on the project, will it just be your child or children, or will you include kids from the neighborhood or parish?
2. Create a business plan. This can be done any time before you start, but it should be done. Kids must learn that a successful business has a plan and sticks to it. Make all the important decisions in advance.
How will the lemonade be made? Will you use real lemons or powder?
Where will you put the stand?
How will the stand be constructed?
How much will you charge?
Who will take down the stand and close the business at the end of the day?
How will the profits be shared?
Who will handle each responsibility?
As you answer each question, encourage kids to do their own math and operate on a budget.
3. A budget for the project is important. Kids will quickly see that for a few dollars more they can enhance the project in some way. They must learn to make decisions based on limited resources. Fund the budget by either "investing" the money and expecting a return on the investment, or by allowing the kids to invest their own money from their savings. Or a blend of both. The lesson here is that it takes money to make money and any money borrowed has a cost.
4. Allow kids to take as much ownership as possible. Let them buy the product and make as many decisions as appropriate. Watch carefully for mistakes such as overspending or incorrect measures in preparation of the product. Use your judgment when to intervene. It's okay to allow a small mistake as long as it's not a show-stopper. Mistakes are part of learning, but should never be allowed to ruin a child's endeavor. Remember, you want to inspire a love of business, and "gotcha" moments and tough lessons will have the opposite effect on kids.
5. Construction of the stand can be quite simple. A mere table with a sign will do. If possible put the stand in a shaded area. This will help keep kids and product cool. Also, make sure you choose a high traffic area, if possible. Putting the stand in front of your house will generate virtually no traffic. Consider a neighborhood park or beach area. A local store may also allow you to set up on their premises with the fair-natured stipulation that you will buy your supplies from there. Your parish church may also allow you to set up a stand on a Saturday or Sunday. If so, you may want to consider donating a portion of the profits to a cause at the church. Doing so may also help generate support from the parish community. Just make sure you have permission.
6. Make a bright and cheery sign to attract attention.
7. This is a good time to teach kids how to "hustle." Don't let the verb scare you! Any successful businessperson knows there is an art to making a sale. Some good-natured folks will approach on their own accord; others might have to be attracted. Swinging a sign, cheering, and simply offering refreshments to passers by all work to generate business. Do not chase people down, ever; that is bad business and will drive many people away. Also, if enough money is available up front, or if you have access to fresh fruit, you may want to offer other items in addition such as apples or cookies to the lemonade. Plain, cold water is also a way to generate a sale for folks who don't want lemonade.
8. Learn about rejection. Part of the hustle is the rejection. If a customer declines, be polite, and invite them to try a different offering if you have one. Otherwise, say thank you and focus on the next sale. Never be rude, even if the customer is rude!
9. Have a few friends drop by. Not only will it boost your kid's morale and coffers, it will also pique the interest of others in the area. This is a common business tactic to drive adoption of a product. When people see others taking advantage of something, they tend to be more likely to try it as well. That applies to everything from iPads to lemonade.
10. It's okay to put out a tip jar.
12. Be aware of a couple caveats. First, kids need supervision when handling money. Discipline is important. Teach them how to accurately count back change, how to sort the money, and if the stand is profitable how to do a "cash drop." A cash drop is moving larger chunks of money into a secure location, usually a safe. In this case, as funds accumulate, take a portion and put them away safely. An adult's purse or wallet or somewhere indoors should be adequate, just don't lose track!
Also, local ordinances may regulate lemonade stands. It's unlikely your kids will have a license and a health-inspector's sign off. Despite the legalities, virtually everybody should turn a blind eye to a lemonade stand. However, if kids are obnoxious or rude, an extreme case can develop where someone complains. If an authority approaches, you want to make sure the area is clean and well kept. Offer free lemonade to local law enforcement (it doesn't hurt to put a sign out with the offering). This should keep the operation safe for the day. In any case, make sure your kids understand that you must comply with local law. If the stand becomes a regular fixture, it will eventually be scrutinized and probably shut down. This activity is not suggested as a long-term project.
13. At the end of the day, after all the cleanup is done, make sure that any profits are distributed fairly. An adult is essential to oversee this process, otherwise kids can develop conflicts.
14. If the business "fails" it's okay. Ask kids why they think it failed and come up with ideas to try again. Also, there are other ideas besides a lemonade stand that will work. Ice cream, cookies, a bake sale, bottled drinks, all these ideas can substitute for lemonade. If a lemonade stand won't do, consider a different business idea. Mowing lawns, raking leaves, washing cars, are all good ideas too.
Good luck, and happy sales!
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