The “New” in Entrepreneur

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It’s official. The second generation of entrepreneurs is on the scene. Just ask our sweet, kind neighbors who got hustled into buying some lemonade yesterday.

I’d been putting it off all summer. The lemonade stand: the ultimate in cash positive  summertime fun. I had a million excuses. Everything from “We don’t have any lemons” to, “The little boys will run out into the street.” But yesterday Luke was at a friend’s house and Dean was taking a nap. Our two “big cousins” (7 and 10) were over and they were all looking for something to do.

“Can we please do a lemonade stand today? Please?”

The next thing I knew I was tracing out the word LEMONADE with a light pencil in big block letters onto poster board. They followed up with the markers. Then came the big decision: Price point. How much should they charge? They clamored for 50 cents a cup, but I thought that was a bit steep. We settled on a quarter per cup with one free refill.

We got out the card table, our new sign, some music (High School Musical soundtrack), and the camping chairs and waited for our first customers. We don’t live on a busy street. But don’t forget, we are talking about entrepreneurs here, and entrepreneurs don’t just sit around and wait for costumers to happen.

After about 30 seconds of waiting, they went back inside and made flyers. Then they hopped on their bikes and scooters to spread the word. They knocked on our neighbors’ doors (only the neighbors we knew) and told them about their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have the most fantabulous glass of lemonade this side of the Mississippi!

“Lemonade! Lemonade for sale! 25 cents a cup!!”

Bless their hearts, the neighbors came. The adults bought and the neighbor kids stayed. One trio of sisters even brought their dog with them and Andy insisted he be the official Lemonade Stand Mascot, so they ran home and brought back a big bag of licorice to sell as well.

When one neighbor tossed in a couple of extra nickels as a tip, the light bulb in Andy’s brain turned on. Tips? He ran into the house and emerged again with a bowl and a construction paper sign that read “TIPS.” Then, (and this is my favorite part of the story) he padded the tip bowl. With no training or coaching at all, he threw some spare change into the bowl, turned to me and said, “When people see lots of money in here, they’ll feel like they need to tip, get it?”

Oh, I get it. You have no idea how well I get it…

By the end of the afternoon they cleared enough money to go buy slushies at the corner gas station. A fine reward after pushing lemonade all day in the hot sun.

Now, if they could just save up enough money for a slushie machine for next year, 2011’s profit projection would be off the chart!

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