If you have an ambitious child seeking his/her first business venture via a lemonade stand, here are 10 tips (all learned by us last week) that might also make your stand a success.
1. Opt for fresh squeezed
If you've going to make lemonade, really make lemonade. The instant stuff is off limits here. This gives your child a chance to see what's really involved in the process of making a drink, and it's something he can play a part in creating. I love this easy recipe, which uses powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar—it's easier to mix, and it leaves no sugary sludge at the bottom of the cups.
· 1 ½ cups freshly-squeezed juice (about 5-6 large lemons)
· 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
· 8 cups water
Mix the three ingredients well and serve over ice.
2. Buy ingredients on sale or with coupons
Target has been releasing $1 mobile produce coupons this summer, which would be great for lemons. Buying lemons in a bulk bag (3 pounds at my store) can also be a cost-saving technique over single-item purchases. Be sure to weigh bags before you select one for purchasing to get an extra 1/4-1/2 pound free. Dixie Crystals and Domino sugar are two companies which routinely provide coupons for their sugar varieties, including powdered. See available coupons here.
3. Stock accessories
Do you have enough cups? Enough ice (we nearly ran out because I didn't plan for this)? Would you like to offer straws? Have your child consider these inventory items for the stand and assemble accordingly.
4. Consider a drive-thru
My son's stand at the end of the driveway was just close enough to our residential street to allow customers to drive up, roll down their windows, and place their order without leaving their vehicles (but still placed far enough back to be safe). Because it was so convenient, some customers stopped who may not have if they’d had to get out of their cars.
5. Set a cheap price
My son sold 8 ounce plastic cups for 25 cents each, and this Walmart-style business philosophy (keeping prices low and hoping to sell lots of inventory to make a profit) worked! A quarter was a small commitment on the part of the customer, and it was easy for my son to count and collect. A low price even encouraged surprise tips from customers who thought we should have charged more!
6. Establish ground rules
Before any venture in which a kid takes charge, there needs to be ground rules. Will the stand stay in business for a certain length of time? What role will Mom play? Will the child have to reimburse for supplies? Establishing these before the money rolls in will prevent surprises after the stand closes.
7. Discuss a cause
Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation helps raise money through stands for childhood cancer. Your child might enjoy this outreach opportunity, and it provides an age-appropriate way to discuss the power of giving. Learn more about helping, get lemonade stand tips, print color pages and more here.
8. Make signage
This is the fun part for the kiddos. Think of repurposing old materials for new signs: the back of a poster board, an old political yard sign which could be recovered in brown paper, or a garage sale sign which could be turned around. Have them decorate not only a sign for the stand but perhaps another for the end of the driveway, the end of the block, or the entrance to the neighborhood.
9. Find the right time
Consider traffic and pedestrian trends in your neighborhood to decide if a Saturday morning stand (perhaps in conjunction with neighbors' garage sales?) would be best or if something later in the day would attract more customers. My son's stand from 5-7 p.m. on a Saturday evening was at the perfect time. The customers sure were thirsty after the heat of a long day!
10. Capture the moment
Whether through a series of photographs, a scrapbook page, or a journal entry, you'll want a way to remember your child's first business venture—and your child will, too. So don't forget to record your little entrepreneur's venture in some way.
Lemonade stands are quintessential to the summer experience. With a little planning, you and your child can have fun with the experience, hopefully earning a fair amount of cash along the way!