What A Few Elementary Students Can Teach You About Business

Lemonade Day 2016

Back in May of 2016, my son participated in an event called Lemonade Day. On Lemonade Day, children all across the United States setup booths to sell and serve lemonade. The event is designed to help students learn and appreciate the skills necessary for running a small business. The event is put on by Junior Achievement, an organization aimed at teaching entrepreneurship to K-12 students.

During this year’s event, I witnessed a shift in my son where he began to understand who he was as an individual and how he could be a value to those around him. I’m not sure if you are born an entrepreneur, but you can certainly learn to be one if you can encourage yourself to do so.

My son was one of 4 boys who created their small business. Their business was named Concord Lemonade, after their elementary school. To these boys, they weren’t just representing themselves, but all of the students at their school.

I was approached by my son’s teacher, as both a parent and owner of a marketing company, to sponsor the kids’ business. I was more than happy to help my son and his fellow students understand their business, product, service, and what it meant to the group who would be interested in purchasing from them.

Knowing that their booth would be one of hundreds of lemonade stands throughout the county, I explained that creativity is the key to separate themselves from the others. It was also important to symbolize their own interests and the interests of their audience to become unique, yet identifiable.

From their new found knowledge of marketing and identity, we coined the name “LemonFury” as their product name, which was themed and visualized through super heroes and super powers. This was certainly an idea that the boys could get behind and commit themselves to sharing and promoting.

After our meeting, I spent an afternoon preparing marketing assets and materials based upon the notes we took during our official business meeting. My company, Mediaryte, was able to donate a logo, website, a flyer, and a small advertising campaign for the purpose of communicating the event and their mission to help a local nonprofit with a percentage of their profits earned on the big day.

Concord Lemonade’s LemonFury

The Big Day

When the day finally arrived, the boys’ families and teacher, Mrs. Shetler, all met at a fellow group sponsor’s location, Sharpline Autos, to setup their booth and begin selling lemonade at 8AM. Now you may or may not know this, but lemonade is not an easy sell that early in the day, especially a Saturday. However, as the morning passed, more traffic began to stop in to enjoy the flavors of LemonFury.

Many of the boy’s extended families showed up to contribute to their budding small business, which is fairly typical and expected for a group of 8-year-olds. However, their spirit was able to get many of the adults involved as well in promoting the business.

Many stood by the road waving their hands at drivers passing by, holding up signs, and dancing on the sidewalk. As more people stopped by to have a sip of lemonade, a cookie, and chat with friends, the larger the crowd grew. Now, where there is a crowd, there is bound to be something happening, and the sight of so many people around a small lemonade stand brought more attention and more customers.

Once the dust settled and the Concord Lemonade closed up shop at 2PM, the boys and their representatives made their way back to their classroom to go over their sales, tips, and donations from the day. In all the boys brought in more than $600 for the morning, that is over $100 an hour for a lemonade stand – not bad!

The boys were quite proud of themselves and their hard work. I know for a fact that the parents were quite proud as well.

A Big Surprise

During the week following Lemonade Day, my wife received word from our son’s teacher that our son and his fellow classmates had been invited to come to the county’s Junior Achievement banquet celebrating this year’s Lemonade Day. A few weeks later, our family attended the banquet to see what it was all about.

That morning, we learned that our team of young entrepreneurs had been selected as the winner of the county’s Lemonade Day event – we had no idea there was a contest! It was certainly the icing on the cake.

“It was fun promoting the brand, LemonFury, by the road as super heroes with super powers.”Caden Risse

The 4 boys were taken up on stage and given awards, as well as a winner’s purse, which they split evenly among themselves. What an amazing morning of praise and celebration for a group of young small business owners.

But, it wasn’t over just yet.

Because the boys had done so well for Lemonade Day, they had been invited to setup shop in the heart of downtown Elkhart, Indiana for the 2016 Elkhart Jazz Festival. Better yet, it was only 10 days away!

Lemonade & Jazz

The Jazz Festival came quickly, and luckily everyone was ready. Since this was the group’s second time around, everyone was a bit more prepared and knew what to expect. The boys were also able to pickup several more sponsors for their lemonade stand, which gave them encouragement and evidence that they were doing something important for their school, community, families, and most importantly, themselves.

The boys received media attention from the local TV station, radio, and newspapers, as well as from the county’s Junior Achievement. The group was no longer representing just their class, but the entire county as well.

The 4 young businessmen were granted a prime spot for serving up lemonade right in the center of all the action for the festival. The booth also grew for the event to serve a larger crowd and keep participants shaded during the extended hours of operation.

On the second night of the event, the boys had the opportunity to come up on one of the stages to speak to a large audience of jazz fans about their small business and Lemonade Day. Immediately following their stage appearance, the line at the booth was filled with people thirsty for lemonade.

All in all, the boys ending up making over $1,000 from the event, which increased their gross revenue to nearly $1,800 since the launch of their small business.

Giving Back

After the whirlwind of lemonade sales, the boys were able to spend a little, save a little, and give a little. Part of the Lemonade Day program is to teach youth about the importance of budgeting, selling, saving and giving back. Each of the boys had in mind the one thing they wanted to purchase for themselves, but they collectively had picked a non-profit organization to donate funds to.

On a beautiful day this past summer, the boys were able to visit their chosen charity to present a donation check. LoveWay is a therapeutic horseback riding organization helping children with needs. The boys wanted to give to this organization because of a fellow classmate who attended the program. The boys received a tour of the grounds, were able to ask many questions, and had the opportunity to meet many of the horses in the stable.

Looking Back

With Lemonade Day now in the past, my son is looking forward to using his new found skills of marketing and promotion to start his own small business. He has been tossing around ideas of what his product or service might be, but one thing is for certain, he wants to be an entrepreneur. This dad is certainly proud.

The Lemonade Day program was a great opportunity for all involved and a missing component of public education. The skills necessary to be a successful small business owner and entrepreneur are not always apparent. Through nurturing, education, training, and discipline, with the aid of the Junior Achievement program, the next generation of entrepreneurs have a bright future.

Lemonade in 2017

Lemonade Day is an annual event happening all across the country. Each region may have a different schedule, but I encourage you to find your local date and get out to enjoy the lemonade experience. May 21, 2017 is the date for Lemonade Day in Elkhart County, Indiana.

If you have an elementary aged child, consider participating in the program. If you own a small business, all participants are looking for sponsors to help them with overhead, marketing, and support.

Get all of the details and more by visiting Junior Achievement USA or by reaching out to your local Junior Achievement organization.

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