Small, Very Small, Business Week Nears
By Leslie McMillan
Although Tyson was almost six, he still seemed a bit small for his age. No problem. In preparing his efficiently rustic lemonade stand for the local Lemonade Day, he made the wise entrepreneurial decision to hire two skilled, reliable employees also known as Dad and Mom. Rather than diversifying his menu with cookies or other complementary items, Tyson opted for excellence in the basics.
Previously unaware of the yearly event, we were driving along in our van when we spotted the little stand that he and his staff had situated outside a trendy cafe by previous agreement with the owners. The stand had been sturdily constructed a month earlier with assistance from the pros at the nearby Home Depot kids workshop.
Tyson had serious competition from several other lemonade stands in the same few downtown blocks, but his business was brisk enough on a leisurely Sunday afternoon in a small city. Although his price was higher than others we had seen, he secured our patronage by pouring generous sample portions for each of us. They were delicious.
We bought three large cups with domed lids and straws at $2.00 apiece—a sweet lemonade and tea combo, and two strawberry drinks with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Classic lemonade was also available. Tyson earnestly selected the ingredients from the portable cooler, blended and served the beverages, took the money, and returned the change. Sorry, no checks, no plastic.
Dad and Mom chatted with customers and assisted as needed, without hovering. Tyson knew what he was doing. Encouraged by the national organizers, he had even budgeted his anticipated profits into three categories: some for himself to spend, some for a charitable cause, and some for saving or reinvesting. www.lemonadeday.org
Tyson’s story is being repeated throughout America. Lemonade Day for young entrepreneurs of all ages occurs on various local dates—some during this year’s National Small Business Week, May 5 to May 11, 2019. The week is sponsored by the United States Small Business Administration and others. Dream big, start small.
Little Tyson started small, but his carefully planned step-by-step preparation over many weeks was evidence of a dream much bigger than his three hours of selling lemonade on a city sidewalk. He was surely inspired by the hundreds of thousands of other participating kids nationwide, including many in various Northeast cities. Each kid had registered and received free of charge a yellow backpack and an entrepreneurial workbook with fourteen lessons. Many people, businesses, organizations, and sponsors had helped along the way—including countless local health departments that had approved permit waivers for a day.
The Lemonade Day website explains some of the benefits beyond the financial: "Youth learn the steps and planning necessary to start a business, but just as importantly, learn valuable life skills such as leadership, collaboration, responsibility, and teamwork. They learn to set a goal, make a plan, and work their plan to achieve their dreams. In the process, they experience a new level of confidence, and some for the first time see new possibilities for their future."
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