Big Money and A Young Entrepreneur

On a mid-summer day in 2011 young Anna, age 8, decided she HAD to go to a Selena Gomez concert. Conveniently, a concert was scheduled in September in Denver, CO, 365 miles from her Rapid City SD home.

When she made her announcement that she and her mom would be attending, her mother looked at her like the mothers the world over look at their children and said, ‘How are you going to pay for it?’

Anna's lemonade standAnna just shrugged and said, ‘I’m going to put up a lemonade stand in front your office.’

And she did. In mid-July she pieced and parceled together a stand, she and her mom went shopping for Country Time Lemonade powder, ice, cups and a cash box. To add to the allure, Anna also decided she was going to sell stories at her lemonade stand. The stories were a bit pricey at $5 each but there was a definite demand.

The long and short of it is – the kid made a killing! She raised enough money to rent a car, buy the gas, rent a hotel room and buy the concert tickets. She even had enough left over to purchase a t-shirt and snacks.

Fast forward beyond the ‘awesome concert’, the autumn leaves and the dark days of winter, on into the lengthening light of spring – Anna’s traveling feet are dancing again and she is ready for new adventures.

Keep in mind she has now moved from almost nine years old to almost ten – a huge brain burst for the young entrepreneur. She has also become much more politically correct – there would be no more CountryTime at her lemonade stand, only the real-deal,  fresh, homemade stuff.

So it was on her spring-break Friday at the office that she quietly prepared her pre-2012 lemonade stand business meeting – a mentor gathering. At 4:00 she beckoned her mother, uncle and me (grandma) to come sit down. She had arranged the chairs in our conference room (don’t snicker, we do confer there) in a line – close enough to the presenter’s station that we could almost touch her, but not quite. Next to the stool she would use to occasionally sit on was another chair facing us with a stack of 8″x12″ sheets of paper propped up on it, easel-fashion.

She had prepared what boiled down to a PowerPoint or SlideShare presentation – on paper.

On each 8”x12” piece of paper she had a single subject with an illustration to clarify the topic. The first was ‘Overhead Shelter’. She wanted to discuss the various angles of the sun during the day and the possible ways to keep it from beating down directly on her. This lead into a detailed discussion of the mechanics of the lemonade stand itself.

I loved the next slide. It was a bad vs. good list of business practices. However she labeled the ‘bad’ ‘Shaggy’ and the ‘good’ simply as ‘Good’. The unbulleted points were concise and to the point - the ‘Shaggy’ list had six ‘blahs’ and the ‘Good’ had five ‘blahs’. It was our duty as mentors to define each and every ‘blah’ on the lists.

We discussed how she and her lemonade stand cohorts would split the money; whether she and her helping friends would be the same or different - worker/employee(s) - and if they would work straight through or in shifts.


Then we moved on to the marketing plan. We discussed how to attract customers by using signage and by enhancing the product.

The final slide/page was our very favorite. Question: what happens if too many customers come?


Big Money…of course.