Thursday, December 28, 2017

Lemonade Stand

Sometimes stories and blogs just write themselves. All I have to do is give you the facts and take a nap while you do the rest. You hardly need me at all.
This is one of those stories.

I was wasting time on Facebook two days ago when some very familiar faces showed up suddenly in a video feed. I didn’t know you could make your own TV show on social media. Then again, I’m not five or even seven, so I’m not as techno savvy as my granddaughters are.

They’re cute and smart and enthusiastic. But the main thing I noticed during their infomercial was how optimistic they were about their product.

“You know,” the seven-year-old redhead began, “lemonade is really good on hot days.”

Well, I couldn’t argue with her there. Except that two days ago when her program taped, it was 26 degrees outside where she’d set up her lemonade stand on the lawn. She and her five-year-old business partner were zipped up in parkas and wearing gloves.

“It’s really healthy for you,” she continued. Her skeptical interviewer was heard to ask, “What’s in it?”

“We have ice and sugar and water, and we mix it up. That’s how we make lemonade.”

Um. Where’s the lemon, I wondered? Well, if truth in advertising laws apply here, she was just being brutally honest. Let’s face it, there’s not really any lemon in powdered lemonade mixes either. And at twenty-six degrees, they probably just stirred water and sugar until it made its own ice. Clever. That made me want to catch the first flight out to Kentucky and buy a cup of genuine, authentic, we-told-you-it’s-just-sugar-and-water lemonade. I like supporting the American dream.

“How much is your lemonade?” they were asked next.

The little redheaded tycoon paused a second to calculate the cost of her overhead, personnel, 401K contributions, local and federal taxes, advertising fees, and ingredients before she answered the question.

“Five dollars and twenty-four cents,” she said with confidence.

So, they knew their competition and decided to undercut Starbucks by a nickel or two. The interviewer had to do her job, though, and find out whether they were selling a tall, a grande, or a venti cup of lemonade so potential buyers could make an informed decision.
“How big is your cup?”

The clever redhead wasn’t prepared for the question, but didn’t want to wing it. She leaned over and inspected the dixie cup.

“Five inches,” she said.

At that point, the interviewer noticed the quiet five-year-old fidgeting in her chair. Obviously, she was the silent partner and had nothing to say. Right up until her older sister pointed out the barren money jar on their makeshift table, and suddenly she found her voice. 
“We want to raise money to buy Play Doh!” she exclaimed.
“But we’ve only had two people,” the redhead added plaintively. “No one’s coming.”
Yeah, well, the twenty-six degree temps may have thrown them a curve ball there.

I’m thinking they may need the advice of an experienced marketing consultant. Somebody who could explain the principle of supply and demand. But, of course, that would cost money and alter the bottom line and, the next thing you know, they’d have to raise their prices and Starbucks would edge them out. It’s just dog eat dog out there in the business world.
Ten minutes into the venture, they were ready to wrap up their advertising. They finished with a friendly, “Bye!” and waved their mittens at the camera phone and their four viewers.
In the end, they made $1.83 in loose change, donated by their dad, to pay for the two cups purchased by their mom. I guess that might be another problem with their pop-up stand. They only sold two cups of lemonade and are already short $8.65. Now they need to hire a bookkeeper.
I’m starting to worry a little about the solvency of this business, and whether or not I really want to fly to Kentucky in December to buy a five-dollar cup of lemonade. I may give this one a pass while I consider selling off all my stock in their company. I think they need a little more experience. Do some more homework. Find some more investors who are passionate about their business. Stuff like that—you know, Shark Tank advice.
In the meantime, I’ll keep watching for future episodes. And I’ll let you know if they decide to open a Hot Chocolate stand there in July.
I think that one could be the real money maker.

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