3 Lessons My Kids Can Teach YOU (and me!) About Business

by Kazia Mullin · 23 comments

Channel Your Inner Child
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This is a guest post from the lovely Kazia.  She’s a busy mom herself, and I’m a huge admirer of mom’s who are rockin’ it when it comes to entrepreneurship.

Here’s her story on why she thinks her kids (and probably YOURS too…) are smarter than us all when it comes to biz. Be sure to make her feel welcome, and drop any thoughts or questions in the comments below. Oh and pass this post along if you found it useful, pretty please. 🙂

There are a lot of awesome things about being a parent. Kids are so full of excitement and curiosity. For them, the world is full of possibilities and almost anything is doable.

And they’re so tenacious! Especially when they’re hustling money to by themselves candy and chips.

Most of us have been there.

Young and full of hope on a slow summer day. Maybe it was our mom’s suggestion, or maybe it was a flash of inspiration from some TV show we’d watched last weekend.

Where ever the idea came from, once you got it in your head, there was no shaking it loose. You were going to open that lemonade stand and you were going to make so much money!

We’re Going To Open Our Business And Be Rich!

So rich we won’t need Mom anymore!

This was my boys’ intro to small business summer. They got all charged up and were determined to set up their little lemonade stand. They were going to earn enough money to keep them in chips and candy for the entire summer!

And there would be nothing mom could do to stop them. This was the best idea ever!

I let the boys go at it; they set up their table and chairs in front of the house, got the jug of juice ready, and made their stand’s sign offering glasses of lemonade for $5 each.

I offered my advice that their price were too high, but they wouldn’t listen. The boys figured if they just sold 2 glasses they’d have enough money for both for them to go on a spending spree at the corner store.

They sat out at their stand for 15 minutes, and no one bought any lemonade.

Lesson #1: The Product Is Only Worth What People Are Willing To Pay For It

I see this all too frequently when a client first comes to me. They have a great idea, a fantastic product or service, are full of passion and excitement; they are sure people will be ready and waiting to pay them big money. When finally reality hits them, sore and confused- they are at a loss as to what to do next.

It might seem like the obvious solution is to drop the price, but for many small business owners the price they put on their product is an emotionally charged thing. They see huge value to their product. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be in business.

But if no one’s buying, taking a look at the price is the first thing to do.

With some trial and error, and a few more cardboard signs, my boys settled on the price of 50 cents for a cup of their lemonade. Yes, it wasn’t what they wanted to charge for the juice, but the product was selling, and there was even room in their price to encourage the much coveted tips!

Lesson #2: Know Your Target Market

Who doesn’t love lemonade? And what kind of person wouldn’t buy lemonade from adorable little children? Turns out quite a few people.

They yelled ‘Lemonade!’ at every passing car, attempted eye contact with every passer by, but the boys quickly learned that it was the men in their 20s and 30s, walking without kids, who where their target market. Not only would these guys buy a glass of lemonade but they would usually give the boys a whole dollar for a glass of lemonade and tell them to keep the change.

My boys began targeting these guys like they were the only people in the world.

As a business owner, you have to ask yourself, do you really know who your target market is, and are you working to connect with them? After you’ve been in business a while, it’s easy to lose some of your enthusiasm.

It’s hard to stay engaged and charming all the time.

But people like to be acknowledged and engaged. People want to feel valued by the businesses they spend their money with. When your business turns its attention on them they feel special. And why shouldn’t they? These people are going to be your customers, and as a small business those are the most special people there are.

Lesson #3: Be Nice To Your Customers

A kids lemonade stand has got some fierce competition. Not only are they competing with other neighborhood kids and their stands, but they’ve also got any store that sells cold drinks as competition.

So if you want to make some money you have to have an edge.

My boys tried a lot of different methods to get potential customers. They yelled and jumped up and down, they told jokes, they even used their little sister as bait. They were willing to try just about anything to get customers.

I did have to set the boundary of not running out into the street to chase cars, but hey, every marketing campaign needs some parameters to work within.

But you know what made them the most money? Being good to their customers. They killed it in the “tip department”; other wise known as the true measurement of a satisfied customer.

Sure there was a cuteness factor involved in people’s decisions to tip the boys at the lemonade stand, but the kids quickly learned the importance of being polite and going the extra mile.

When a customer accidentally dropped their cup of lemonade, they refilled their glass, no charge.

The man who hurried past with a curt ‘no’ when asked if he wanted lemonade actually came back an hour later to buy a glass because the boys had responded with a “Okay. Have a nice day!”

I actually had a few people come up to me and tell me what nice boys I had. The boys weren’t just selling lemonade, they were making relationships with the people in the neighborhood.

And as it turns out, those relationships made setting up that lemonade stand more and more profitable. Every time they’d set up, they would have repeat customers.

People in the neighborhood sought them out wanting to give them their business. And they turned a bigger and bigger profit each time they put their little tables and chairs out in front of the house.

Get In Touch With Your Inner Child

Running a business is hard, serious work. It takes discipline and drive to create a business that is not only sustainable but also growing.

Some of the most successful people I know are the ones who are not only incredibly disciplined, but able to think like a child as well. Successful people are creative, flexible and willing to learn new things.

Like my boys and their lemonade stand.

So…

Maybe it’s time you took some time to get in touch with your inner child and ask them how your business is doing.

I hope you enjoyed this post… be sure to share it via the share links you’ll find scattered around here if you got something from it.  Comments are welcome below.  Thanks for reading!

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