Kids out by the side of the road with a lemonade stand on their property is one of those classic images of Americana. What many may not realize, however, is that the modern lemonade stand isn’t just a chance for kids to learn how to be entrepreneurs any more. It’s a viable businesses opportunity for anyone looking to become self-employed.
If you want to know how to start a lemonade stand, then here are the steps you’ll need to take to get your business off the ground.
1. Have a Solid Business Plan
You can start small and grow in size over time with a lemonade stand, so you don’t need much capital to get started. What you do need is a solid business plan that will help you keep track of your short- and long-term goals. If you know that it takes $5 to make a pitcher of lemonade, then how many servings can you get out of that pitcher? If you know that you’ll get 10 servings, then if you charge $0.50 per serving, you’ll only break even. You’ll need to charge $0.75 or more.
Here’s a tip to remember. If you start a lemonade stand with someone, you’ll be splitting the expenses and the profits. If a pitcher of lemonade costs $5 and there are 5 people who are in business with you, then the pitcher cost will be just $1. You’ll also receive just 1/5 of the profits, however, in return.
2. Weather Plays a Big Role
Lemonade stands might be an all-year business opportunity, but it does better on the warmer days than the cooler days. You will have the most success when you can find a location for your stand where it is the hottest and people are the thirstiest. Think about setting up shop at a playground, a county fair, or even on a downtown street that gets a lot of traffic to maximize the potential of your business opportunity.
Here’s a tip to remember. In order to sell lemonade on public grounds, you may need to have a sales permit or a business license. If you’re trying to start a permanent lemonade stand, then obtaining these items will be a necessity at some point anyway. If this is just a temporary business for some extra cash, however, you may wish to avoid the permit process completely and just sell on your own property only.
3. Signage Plays a Part
You’ll need to have signage that attracts people to your lemonade stand in order for it to create a temptation. The product itself will draw people to your stand, but the signage will be that first impression that creates an attraction. Make the sign as big and bold as possible, but clearly state that you’ve got a lemonade stand and that you’re selling servings for a certain price. Adding some pictures of lemons is a nice bit of flair.
Here’s a tip to remember. If you create more than one sign, then you can advertise your lemonade stand throughout your community. You see garage sale signs out everywhere during the warmer months and these sign locations are also the perfect place to advertise the sale of some cool lemonade on a warm day.
4. Product Quality Sets You Apart
The problem that many lemonade stands ultimately have is that they are creating a product that is based on a powdered mix. That might work for kids who are starting their first business venture, but that’s not a long term business proposition. Real lemonade will make your stand become more visible and the natural product will typically bring you more traffic. If you can make the lemonade at your stand, then even more people may be attracted to your business because of the idea of truly “fresh” lemonade.
Here’s a tip to remember. Never compromise on the quality of your product. It’s the little things that matter when it comes to a serving of lemonade. A small slice of lemon in the glass or on the rim is a nice touch. People always want value, even if it’s just a couple kids who are selling lemonade. Having lemonade in a small cardboard cup that is overpriced and powdered mix isn’t going to sell as well as larger cups of the real deal.
5. Colder is Always Better
Give yourself some time to prepare the lemonade you plan to sell so that you can get it cooled down appropriately. If you don’t have time to refrigerate your lemonade overnight, then having some ice on-hand can be a reasonable substitute to cool the drinks down. Remember that if you add ice to a cup, you won’t be able to put in as much lemonade. If you’re charging $1 for a glass of lemonade, but it’s a glass that is mostly ice, your customers may decide not to come back.
Here’s a tip to remember. Never sell lemonade that you’ve haven’t tasted for yourself. Whether fresh or from powder, the quality of each pitcher that you’re making can be variable. Don’t drink too much of it! A tiny taste test will be enough to let you know if you’ve achieved the right formula for your lemonade.
7. Make Sure You’ve Got Change
A lemonade stand is almost always going to be a cash-only business. The only exception might be a permanent lemonade stand in a park or one with an actual commercial storefront where there are enough sales to justify the processing fees. Because it’s a cash-only venture for most entrepreneurs, there will need to be change available to make sure that customers can pay a fair price, even if they don’t have the exact change that is needed.
Here’s a tip to remember. Selling additional products, like cookies, can help to boost your bottom line and eliminate the need for extra change. If a glass of lemonade and two cookies is $5, then people with a $5 bill will just purchase that combination because it eliminates the need for any change. Set easy prices to avoid change requirements as well, like having lemonade be $1 per glass.
A lemonade stand can be a fun way to spend the summer and make some cash at the same time. Use these tips and you’ll be able to start a temporary or permanent business that will help you profit from the warmest days of the year.