Lemons, sugar, water, ice - lemonade is a pretty humble drink, but when hot summer days roll in, there's nothing like a chilled glass to hit the spot. It's no wonder that a lemonade stand is a favorite choice among young entrepreneurs. However, be careful! While the competition can be tough, you can learn how to set up the best lemonade stand.
Part 1 of 2: Planning Your Lemonade Stand
Step 1. Conduct a market study
Every business uses market research before starting a new venture or offering a new product. You will need to do this to establish whether your idea for a lemonade stand will pay off and to determine your competition. After all, you have plans to open the best lemonade stand.
- Take a survey. Ask your friends and relatives first for their thoughts on the idea, and then expand the survey to include how much they would spend on lemonade, the type of lemonade they like, and the best place to set up a booth.
- Learn about the cost of a lemonade stand. You will need to determine whether you will buy a ready-made stand or build one yourself. It can be as easy as a used table with a tablecloth or something more sophisticated. Research what others are doing and use the internet to find ways to build one. Your position must stand out from the rest.
- Take a look at the competition. Walk or bike around to see if there are other lemonade stands. Take a look to see what they sell and how you can improve what they do.
Step 2. Choose the best location
As they say, the location is the most important thing. You will need to look around a bit to find the best place to set up your booth. Choosing the right location will make your business very successful. Since people don't look up the lemonade stands in the phone book, make sure they can see you.
- Determine foot traffic. Look to see if there are people walking where you intend to lay out your booth. Since many of your customers will be other children, you should find a place near which children will play in a way that they will easily detect you.
- Determine if you will be staying in your yard or near your apartment. If you are lucky, there will be an area near your home. A garden or an apartment area works well.
- Make sure that it is allowed to arrange your position near a playground area if there is one near you. Children love a cold glass of lemonade when they play.
- Other options. If your home doesn't serve you a sufficient number of customers, consider a location near a store or at your parents' workplace. Of course, you should check with them for help. You will need to obtain permission from the company before installing.
Step 3. Set the right price
The price you set for a glass of lemonade should depend on three things: the cost of your supplies, the amount people are willing to pay, and the prices offered by competing lemonade stands. You may need some help with this step.
- Determine which is the best recipe. You must have the best lemonade in the area. Find several good recipes and try them out with your friends and relatives. Think outside the box. You may want to try the flavored lemonade using strawberries or blueberries. Be creative. If you are trying to compete with other positions, it will be important that you offer something that sets your lemonade stand apart from the rest. You can find many recipes online.
- Make a list. It is important to make a detailed list of all the ingredients and supplies that you will need. You may need an adult to help you set your prices. Look for deals and coupons in your local newspaper and consider buying supplies in larger quantities to get the best deal. Do not forget that you must have a good product for a good price in order to compete with others.
- Determine what the other lemonade stands charge. You can experiment with the price you charge for a glass of lemonade to find out what people are willing to pay. However, the easiest way to set the price is to see what the other stalls are charging and then charge around the same or a little less (maybe even a little more in case you are going to offer something better than them). If you can offer the same quality at a lower price, you will have more customers. A greater number of clients implies a greater profit.
Step 4. Find your niche
You have the best lemonade in town, but what if the lemonade from other stands is just as tasty? You should offer something a little different to distinguish your position from the crowd.
- Develop a special talent. Do you have a special talent, like juggling or telling jokes? Use your talents to make your name known and customers will buy you lemonade just to see "the boy juggling lemons" or "the girl who tells a joke with every glass of lemonade."
- Think of your community. You could also donate a portion of your earnings to a charity. In addition to being a nice thing to do, your generosity and social responsibility could also impress your clients.
Step 5. Advertise your position
Competition involves advertising. You need to get customers to come to your booth, and therefore you need to find creative ways to let others know where you are. Your best advertisement will be your location and word of mouth from satisfied customers.
- Make signs that you can hang on trees or poles in your neighborhood, especially if your booth is just off a main street. Take care that the signs are colorful and easy to read.
- Ask a friend to stick a couple of colorful signs on himself and ride his bike around the neighborhood advertising your lemonade stand.
- Post a large, colorful sign at your booth. You must attract the greatest number of customers and, therefore, you must be seen. Include what you sell and prices.
Part 2 of 2: Open your booth
Step 1. Set up the most attractive position
Your position is likely to be almost entirely dependent on people stopping while driving or walking around, so your position should look as clean and attractive as possible. Otherwise they won't stop. Most importantly, you should keep your booth and the area around it neat and sparkling clean.
- Get everything ready. Before opening to the public, you should see if you have everything you need. In case you are not very close to an ice source, you can use a cooler so that you can easily access the ice.
- Provides a trash can for glasses and napkins. You could consider purchasing recyclable cups and then providing a recycling bin. You will impress your customers with your "green" thinking.
- Make your lemonade stand lively and colorful. Color attracts attention! It's easy to decorate paper cups to give your customers that "extra" fun when they buy lemonade from you. Add some color to your booth using helium balloons or other decorations. Be creative.
Step 2. Provide exceptional customer service
If you want to be competitive, you will need to provide the best customer service of any lemonade stand.
- Be accommodating. In case a customer doesn't like lemonade for any reason, you should listen to them to find out why, apologize, fix the problem, and offer them a free glass or a refund. Dissatisfied customers may become your best customers if you impress them with your desire to "fix things."
- Be prepared. Your customers won't want to have to wait for their refreshing drink, so always have plenty of lemonade and other supplies ready. Take care that you can get change quickly and accurately for customers.
Step 3. Greet customers with a smile
When they approach your booth, chat with them while they're there (if they want to chat) and thank them for their purchase. Make an effort to remember the names of the regulars and greet them by name or title (Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.).
- Consider offering a special price to regular customers.
- Offer a free glass of lemonade to very young children in case a parent is shopping.
- Make sure to thank them for their purchase. Again, this will help your business grow.
Step 4. Have the look and feel of a business owner
Regardless of how bad your day may be, you should always give the impression that you love selling lemonade and that the lemonade business is booming. Customers don't want to hear about your problems, they want the best lemonade.
- Look neat and clean. Make sure your hands are clean at all times. You may want to keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on hand.
- Serve with a smile. In case business is doing well and you have a line of clients, apologize for waiting and show that you work hard to serve others.
Step 5. Pay attention to quality
If you make a great lemonade, people will come back for it and choose your spot above the rest. If you want to make your own lemonade, you can ask your parents how to make it or find many recipes online.
- Listen to the comments or complaints of your customers when you start selling. Make adjustments to your recipe if necessary. You try to give your customers the most refreshing lemonade.
- Be careful to give your customers enough ice to keep the lemonade cold, and avoid serving lemonade that has been outside for a long time. It is best to serve it fresh and cold.
Step 6. Keep track of your sales and experiment a bit
You can learn a lot from running a lemonade stand, and the more you learn, the more money your stand will make.
- If you don't sell a lot of lemonade, figure out why. While there are some factors that you cannot change (for example, the weather), there are others that you can change (for example, the price and type of lemonade).
- Use a little trial and error to make your position the best it can be, and learn from your mistakes. If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
- The best lemonade stand will keep customers coming back for more.
- If your business is booming and there is always a line of people wanting lemonade, consider hiring a friend to help you. If you can provide faster service, customers will be more likely to return. Also, you are likely to have more fun with a friend.
- In case of competition, you can put "gourmet" or "secret recipe" on your sign.
- If you are locating your stall far from your home, you will need to make sure you can easily access your supplies. For example, be careful to bring coolers to keep extra ice.
- Put ice, lemon wedges, or even miniature cocktail umbrellas in your glasses and use cute but disposable glasses. Recyclable cups will allow you to advertise yourself as "green."
- Make the signs big and eye-catching! "Official" street signs (stop signs, for example) are much larger than you probably realize. Thin letters, such as those you could trace with a marker, cannot be read from the street. Consider tracing each letter as an outline and filling it in with a bold color, like black or blue. Alternatively, you can cut out letters from construction paper and glue them to the sign.
- If your position is doing very well, you can open additional positions that your friends run. However, avoid locating the branches too close or they will compete with each other. Each new position can reach new potential clients.
- The weather can be decisive when it comes to your lemonade sales. In case it is uncharacteristically cold one day or it rains, you may not even want to open your stall.
- Come up with new recipes that taste good.
- Set up a take-out booth for customers in a car, or at the very least ask those in a hurry if they want a lid.
- Try to locate the stall at a street intersection. Those heading left, right, forward or backward will see you.
- DO NOT intentionally vandalize or sabotage your competition. They have as much right as you to sell lemonade.
- Sometimes someone close to you will be able to sell a lemonade of the same quality for a lower price than you can offer, even if you try to reduce the cost of supplies. This may be because their parents pay for everything and are not interested in whether the position actually makes enough money to pay for supplies. In the business world, this is known as a "subsidy" and if your parents don't "subsidize" you too, you won't be able to compete. It's not fair to you, but if you can't offer the same price or find another good reason for customers to buy from you, you may not be able to stay in business. However, you can try to sell different products (for example, other drinks and food) as mentioned in one of the steps.
- In case you are going to sell food, you should consult the local sanitary ordinances (rules). Restaurants, street vendors, and other businesses that sell food must meet strict standards in how they prepare their food, and must obtain special licenses from the municipal or state government. Lemonade stands almost never need to worry about these laws because officials generally do not care about very small businesses run by children. However, if you are going to sell food or your stall becomes very large, you may have problems.
- Avoid badmouthing your competition. People don't like it when you say mean things about other kids, and they may empathize with your competition if you do. Instead, you should take pride in your own position and be careful to let people know that you make great lemonade.
- Be careful to arrange your position in a safe place. This is particularly important if you are going somewhere other than your home. You should always consult with your parents and, in case they tell you not to go to a certain place, you must understand that they have good reasons. Also, you may need to check with the owners of the location where you intend to set up your booth if it is not going to be a public place. For example, if you want to set up a parking space at a store, you may need to ask the owner or manager for permission. If you intend to set up a booth in front of someone else's house, you may need to ask permission from the people who live in that house.