When I was younger, my summer bucket lists always included a lemonade stand. I looked forward to the sign painting and lemon squeezing preparation, anticipating for customers to pass by and the sweet victory of a seventy-five-cent sale. While lemonade stands were always thrilling, I see now that my time spent under the sun selling summer pick-me-ups wasn’t all just about fun. In fact, self-made billionaire Warren Buffet’s success story begins with lemonade stands and other similar endeavours when he was a young boy. Buffet can attribute some of his understanding of what it takes to run a business and be a business leader to his early entrepreneurial hustles.
Though my summer bucket lists have not included a lemon stand for many years, I am challenging myself to add one back in these final weeks of summer. Here are a few reasons why you should consider doing it too:
Practicing talking to others.
To sell your lemonade and convince your customers that your goods are worth it, you are going to have to do a lot of talking. While this may feel awkward and nerve wracking at first, selling lemonade is a low stakes opportunity to practice talking to strangers. Learning how to relate to others and build connections in limited time is valuable for a leader because it is important for them to make good impressions and build meaningful relationships with their team. Also, it helps them learn how to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
Understanding there is no such thing as a “waste of time”.
No matter how sweet your product is, there is no promise of actually making any sales when running a lemonade stand. The success is so dependent on weather, foot traffic on your street and whether a potential customer has the nerve to walk right past you or not. However, sale or no sale, you are guaranteed to learn something new along the way. Whether it be something about business strategy or just something interesting through a conversation with a customer, running a lemonade stand helps us understand that there is no such thing as a waste of time. Every moment is a teachable one and as a leader, it is important to model this with your team.
Appreciating the grind.
Lemonade stands can require you to sit out for hours before selling anything or coming in to contact with anyone. However, when you do finally make a sale, the rush makes the process of squeezing lemons and adding sugar feel worth it. Learning to appreciate and love working hard instills powerful confidence and pride within a leader. It also teaches them how to set high expectations for themselves and to push themselves to achieve their goals.
Recognizing life isn’t too serious.
Yes, running a lemonade stand as a teenager may seem a bit silly and childish however, it is an opportunity to have nostalgic summer fun. Too often do we get caught up in the things that make us feel stressed that we forget what life is really about. Embracing youthfulness and playfulness as a leader is important because it connects a team and allows a leader to recognize what is truly valuable to them.