My 1st business was a lemonade stand. Actually, it was a mobile lemonade stand. Every weekend, I’d pack up my red wagon full of everything I needed: Large Gatorade cooler / plastic cups / change/etc., and head to Franklin / Wolf / Nelson Parks. Everyone enjoyed the sweet / cool refreshment in the hot summer sun. The basketball courts at Nelson Park were always active with competitive games, and thirsty players. My lemonade was a welcome offer for refreshment as perspired players rested momentarily between games.
What I remember the most about my mobile lemonade stand is not the profits, but how my father taught me some critical life lessons via running and operating a business.
Day 1 / Lesson 1: We talked through the business, the product, the target audience, etc. Wrote it all out …. Including the startup cost.
Dad: So how are you going to fund this business?
Me: (confused) I thought you would buy the supplies for me …. ?
Dad: Well son, it’s your business. You should buy the equipment & supplies. I can give you a business loan. Based on what we talked about just now, how many sales do you anticipate doing a weekend? How long would it take you to start turning a profit?
That was my first P&L sheet … I’m probably ~8 years old at this point in my life.
This story stands out in my memory because the lemonade stand taught me some very valuable lessons:
- Nothing in this world is free. If you start off behind (in debt), you must be strategic AND work twice as hard to get ahead (turn a profit).
- If you own something, then you must truly take accountability for every aspect of it
- Businesses are complex, multi faceted, and take much planning, analysis, reevaluation, organization, and strong execution to be successful.
- In order to measure success, you must put in place the right organization & reporting infrastructure up front to ensure controlled and predictable results.
- If your product is good & priced accordingly, the market will accept it with open arms. But you must be willing to engage with people in order to make a connection.
- A product is only as good as it’s source (the creator). The consumer will pay more for a product built on integrity.
These lessons have carried me throughout my education, my career, ad will carry this business to new ad great heights. I’d like to thank God for all of the people & experiences that he has allowed in my life. They have all had an impact on me (big, small, negative, & positive) and have culminated with this moment!
I welcome you all to the future!
Scott Q Consulting
Chuck Scott, CEO