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I have an Aspiring Entrepreneur – now what?

You have an aspiring entrepreneur in your house or classroom; the one setting up a lemonade stand and sitting out in the front yard until dark or the one that is making bracelets and selling them to their friends at school or the one that is always asking their neighbors if they can take care of their pets.  So how do you keep that entrepreneurial fire burning?  Here are some tips on how to get started!

  1. Choose a business idea. If they haven’t chosen a specific business idea, they should chose and commit to one. You can’t start learning about how to start and run a business until you actually do it. If they need inspiration help them think about their interests, what they’ve learned and what they like to do in their spare time.
  2. Determine the goal. Once they come up with an idea, have them come up with a goal. Is it just to have fun? Is it to earn money for something they want to buy? Is it to learn more about business and finances?  Whatever it is, have them write it down and be specific.  The more specific it is, the more likely they are to accomplish it.
  3. Create a plan. Once they have their idea and a goal, they need a plan on how to get there. They will need action steps to take to achieve their goal. These can be such things as how many people do I need to contact, how many products do I need to make, etc.
  4. What is the budget. They will need items to start-up their business and make their product or provide their service. Do they have money already saved up or will they need to borrow money from you? Have them put together a list of what they need and the costs so they can figure out how to get the money they need.
  5. Legal Stuff. They already have your approval but before putting it into action, you may need to check if any legal permits are needed. Each state, city & town has their own rules so it is always a good idea to check and see what is required. There may be free or reduced legal resources at your local business center or university or college so you might want to check on that.
  6. Just Do It! Most entrepreneurs learn while running their business and since entrepreneurship is about taking action, there is no better way. Be sure to keep track of your expenses, sales and what is working and not working. That way you can keep doing what works and make changes as needed.

Being an entrepreneur is a rewarding experience and I can’t think of a more fun way to learn and earn money during the summer!

Want more resources to help your aspiring entrepreneur? Here are a few to check out:

LINK to Amazon, You’re Never too Young to Start a Business e-book (with downloadable worksheets)

LINK to YouTube Mini-Lesson Monday’s for Young Entrepreneurs

LINK to more Information on Summer Youth Entrepreneur Camps in Madison, WI

If you would like to know more about how to bring youth entrepreneurship to your area contact Julie Wood at juliewood@eseedling.com or visit eseedling.com 

Have you signed your kids up for camp?

CampsCamp is one my favorite memories from when I was a kid.  I loved staying in a tent or cabin, slurping slushies, singing fun songs around the campfire and learning all kinds of new things by experiencing them first hand.  I loved it so much I became a 4-H camp counselor at age 16, volunteered many times at my sons’ Boy Scout camps and now I am so fortunate to direct and teach youth entrepreneur camps.

Camps are a great way for kids to experience and learn things they may not have the opportunity to in school.  What is interesting to me is that the kids who may not do well in school (sitting at a desk all day) flourish in a camp environment.  Year after year, I see kids come in on Monday morning not showing much self-confidence and by Friday when they are presenting an idea they are passionate about they are glowing with confidence. 

The following is from the American Camp Association Website which pretty much sums up the benefits of camp:

At camp, when children make new friends, explore the world around them, and learn that “I can” is much more powerful than “I can’t”, magic happens. In an environment created just for them, children learn real life skills, develop self-esteem, and gain a sense of independence and community. Whether children are playing, exploring nature, conquering new heights, or becoming part of a camp family, they are creating memories that will last a lifetime – See more at: http://www.acacamps.org/campers-families/because-camp#sthash.44KAY3o4.dpuf

Since school is either out or soon to be out, it’s time to find a camp for your child(ren).  There are camps of every subject possible so there is bound to be something that they are interested in.  Many camps are already full but with some searching you will most likely find something that fits.  That’s what I really like about directing and teaching at Youth Entrepreneur Camps; the business each camper chooses to create takes into account their strengths, interests and talents so it fits everyone!

Since the UW-Madison SBDC Youth Entrepreneur Camp (where I have been the director for the past 8 years) is full and there is a long wait list, I have decided to add an E-Seedling Youth Entrepreneur Camp July 18-21 in Madison.  It is a 4 day (Mon-Thurs) commuter day camp for ages 10-14 (there will be breakouts based on age groups).  It is limited to 16 kids (8:1 instructor ratio) so register now before it’s full!  To find out more about the camp and to register, Click here!

Hope this is the year to start making memories and having fun at summer camp!

Young Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand

7 Steps to Start a Kid Business

  1. Young Entrepreneur Lemonade Stand

    7 Steps to Start a kid biz

    Choose a business idea. You can’t start learning about how to start a business if you don’t have an idea. Think about hobbies, interests, what you’ve learned, what you have experience in, what you’re good at what you like to do in your spare time.

  2. Test your idea with potential customers. Entrepreneurs take risks but you can limit how much risk you take by testing your ideas. Ask customers, prospects, friends and family questions about your idea. You can start with whether or not it is a good solution to the problem you are solving and would they pay money for it.
  3. Create a memorable brand and plan your marketing & sales activities. A brand is what your prospect or customer thinks of or feels when they hear your name, see your logo, marketing materials or store. Once you create your brand you need to plan how to get the word out. This will be determined by where your customers are located.
  4. List what you need to start your business and how much money you need to get started. Start-Up Items are the items you need to have before you can start your business. Some examples of start-up items include office supplies and equipment, website, and tools to make your product or provide your service. You may also need to buy some inventory or supplies to make your products. You probably won’t have fixed costs such as rent but it’s good to be aware that these costs exist also. You will then need to figure out a price for your product or service based on costs, competition and your earlier testing.
  5. Keep your Customers Happy. Once you have customers, you need to make sure you keep them happy! The cost to get a new customer is much higher than selling to an existing customer. Happy customers will be your best resource for getting new customers (what is called Word of Mouth Marketing). You will want to make sure you have a plan for staying in contact with your customers and making sure they are happy.
  6. Parent Approval and Legal Stuff. Before going any further, you should always check with your parents to make sure that your business idea is okay to put into action and also check on if any legal permits are needed. Each state, city & town has their own rules so it is always a good idea to check and see what is required. There may be free or reduced legal resources at your local business center or university or college so you might want to check on that.
  7. Create a Plan. Now that you have your business idea figured out, you need to have a plan that will guide you. You need a marketing plan for how you are going to get the word out and an operational plan for business activities. The two plans will work together to help you schedule your time and resources. All of the hard work you have done already will go into a plan – this chapter will help you put it all together so you are ready to go!

These 7 steps will give you a good start for getting a business going. If you would like a complete Step-by-Step guide including free downloadable worksheets. My new e-book You’re Never too Young to Start A Business is available for only $2.99 on Amazon.com. CLICK HERE to ORDER If you would like more information on cultivating young entrepreneurs, visit eseedling.com and sign up for our e-newsletter.

 

Police close lemonade stand

Is Your Lemonade Stand Illegal?

Police close lemonade stand

Police officer closing down the lemonade stand

This week it was Jerry Seinfeld’s kids lemonade stand getting closed down by police due to neighbors complaining about parking and not having a permit. I have been hearing about a stand getting closed down almost every week some place in the U.S. this summer – what do you think this does to kids who are testing the waters for entrepreneurship? Most of the time, the kids who start the lemonade stand are raising money for a good cause or they may be saving up for a larger purpose (not to mention all the learning they are doing). What better way than to start a lemonade stand?

So what is up with the neighbors who are complaining and basically getting the kids ticketed, fined and closing their businesses? I’m wondering is the lemonade stand on a hot summer day really causing them a problem? Do they not have enough to keep their selves busy? Another reason for shutting down the stands is that they are competing with a local business – I’m wondering how much business a young entrepreneur lemonade stand takes away from an established business. I have learned that is more important to focus on your own business and do the best you can then to worry about the business next door! And what about our police force – don’t they have more important things to do then to visit a kid’s lemonade stand to close it down? I’m frankly quite disappointed that we are even spending resources on this! I’ve even read

Okay, so there may be arguments that the kids should get a business license. But really can’t we make kids first taste at business more positive? How about if municipalities create a Lemonade Law and allow kids up to 5 different days to run lemonade stands during the year. If the kids want to sell more days, then the formal process of applying for the permit would need to take place. A website page could be added for kids to register the dates of lemonade stands and print out a permit that they can display at their stand so when their neighbor wants to report them they can easily see that the young entrepreneur has taken care of the permit. One simple webpage set up can eliminate the phone call to the police, the police having to investigate and break the young entrepreneur’s heart!

If you know of any municipalities have come up with a good system to remedy this issue, please share maybe others can learn from what has already worked! We definitely need to make it easier for young entrepreneurs to try out their business ideas – if we don’t change the way we treat them we may have less and less young entrepreneurs which will translate in less small businesses in the future (more on that in my next blog post)!

If you would like free tips and resources to cultivate youth entrepreneurs (or to run lemonade stands) – sign up for our free e-newsletter at eseedling.com or purchase More Than a Lemonade Stand at eseedling.com or your favorite online book store.

Lemonade Stand Finished

Are you ready for Lemonade Day? (How to build a Lemonade Stand out of PVC Pipe)

How to Build a Lemonade Stand out of PVC Pipe (in 6 easy steps)

Since Lemonade day is coming up soon and summer is not far behind; I thought it would be helpful to share what I learned when I built my lemonade stand booth that I used a recent trade show. Many of the attendees were interested in how to create the lemonade stand so here are the instructions. I also created a YouTube video which you can watch below.

Supplies you need (for a 6 foot wide by 6 foot tall in front, 7 foot tall in back and 2 foot deep stand):

Lemonade Stand Supplies

  • 35-  2 feet sections of 3/4” pvc pipe (can buy precut at hardware/lumber store)  One of the sections needs to be cut in half (they can cut at the hardware store)
  • 4 –  ¾” coupling connectors
  •  14 – ¾” t-connectors
  • 2 – ¾”  elbows
  • 6 – ¾”  male adapters
  • 6 – ¾” side outlets
  • Sandpaper
  • Material or poster paper for awning
  • 2- Sandbags if need to weigh down for windy location

NOTE: If you are making 4 feet wide – then you can eliminate 4 of the 2 foot sections and 4 of the coupling connectors. Tip: Print this list out and take with you to the store!

Dollar Saving Tip: Approximate cost of PVC pipe and connector parts is: $68.72. You can save quite a bit of money if you have someone who can cut the PVC pipe as it is much less expensive in larger lengths.

Step 1: Sand the ink off of the PVC pieces

  • Use the sandpaper to sand the ink off of the PVC pieces (this step takes the longest). Also you may want to rinse the PVC pipe inside and out since when it is cut – it leaves a residue.

NOTE: the pieces that are being used for the base or the top that the awning will hide do not have to be saved.  The other option is to spray paint the PVC pieces – make sure that you purchase a paint will adhere to the PVC.

 Step 2: Assemble the base

LemonadeStandBase

  • This part goes underneath the table and stabilizes the sides and the top of the stand.
  • To create the base, use 10 sections of PVC pipe, 4 T Connectors, 4 male adapters and 4 side outlets.
  • You will be creating a ladder type base with the PVC pipe- the T Connectors in the middle and the Side Outlets at the corners with Male Connectors screwed in so the opening faces upward.
  • Connect together as shown in photo – be sure to push in where connecting so they don’t fall apart.

Step 3: Assemble the sides up to 2 rungs high

Lemonade Stand Side

  • Each of the sides will go into the sides of the base – the reason for not assembling the sides to full height is that it is easier to put the top on.
  • Each side needs 8 sections of PVC pipe and 4 T Connectors
  • Connect together as shown in photo.
  • Connect each of the sides to the base.

Lemonade stand base and sides

Step 4: Assemble the top

Lemonade Stand top

  • This is probably the hardest part of the assembly.
  • To assemble the top you will use the rest of the remaining parts.
  • The front of the top will have a PVC pipe vertical on each end, with the front outer corners each having a side outlet and a male connector with opening facing down. Then 3 PVC pipes going across the front connected with coupling connectors.
  • The back of the top will have will have a PVC pipe vertical on each end with the outer corners having a T connector, the shorter 1 foot pieces will go be connected up from the T connecter. Then the Elbows are connected at the top of the one foot pieces with 3 – 2 foot sections going across connected by 2 coupling connectors.

Top of Lemonade stand back

  • The front and the back of the top are connected in depth with a 2 foot pipe.
  • If you have an awning or poster for your stand – put it on before attaching the top to the bottom and side portion.
  • Step 5: Connect the top section to the bottom section
    • Use two people to lift the top portion and connect on each side of the bottom portion.

    Step 6: Add the finishing touches

    Lemonade Stand Finished

    • Once it is assembled – you can add your table, signs, decorations and lemonade and you are ready to go!

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE HOW TO VIDEO 

Are you Listening?

 

are you listening

 

I love to learn, especially about entrepreneurship and small business! I read book after book on the subject; I don’t usually read fiction unless it’s something like “All in Startup” which is fiction inside non-fiction (more on that in a later post). I attend professional development seminars on the subject and participate in frequent webinars. So when I exhibited at the American Camp Association Tri-State Conference last week one of my main goals was to learn. Learn if they were the right customer for my products, learn what their needs were, what problems they have that need solving and learn what ideas they had for product improvement and development. Having those goals in mind before even attending the show put me in the mindset to listen to the persons who visited my lemonade stand booth and wow did I learn!

 

Here are 3 big product ideas that I learned from the attendees: 1) They would like a Spanish version of the Biz Ops Game, 2) They would like the Biz Ops Game adapted for Camps (i.e. a Camp Ops Game) to train their staff, and 3) They would like to buy the lemonade stand that I made out of PVC pipe. Each of these ideas is very doable and without the time of developing brand new products and so they are now on my list. I also learned that the Biz Ops Game makes a great rainy day activity for camps; now I have a new way to sell the game. I also learned that e-seedling is confusing to the camp audience – many visitors asked if I had something to do with gardening. If you are going to be clever with a name – you need to think about your audience and make sure it’s clear. So I learned how to explain exactly what E-seedling does; empowers youth through entrepreneurship (hence the e is for entrepreneur and seedling is the youth) and that the More Than a Lemonade Stand book is a do it yourself youth entrepreneur curriculum that can be implement as a whole or individual activities (oh and don’t bring that much candy to give away unless you want to bring it home).

 

I also learned some tips from the other exhibitors: 1) have an information sheet for visitors to take with them (I was directing them to my website), and 2) put the game sheets in a binder so they aren’t accidentally walked off with.

 

It’s amazing how much you can learn just by listening to others and yourself! Being a Covey Facilitator for the Seven Habits of Highly Successful People I have heard this quote many times and agree that it is true. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” 
― Stephen R. CoveyThe 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

 

Now I ask; are you listening?

Lemonade Stand a symbol of youth entrepreneurship!

LemonHeadsLemonadeStand

One of my favorite Lemonade Stand Posters from the youth entrepreneur camp.

I often get asked why you don’t use a more complicated business in your youth
entrepreneur camps. My response is usually something like: who doesn’t love to
visit a lemonade stand on a hot summer day. They usually shake their head in
agreement and then go on with their day. But if you stop to think about it, the
lemonade stand is an icon for youth entrepreneurship. Many successful
entrepreneurs started out when they were a kid. It might not have been a
lemonade stand (although I bet many did try one at one time), it may have been
a lawn care, pet care, paper route, or babysitting business. The answer I give
really relates to knowing that it’s almost a guarantee that on a hot summer day
there will be thirsty customers ready to buy some lemonade which is the first
step to any successful business (create a product that you know your customers
want)! A lemonade stand is familiar – everyone knows what it is and so the
campers don’t have to learn about what the product is they can then focus on
creating a brand, picking their product (what flavor, etc.), pricing their
product, marketing their product, selling their product, recording their sales
and giving the customer a great experience. These are things that every
business has to do so they are learning the basics of business and they do it
as a team. The fact that they are raising money for the youth entrepreneur camp
scholarship fund teaches them that they can make a difference by helping
someone who can’t afford to attend the entrepreneur camp to have the ability to
attend. The team competition makes it that much more fun for the kids as they
not only compete for the most sales but also for best customer service, best
tasting, best team work and best display. The kids are extremely clever with
their branding, marketing and delivery systems – you would be amazed if you
came to lemonade day at the camp. Since they have been learning about creating
their own business and running a business simulation earlier in the youth
entrepreneur camp – the lemonade stand gives them the real world experience to
bring it all together! It is so much fun for the kids they don’t even realize
how much they have learned until we get back and debrief! No wonder that is the
favorite activity of the campers year after year. Wouldn’t it be fun to have an
adult lemonade stand competition and even an adult entrepreneur camp for that
matter :)!