The Lemonade Stand...and Beyond!

  • Academics
  • Entrepreneurship
  • The Aspen Difference
Jennifer Gravlee

Summer break is a great time to ignite your child’s entrepreneurial mindset and allow them time to explore, to create, and to use their strengths to inspire others while changing the world. Offering students the opportunity to start their own business over the summer will enhance their creativity, grow their problem solving skills, encourage independence and boost their self-confidence. Encouraging children to think beyond the lemonade stand this summer will open up new possibilities for them and others (and don’t get us wrong: a lemonade stand is a great place to start for lots of kids, so starting there can be a great option).

How to encourage your student to start their own business. The business process starts with idea generation -- in business, leaders start by addressing problems that exist in society. Ask the questions:

  • What is a problem you think needs solving?
  • What is something that you could talk about all day, everyday?
  • What’s something that just thinking about it sets your soul on fire?
  • How could you use your passion for that to make the world a better place?

Depending on the age of your student, you may get answers that we know as adults aren’t realistic (at this moment...with the tools we have). We know the idea of building a robot that cleans your house probably is not feasible, but allow them to share all of their thoughts with you. Offer your students some guidance such as looking at a budget, considering: “Can you afford to start this business right now? Do you have the space or supplies needed? Will others want to buy your product or service?” Remind your kid entrepreneur that starting a business means being a risk taker and it doesn’t always work out the way we planned the first time, but you learn from your actions and try something different until you get it how you want it. Listen to your child and continue to ask them questions that encourage deeper thinking around their idea. Your child should see you as their biggest fan as they take on this venture. 

Steps to starting a business. After generating ideas, have them design their vision of what the product or service will look like.

  • What supplies will you need?
  • How much will it cost?
  • How much will you be charging for this product?

If it is a service, have them make a list of what they will be providing to the customer. This is the perfect time to practice making a budget, encourage your child to use their own money. If needed, they have the opportunity to get a small loan from an adult. This will help them know how much to charge for their product or service in order to pay the loan back and still make a profit. Next, allow your child time to come up with how and where they will market their business. If age appropriate, they could create a free website, set up a stand in their yard, or check with local Farmers Markets on having a weekly booth. Lastly, they will need to create a prototype and ask questions such as, “How can I make this better?”. There is always room for growth and entrepreneurs never stop learning or improving their products and services. Most importantly, encourage them, continue to ask questions that spark their curiosity and interest, listen to their ideas and offer constructive feedback. The best ideas are often the ones that others do not understand.

 

Resources for Summer Reading

Here are some books and articles you might enjoy reading with your children about entrepreneurs:

●      Gitanjali Rao, TIME Magazine’s 2020 Kid of the Year (scientist & inventor) - from Highlands Ranch

●      https://www.loweybundysichol.com/books ( From an Idea To..)

●      What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur by: Rana DiOrion and Emma D. Dryden.

●      How a 13 year old turned her dream into a sweet 6 million candy empire

 

For more on Leadership at Entrepreneurship at Aspen Academy, click here.

 

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About the Author

Jennifer Gravlee, Aspen Youth Leadership Institute & Aspen Entrepreneurial Institute Coach

Jennifer was born and raised in Bartlett, Tennessee and graduated from the University of Memphis with a major in Elementary Education. She brings 7 years of teaching experience to Aspen and loves helping children grow and learn. She can best be described as energetic, outgoing, passionate and optimistic.

 

Degree:

B.S., Elementary Education & Special Education, University of Memphis