March 31, 2016

Small Business Advice - Wisdom From A Lemonade Stand

#8 in my Small Business Advice Series.
See the rest here: link

Wisdom From A Lemonade Stand

By Sean Claes

One Saturday in March I was driving through my neighborhood and I saw a bunch of kids hanging out on a corner near a park. One of them, a boy who looked about 7 or 8 years-old, was holding a sign and was running out on the street a little and flashing the sign at passing cars.

It wasn’t until I had already passed that I realized that there was a small table with drinks at the corner as well. It was a lemonade stand.

My wife and I have this thing that we agreed upon when we were dating that we would never pass a lemonade stand without buying something. It doesn’t matter that I don’t even like lemonade, but these are kids that are being little entrepreneurs and we want to support them.

Anyhow… I passed this one without buying anything. I felt a little bad, but since I didn’t even know it WAS a lemonade stand until I was well past it, I figured it was OK.

That got me to thinking about small businesses and how they attract customers. A storefront is like a big billboard for your business. If people can’t tell what your business is just by driving by… why would they shop there? So, here’s two quick things that I believe are important to have when operating a storefront… two main things at which these kids with the lemonade stand failed.

A Plan

Much like those kids on the corner who were all gathered together with no outward sense of purpose, many businesses seemingly have no plan. No pitch.  Meaning this… who are you as a business? What do you want someone to know about you without asking?

You shouldn’t have to explain what your business sells to someone who walks in your door or walks by your shop.  Plan the layout of your business around the items you sell. Showcase the things you have and build them into the fabric of your store.  Many store owners assume people know as much as THEY do about their business. Trust me. They don’t.


People should be able to tell where your business is and the name of it as they drive by. Choose bright and/or bold colors. Something that someone just can’t miss. Don’t get too fancy with your logo because the object is to actually be able to read it.  Just the name of your business and maybe a 2-3 word descriptor. Did you know the greatest number of words that a highway billboard should have is seven? And your sign is probably not THAT big.

Also, make sure your logo is readable at a quick glance. If your logo looks like a death metal band’s logo… nobody is going to know who you are and what you’re selling… so I wouldn’t suggest it.. well.. unless you’re catering to the underground death metal set…  but I bet you aren’t.


It may sound a little silly, but you can really learn a lot from these kiddos. Really. With a little work, your “lemonade stand” could become more than something people drive by without thinking twice.

About The Author: Sean Claes has worked with Mom and Pop shops, International Corporations and the Music Industry on their branding, marketing, events and communications for more than 15 years. This article is just a sample of the observations he's made over the course of that time. For more information or to see how he might be able to help grow your business, contact him at seanclaesATseanclaesDOTcom.
Read more Small Business Advice via his Small Business Marketing page - link.

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