Lemonade stands have been around since the 19th century, but they haven't evolved much over the years. The humble lemonade stand is also a surprisingly controversial subject amongst entrepreneurs - some see them as a tool to teach kids valuable business skills, while others say running a lemonade stand isn't anything like running a real business. Personally, I love lemonade stands; they are microcosms of business, representing the broader points of running a company, and I always support my sons when they want to make one. But some of those points can be a bit old fashioned, such as its marketing. Marketing doesn't have to stop at backwards L's and frantically waved signs - in fact, I don't see any reason to keep your lemonade stand off of social media as it can teach aspiring 'kidpreneurs' a few great lessons.
Lesson One: Planning and Monitoring
I'm a mom, so all sorts of alarms start ringing when I think about putting this sort of event online. But just like any other business, social media can be used to monitor all the different parts of running a lemonade stand. For this little exercise you can, of course, make any event pages private and invite only family and close friends. But the main purpose is to help you and your kidpreneur gauge interest, attenuate supply, and reach untapped markets - like family who may not live in the neighborhood. They learn how to make a plan, and you're able to keep any eye on everything.
Lesson Two: Think Long-Term
Lemonade stands tend to be flash-in-the-pan events. Your kids decide they want to make one, so you help them set up a card table and mix a few pitchers. There aren't a lot of kids that think long-term, but something like this rudimentary social marketing campaign forces them to. They have a date set in the future and need to generate interest in it. How they do that, and keep it up, is long-term thinking. There is a build-up, and once they recognize that, they start to learn patience and foresight.
Lesson Three: Social Media is a Tool
A study by Business Insider published last year found that social media was the top activity on the internet. Social is here to stay, and while the face of the beast may change over the next few decades, it's still important to teach kids that it's a tool, not some all-dominating, mystical force in their lives. Further, it can be utilised for more than just talking to their friends; after all, a lesson in social media is a lesson in marketing. And that's a good lesson to learn since, even if the world of social marketing looks completely different by the time they're adults, steadfast rules like engaging with customers and making quality posts should still be around.
Lemonade stands aren't about teaching kids how to run a successful business - there's no competition, pricing is pretty static, and chances are the parents are footing the bill for supplies. Instead, they're about showing kids that entrepreneurism can be fun, as well as teaching good, real-world skills, like how to talk to customers, how to make change, and how to set and achieve goals. Social media is a tool - a means to an end - and it's up to them to decide what that end is.
And, in my opinion, helping them run a very basic social marketing campaign can really drive that point home.