by Natalie Tolhopf
My dad was a business owner for many years. He used to own the Four Square on Bank St in Whangarei. Maybe I served you there as a young teen? He also had a fruit shop in Birkenhead. So, it is no wonder that, as a young child, I had numerous lemonade stands outside our front yard.
The other weekend my two girls wanted to sell iced tea. I jumped at the chance to encourage this. Kiwi kids, doing the kiwi thing; Selling from their front yard.
We spoke about how to educate the market around iced tea, seeing as it was winter. We looked at ways to entertain, educate and supply the needs of the prospective customers and find marketing words like: 'Spring is coming, why wait to taste it now?!' or: 'Iced Tea is refreshing, invigorating and free from sugar'.
At the beginning, they were excited, worked hard to set up the stand, swept the driveway, decorated the table, split their job roles and had their first customer (thanks neighbour!)
But, of course, the reality set in within half an hour. How many of us can relate to this?
They asked me: "Why is no one buying mum?" and "Where is everyone?"
Even from a humble lemonade stand, the simplicity of running a biz is the same. As their attitude shifted from excited to deflated, I shifted their energy and cranked up the radio. We went door-knocking to let people know we were there. While one was door-knocking the neighbours, the other tidied up the stand, made it colourful, sweep the driveway and added more signs.
Sure enough, after people had driven past, they stopped on the return journey – a big lesson in needing to be seen more than once.
On reflection, the girls learnt that next time they would have a bigger table to be seen, let the neighbourhood know a few days in advance, have the ability to walk around with the product and be more mobile. But mostly, they learnt to be patient and keep their attitude and body language positive!