Posts Tagged "Origins of an Entrepreneur"

Origins of an Entrepreneur

Origins of an Entrepreneur

Every kid has a touch of entrepreneurial spirit. It comes out as soon as they realize that the things they want, like toys, candy, ice cream, and DVDs, aren’t actually free. Kids say the darndest things I remember my then 4-year-old brother Jordan asking me to take him to the store to buy Pokémon cards. When I told him I didn’t have any money, he said, “Just go to the ATM and get some.” Then he gave me driving directions to the bank. Who needs a GPS unit when you have a determined kid in the car? More recently, my 3-year-old nephew Shane asked me why I didn’t have more Play-Doh at my house. Then, he told me we could “go buy it at the mall.” But I protested, “We can’t. I don’t have any money.” His response: “I have money.” Wow, he’d already started doing chores (small ones of course) to earn some cash. Both my brother and my nephew figured out that some adults would (eventually) decline their demands. But they quickly deduced that some way, somehow, they would need their own money to get what they wanted. That’s the entrepreneurial spark. Pom-pom racketeering In third grade, my friends and I resolved to turn our pom-pom making hobby into a small business. (Pom-poms are those puffy things made from yarn that you often see on clown costumes.) We had a large supply of yarn, courtesy of a knitting grandma, and dreams of big profits. We created two price points: a dime for a small pom-pom and a quarter for a large one. Once we exhausted our neighborhood customer base, we moved distribution to a much bigger market—our school. It didn’t take long before our business faced an imminent shutdown. The principal wasn’t very happy with our backpacks filled with pom-poms…and cash. We had to negotiate with him to be able to prevent our pom-poms from being locked up, but every deal has its price: no more selling (anything) at school. So maybe the pom-pom business wasn’t for me. That didn’t stop me from dreaming up new ways to make money. From lemonade stand to Broadway production The school year wasn’t really the best time for a kid to run a small business, so I set my sights on a summer job. What’s the perfect business for a 10-year-old during summer vacation? The lemonade stand, of course! I used to spend my summers at my Dad’s house. He lived on a street with lots of kids my age, so I had plenty of potential business partners. Cutting production costs We started with a small business loan from my Dad to purchase powdered lemonade mix and cups. For a few days, we were thrilled, but the overhead was killing our profits. We needed to cut the cost of goods sold. We were already using the cheapest cups possible, so we looked to the lemonade itself. That powdered mix was expensive—we could buy several huge bags of sugar for the same price. So that’s what we did. Living in Orange County, California, we had an endless supply of fresh lemons from the trees around our neighborhood. In fact, most people had so many that they encouraged us to take as many as we wanted and to keep coming back. The next day, we re-opened with a better product: fresh lemonade. Sales were brisk, but we eventually saturated the market on our street. We needed to emulate today’s restaurant trucks to stay profitable. Entering new markets by going mobile My Dad was a carpenter, and he was willing to contribute some...

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