Entrepreneurship starts early. For me, it started on 221 Curtis Street in Ohio.
Failed attempts at selling salt, painted rocks and rough-looking pottery didn’t really get the backing from neighbors and passers-by as I expected. But that summer, I found an old wooden crate from the Chrysler dealership a block away. With my brother Chris, I dragged it down our street, and with a little paint, sugar, garden hose water and some help from mom, we started a lemonade stand. With an Ohio drought and a long July, we must have made $200, at 10 cents at a time. (Eat your heart out, Girl Scout Cookie purveyors in front of busy grocery stores.) Fast forward to today, and my brother leads risk management in the insurance business out of New York and I run my own enterprise.
Why do I bring all of this up now?
Those entrepreneurship lessons early in life didn’t change too much for either of us, both corporately and in small business. Lessons learned then still apply to both of us today.
Customize Your Approach For The Client
We separated ourselves from our imitators down the block and around the corner by customizing our drinks. In some ways, we acted like bartenders for our repeat clients. On some days, we added an oatmeal cookie from a batch our mom made, and yes, we charged a bit more for the add-on. On Saturdays, we added food coloring. We needed our well-hydrated clients to come back, so we found new twists on the old products. We named some of our drinks and would personalize them for each person if they wanted to stray from the norm.
The simple lesson: See each client as a unique person in a unique circumstance, and treat them that way. This simple notion allows my small business today to thrive and build relationships that last.