14562 days ago
Over the weekend I had the absolute pleasure of helping my 4 year old son launch his first business. All week he would tell people that he was starting a lemonade business. You see I told him a bedtime story last week about the dad and the little boy who started a lemonade business; I walked him through every step, even down to the part of spending the profits. That night I planted a seed in him and all week long it grew until by Saturday morning he just couldn’t wait to get outside and start selling some lemonade.
The day started off with us going to the store and buying lemons, poster size paper, cups, and some hot coco mix since it was cold. Once home, he and his 2 year old sister helped me wash the lemons and squeeze them into a measuring cup. We needed 2 full cups of lemon juice, which totaled about 15 small lemons. We then added the sugar and water, and within 30 minutes we had some of the best tasting lemonade ever made!
I knew the kids were excited so I really did my best to make everything perfect for them, we had large signs on my GMC Yukon, a nice little table, and we even brought out the Keurig to make some coffee and coco for customers who may not want lemonade on a day where the high was about 50 degrees.
Within a minute, as I was taping a sign onto my SUV window, I looked over and my daughter had the lemonade grasped in her arms, I told her to stop which caused her to make a run for it, realizing she couldn’t run with the lemonade, she threw it on the driveway, spilling all of the lemonade. My son’s face and body immediately shifted down into a sad frown. I told my daughter that what she did was wrong, but within 1 second I quickly shifted gears and let the kids know that everything would be fine, since we could still sell the coffee and coco.
All was good, especially since we already had our first customer walking over, an elderly women who lives nearby saw the children and the signs and headed over with 50 cents in hand ready to buy some hot coco.
This is where I really found great pleasure in the day, my son was amazing, asking her what she would like…if she wanted some sugar to add in, what kind of cup did she prefer. Then he took great pride into making sure the coco was put in properly, the brew button was pushed, he held the cup so the wind wouldn’t knock it down, and then when it was full, he handed it to the customer and told her thank you.
He did this for every single person that came by, which to my disappointment was only a handful. It tore my heart up seeing 50 cars drive by and not one stopping by as he waved his arms. Luckily we have good neighbors and one car did stop by at the very end when we were cleaning up. I think he made about $4.50 that day, however I tipped him 50 bucks so I could make good on the part of the story where the little boy saved 50% and headed off to the toy store. The tip equally matched the service I received as he poured my half and half into my freshly brewed coffee.
On the way to the toy store, he told me “Dad, I’m making money like you now, I’m making you happy.” Hearing this of course did make me happy and laugh. My response to him was that I was happy that he made some money, but what made me really happy was how he treated his customers. Seeing him take such pride in his work and being so meticulous, even as a 4 year old, in making sure his customers were thrilled with his services was a very proud moment for me.
In my own business, I have come to learn that getting passionate about your customers’ happiness and always striving to over deliver is the only way to do business. It’s one of the reasons why everyone reading this probably has no issues in doing business with companies like Disney, Marriott, Costco, or Apple. The magic in these companies is that they over deliver and have some of the best customer service in the world.
Seeing my son not only excited to start a business, but passionate about his customers was one of the greatest joys I have had as a father. To top it off, he was so thrilled in helping people get his hot coco, the money was an after thought, he was more concerned with going to the neighbor’s house and taking them some hot coco, then he was receiving his 50 cents.
If anyone has ever read up on successful people, this is a quality you will find; it’s never about the money, it’s about doing what you enjoy. I think my son’s behavior is a good example for all of us in how we should treat people, especially for those of us in business.
The day ended with us playing with their new toys, he got some trucks, and she bought a few Cinderella dolls. Later that night we all cuddled in his bed, I remember laying down holding one in each arm as they began to breath heavy as they fell asleep. At that very moment in my life everything was perfect. I thought to myself, I could relive this day forever.