Entrepreneur Social Responsibility and Lemonade Day

April 13, 2011 at 2:53 pm 1 comment

Bob Phibbs, Greene County, NY Champion

This is a guest post from Lemonade Day Greene County City Champion, Bob Phibbs in New York State.

Entrepreneur Social Responsibility and Lemonade Day – Why You Should Give A Damn

One of the tasks Donald Trump had participants perform on the first season of The Apprentice was opening a lemonade stand. As that task showed, it’s not as easy as it looks if you’re accounting for costs and trying to make money.

Lemonade Day, started by Michael Holthouse in Houston four years ago, shows youth K-12 how to become entrepreneurs.

When hundreds of thousands of kids in over thirty cities register and pickup one of the bright yellow backpacks this month, they will embark on one of the oldest methods entrepreneurs were exposed to early in life – opening their own lemonade stand.

Through a series of 14 lessons that include setting a goal, budgeting, cost analysis, site selection, advertising, building a stand, opening a bank account, and giving back to charity, they learn over forty skills to prepare them for real life.

We want to reward individual initiative, goals, and dreams – not reward kids just because they show up. Kids have to overcome their fears and follow a path they may never have taken, but when they do they discover the rewards are great.

Students aren’t given anything but the workbook; they have to do the work to earn the money for themselves just like in real life…

But it’s not just about making money, it’s giving back…

Last year, kids sold $6.8 million in lemonade and gave back $2 million dollars to charities of their choice.

But that’s not why you need to know about and support this…

Lemonade Day helps parents see and nurture the entrepreneurial skills their kids will be called on to navigate an increasingly complex world as adults.

And that’s great but it’s not why you should get a damn.

This is…

American Business. Small businesses, big businesses, non-profit businesses, you name it, have been devolving lately.

Where once they were the ones creating a world of abundance for employees, for communities, and indeed for America itself, many have become increasingly focused on, “What can be given to me?”

That gimme attitude has created a true “lack” mentality in our culture and most importantly trickled down to our youth.

Lemonade Day became important to me while I was chatting with a contractor’s assistant working on my house. He shared that he hoped his son could grow up and get a job at the local prison because “that’s the best job he could get.” No one ever tripped the entrepreneur switch for him, so he figures the same fate probably waits for his kid.

In a world where “safe” jobs are disappearing, it will be up to the individual to make a living for themselves. If we don’t turn on that entrepreneur spirit in kids, we are looking at generations of people who won’t be able to start anything.

And that’s why you should give a damn about Lemonade Day on Sunday, May 1, 2011. Check out www.lemonadeday.org to find out about joining or supporting a city’s Lemonade Day.

I live in Greene County, a rural area two hours north of Manhattan where developing entrepreneurial spirit will make a huge difference to the future of its citizens. That’s why I’m championing this program with a goal to open 500 stands on Sunday, May 1.

An entrepreneurial mindset to social responsibility means teaching kids they have to be able to think on their feet and be welcoming to others. If they spend their Lemonade Day looking at their feet because they are shy, they’ll find out no one will buy from shy, quiet kids. Lemonade Day provides ways for them to overcome that before it becomes a life pattern.

This isn’t a project for a troop, class or club.  Entrepreneurs are individuals. It’s not trophy day.

If we as business owners could change the mindset of kids early, they’ll learn they can be rewarded for their minds, their creativity, indeed their entrepreneurism.

There are so many kids out there planning to do nothing when they graduate. If this sparks them to go out and open more businesses, we’ll have succeeded.

If we miss the chance to show youth that making money is a good thing, not something to be vilified like in the movies and on TV, then we as a society have truly failed.

And those are some of the reasons you as an entrepreneur should give a damn about Lemonade Day.


Bob Phibbs is the Retail Doctor® an industry authority on customer service and sales, professional speaker and author of The Retail Doctor’s Guide to Growing Your Business (Wiley.) Phibbs has helped hundreds of businesses in every major industry, including hospitality, manufacturing, service, restaurant and retail. Find out more about him at www.retaildoc.com.

Follow Greene County Lemonade Day on facebook and YouTube for all things Greene Lemonade.

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Entry filed under: Entrepreneur Stories. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • […] the operational costs for the day, selecting a location based on how sales will be impacted, among a number of other skills that help to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit. Come the end of the day, a portion of all the money earned is then donated to a charity of choice, […]

    Reply

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