BOSTON — Summer's here, and lemonade stands are sprouting like daffodils. Quaffing profits and giving change with sticky hands and citrus smiles is a part of summer. Marketing, personnel, rent, and profits are all factors that kids learn when setting up their business.
Being an entrepreneur gives youngsters a jump start in understanding the financial world. Michael J. Searls, president and CEO of Summit Financial Products Inc., notes that in 1995, 35 million children age 4 to 12 had a total annual income of $20.3 billion and spent $17.1 billion. Moreover, the income of children has grown at a clip of 20 percent a year for most of this decade, according to American Demographic, a company that tracks demographic trends. Paul Richard, Director of Education at the National Center for Financial Education, recommends that when children start a business, exposure is the key. And to ignite entrepreneurial vigor, adults should encourage students to pursue their interests.
"For children to excel, they have to do something they love," says Mr. Richard. He notes the critical thing is that students must possess the ability to hang on to earnings.
But if lemonade stands aren't your cup of, ahem, juice, try something else. Daryl Bernstein did. He started his first business when he was eight and had several growing up. He published his first book at 15. In the book "Better than a Lemonade Stand: Small Business Ideas for Kids," Mr. Bernstein suggests potential summertime jobs for children, including: birthday-party planner, comparison shopper, cage cleaner, computer teacher, dry-cleaning deliverer, fresh-flower deliverer, garbage-can mover, new-product assembler, photograph organizer, sheet and towel washer, silver polisher, and wake-up caller.
Bernstein suggests these tips for getting started and getting customers.
*Get out and meet people.
*Time your advertising around events happening in the community. If there is going to be a parade, that's the time to start the lemonade stand.
*Be creative with advertising.
*If you can't add more customers, add more services. If your business isn't meeting a demand, branch out and find a need.