Nine-year-old Lindsey, who’s visiting her grandmother and me, obviously has the entrepreneurial gene.

She decided on Wednesday to open the classic American neighborhood business, the lemonade stand. I suspect there are a few retail marketing lessons every business person could take from her example. In the real business though, small companies usually get help in the form of social media likes and shares from agencies like, so they can emerge on these platforms with adequate support, which is inevitable nowadays. But let’s get back to Lindsey!


Have you ever met a nine-year-old who didn’t believe anything was possible? When told “that won’t work,” her response is automatically, “well, what if we did this?

I’m not recommending that anyone take on the Don Quixote role, but there’s something to be said for enthusiasm and attitude.


Although the ambient temperature hovered in the mid-90s, Lindsey chose to park her table in the direct sunshine next to the street, rather in the shaded (and much harder to see) front porch.

People must know you exist if they are to buy from you. If they can’t see you, you’re too easily ignored.


Her question wasn’t “How much can I charge to make maximum profit,” but rather “how little can I charge so that everyone will want to buy?” She settled on twenty-five cents per eight ounce cup.


Lindsey posted signs a block in every direction. She also was quite vocal. Not a pedestrian nor the driver of any automobile on Collis Avenue missed the message that she had “ice cold lemonade for sale.”


As each customer finished a cup of lemonade, Lindsey first confirmed that they were satisfied. “It was good, wasn’t it?” When her customer affirmed that it was, indeed, good, she pointed out that a single eight ounce cup probably hadn’t completely quenched the customer’s thirst. She poured another and held it out to each customer.

Most bought a second cup.

Location, Reprised

Discovering that a crowd had gathered half a block away at a yard sale, Lindsey re-located her table to the yard sale, and offered cups of her lemonade to the hostess, and to the yard sale customers as well.

Summary: In a single afternoon, Lindsey grossed thirty-three dollars. And at twenty-five cents each, creating that many customers from scratch seems to me to be a rather impressive success.  Paying attention to retail marketing basics is always worthwhile when you’re fishing for customers.

Your Guide,
Chuck McKay

Marketing consultant Chuck McKayYour Fishing for Customers guide, Chuck McKay, gets people to buy more of what you sell.

Got questions about retail marketing fundimentals? Drop Chuck a note Or call him at 304-523-0163.