Remember when life was easy? School was out for the summer and you spent your afternoons catching grasshoppers and trying to build a bridge over the small pond in your neighborhood. And then you realized that your bridge would be much more structurally sound, and most certainly the envy of all your friends, if you only had better building materials rather than settling for your Dad's rusty old nail collection and the brittle twigs you found in your yard. Hmmm, looks like you will be needing some money. Drat.
Then one morning you awaken with a plan so genious that it shines brighter than the AM sun shimmering off the glistening dew drops. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but your plan definitely shone as brightly as the dim glow from that poor little firefly in the jar on your nightstand. Yes, you need to make some money so you decide to SELL something. Oh, joy! You are a genius, but what can you possibly sell? Hmmm, your baby brother? No, that would probably upset Mom. Um, your comic books? What!? Not on your life. Instead, I, like every other budding young entrepreneur, opened up my very own lemonade stand.
So, after evaluating my resources (Lemonade? Check. Table? Check. Sign? Check.), and doing some research (or at least reading the Peanuts comic strip to see how Lucy did it), I put my dream into action. I will admit that finding the capital for my initial start-up was one of the greatest challenges, as my dad's frugality easily makes Ebeneezer Scrooge look philanthropic. But Mom turned out to be pretty good at "resource development" and was able to convince Dad to float me a loan with a good interest rate.
Then, as my pockets overflowed with ambition and borrowed money, I headed towards the store and bought the necessary goods to get my start-up started up. I used the powdered lemonade mix because it was really cheap and then I added a little "sha-zam" with a slice of lemon on the side of each cup to make it look like the real deal. (At this point I have to wonder whether that involved questionable business ethics or simply good marketing strategy...)
Eager to begin business the next morning, I arranged cups in perfect rows in my mind while visions of paying customers danced through my head. And, at the crack of 7:30 am, I bounced out of my bed and put the finishing touches on my masterpiece. Our dilapidated old card table never looked so grand as it did that morning, covered by a red checkered tablecloth and boasting those perfectly lined cups I'd envisioned the night before. A bowl of bright yellow lemons to display and of course, my big "Lemonade 25 cents" outdoor sign completed this delightful glimpse of nostalgic capitalism. And then I waited.
Several cars passed by, and my neighbors smiled and waved. A few bought "pity" cups of refreshing lemonade, but obviously, this wasn't the instantly gratifying cash cow I had predicted. I needed more traffic, I needed a way to get people to see my lovely refreshment stand in all its glory...because I was going to have to pay my dad back. With more determination than ever, I looked over my previous research (read the funnies again) and concluded that Lucy's signs were a lot better than mine. She had interchangeable sign parts for adjusting prices to reflect the highly delicate balance of supply and demand. And she had moveable parts for announcing the open and close of business (I gathered this from the "the doctor is in/out" signs from her secondary psychiatry business).
I knew what I had to do so I got busy right away, measuring and snipping away with Mom's best sewing shears (I didn't know they were only for fabric...) until I had transformed that boring old tablecloth into four stunning achievements of advertising wizardry. Each beautiful sign became a replica of my lemonade stand - the bright white upper half of mystill boldly announced "lemonade 25 cents" as the bottom half was dressed in the flowing tablecloth to recreate the shape of my table. Two carefully placed metal rods became the table legs as well as the stakes for sticking my signs into the ground on strategic high-traffic intersections of suburbia. I cut slits in the bottom of my bright red plastic cups so I could attach them to the top of my to look like the inviting drink was sitting right on top of my table/sign. This 3D component of my sign also featured a huge arrow that directed viewers right to my refreshing lemonade stand.
And as they always say, "the rest is history." I was able to pay my dad back in no time and even bought Mom a new pair of sewing shears. The creek, however, never was successfully spanned in a way that could support the weight of anyone heavier than a pitcher of ice-cold lemonade. (I guess it's fortunate that I stuck with advertising and marketing rather than engineering.)
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