Thinking outside the lemonade stand
The other day I was reminded of a story about two young entrepreneurs named Marty and Chris. They decided lemonade stands reminded them too much of archaic outdated business models that made average homogeneous products (Ok, this is my version of the story). They did want to do something different from every other kid in the neighborhood. I mean, how much better can you make lemonade than Molly or Jimmy down the street?
Each of the last two summers Chris and Marty ran a mildly profitable lemonade stand. The only problem was, each summer new stands were going up. The James twins now had a lemonade stand as did the Thompson kid. In addition, the youths living three streets away sold pink and regular lemonade. Sure, they all lived in a populous neighborhood on one of the connecting streets between two main roads that brought many prospective clients by.
Unfortunately, this summer’s business was slow. It was almost as if they became invisible to the drivers passing from Market St. to Oak Ave. Their pitcher of tart nectar quenched the thirst of a few save the police officer parked one block north of their plot. He emerged twice a day from his hiding spot — a canopy of pines and elms which stretched their arms towards the sun providing him shade and stealth. This gave Chris and Marty an idea.
The following day as Brad White was running late to a lunch appointment and hurriedly driving down the cut-through street he saw a boy sitting in a lounge chair, under an umbrella, sipping lemonade, and holding a sign that read SLOW DOWN!! COP WITH RADAR 1/4 A MILE AHEAD.” Faithfully, Brad’s foot compressed the brake pedal and the car’s speed dropped just below the speed limit as he noticed a police car crouched in the tree-line like a lion lying in wait for unknowing prey along the Serengeti.
“That was close” Brad mused.
About a mile down from the radar-wielding officer was another boy, fashioned much like the first, with a sign which read “TIPS PLEASE.” Brad pulled over next to where the boy sat holding a stack of greenbacks and tossed him a $10 bill.
Everyday opportunities are hidden in plain sight all around us. Like being in the Matrix, the passing parade of humanity glides through life in a conscious coma of mediocrity. Only those who challenge the status quo and battle the enemy of average will have the veil of ordinary lifted.
When we step away from the masses our creativity gains strength, no longer drained by the kryptonite of the mundane, and we can see the opportunities to contribute in ways others haven’t. The greater our contribution to our community and marketplace the greater the rewards we reap. We must continue to cast off restraints and free our creative minds. Then we will have the vision to see the opportunities that lie invisible to the crowd.