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Boom, Genius Child

image1My Early Business Days

My earliest memory of being an entrepreneur goes back to the third grade. Our elementary school bazaar was approaching and each student had the opportunity to sell (and purchase) products from their peers. The purpose was for us to put into practice what we had just learned about currency, however, it ended up being one of my first lessons in business.

I remember very clearly coming home and spending hours thinking about what product could stand out and create the most demand. To me, it was a competition that I was going to win. Opting out of baking brownies or making some sort of arts and crafts product like my peers, I instead convinced my mom to go to Rita’s Water Ice (my fellow Philadelphians can appreciate!) to get a few gallons of Italian Shaved Ice. I swore I’d be able to pay her back once the day was over and would also give her some free Italian ice. I don’t remember how much I charged or profited (although I was the most popular kid in school that day). What I do remember was the feeling of success, the passion I had from developing the idea and watching it into fruition.

When looking back I am quite impressed at my little self. I showed a few key elements to launching a successful business. Those being:

Assessing my competition: I evaluated my competition and knew my peers would probably be selling their own handmade crafts or baked goods as each year before them did. (boring!)

Analyzing the demand:
Late spring heat + non-air conditioned elementary school cafeteria + sugar-crazy 8 year olds = High Demand

Determining the type of business: Had I made my own Italian Ice, or sold popsicles, I doubt it would have been such a hit. I chose to go with a franchise model with Rita’s Water Ice because it was a known name, with a high demand, and lack of presence in that geographical area (I mean, hello, an elementary school cafeteria definitely does not have a famous water ice store!)

Securing an investor: I’m sure I didn’t actually pay my mom back (or give her the water ice as promised) but the thought process was there. Get her to invest the money upfront with the promise I would pay her back in full, PLUS a free scope as her interest in the investment.

Boom, Genius child.

Sadly, the business only lasted a few hours but I still feel the success of that little stand and it’s a great reminder of how a solid business strategy can be quite rewarding.