When I was growing up, running a lemonade stand was easy. You picked a hot day, made sure you had a good location, priced it right, and provided a quality product.
But in the Web 2.0 world we live in, that just isn’t enough. Everyone knows that it takes much less capital to start a business then it did 20 years ago, so everyone in your neighborhood is probably thinking about starting a lemonade stand too. How will you ever be able to beat the competition? Here is your guide to the “Web 2.0 Lemonade stand”.
- First, we need to come up with a cool name, preferably something that doesn’t in any way relate to lemonade. Using Register.com, I see that Drazooo.com and Bligreep.com are both available. (But don’t try and pick Drazoo.com with just two o’s – that of course is taken by squatters). We’re also going to need a logo – we can turn to Logomyway and post a competition for the best logo design to keep our costs down.
- Now we need to get the word out. We’ll use Twitter to tweet to our followers the location of our stand and today’s flavors, much like the Crème Brulee man does for his cart in San Francisco. Google ad-words will help us to advertise – let’s buy the keywords “lemonade” and “cold drinks”. We should build a mobile app for users to pretend they are drinking a glass of lemonade, much like the iBeer app does on the iPhone. (We shouldn’t limit our platform to just the iPhone, though, since Apple might not approve our app. Let’s build for Android also). Lastly, it would be a good idea to publish a Lemonade recipe eBook for the Kindle, to build our credibility. Especially now that the price has dropped to $139 (what a steal!)
- We must engage our network. It goes without saying that we’ll have a Facebook fan page. And on our website we should have as many Like buttons as we can. Since a lot of business people drink lemonade too (and have discretionary income to spend), let’s setup a LinkedIn Group for our business customers.
- To drive new customers we have to move beyond just passive marketing and engage customers directly. We can offer a 2-for-1 discount using Groupon (we should set a limit though to make sure we have enough supply). And to be really creative, let’s sell some virtual Lemonade on Farmville, with a link to a coupon for 50% off a real glass. Heck, we might end up making more money on our virtual lemonade than our real lemonade.
- Customers need to pay us, and cash is so 1990’s. Not only will we accept PayPal, but with our shiny new iPhone we’ll use the new Square plug-in to swipe and accept credit card payments. We’ll also need to figure out how we can accept Facebook Credits, since in ten years that will be the global currency for everything we buy.
- Once the customers start coming, we’ll need to deal with any complaints and reward our frequent customers. They will probably use Yelp to write their reviews, and we’ll respond directly to any complaints there. For our most loyal fans, we’ll reward frequent check-ins through Foursquare and Gowalla (and Google, and Facebook, and probably Twitter, and every other site that tries to cash in on location-based services) with badges and coupons.
- Lastly, it is time for us to raise venture capital to grow our lemonade business into a global powerhouse. If you want a lot of money and you’re a Web 2.0 business, you turn to Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian Internet Firm that has put hundreds of millions of dollars in Facebook, Zynga, and Groupon, and is looking for the next great business.
Oh, and I almost forgot, don’t forget that you actually need to buy some lemonade and some cups to sell to your customers. Otherwise, you’ll just be a Web 1.0 company.
Rocco Tarasi was an accountant, investment banker, and CFO before becoming a technology entrepreneur.