On a sun-drenched summer day, Bob and Edgar, embarked on a mission to start their own lemonade stands. Their stories provide us with a valuable lesson on prioritizing swift decisions and aggressive action over continuous planning.
Bob’s Never-Ending Planning
Bob began with meticulous planning. He researched the perfect lemon-to-sugar ratio, studied the best lemonade stand designs, and predicted the ideal spot based on pedestrian traffic patterns. He looked into obtaining quality lemons, even considering importing some from overseas. Bob also planned an extensive marketing campaign, complete with social media promotions and branded merchandise.
Weeks went by. The weather began to turn cooler. Pedestrians strolling through the neighborhood saw no lemonade stand; instead, they saw Bob buried in his plans, adjusting, fine-tuning, and strategizing.
Edgar’s Swift Decisions and Aggressive Action
Edgar, on the other hand, took a different approach. He set up a simple table in his front yard, mixed a quick batch of lemonade from what he had on hand, and scrawled a bold “Lemonade for Sale!” sign on a piece of cardboard. He hollered to the neighbors, waved down passersby, and even got his younger sibling to hold up the sign at the nearby intersection.
Yes, he faced hiccups. Maybe his lemonade was a bit too tart one day, or he ran out of cups and had to scramble for alternatives. But with every setback, Edgar adapted quickly. He noted which sales techniques worked and which didn’t, optimizing as he went. By the end of the week, not only had Edgar earned a tidy sum, but he’d also cultivated a loyal base of repeat customers.
It helps to keep things simple. Focus on the important stuff and you’re off to a good start. What’s the important stuff?
Find customers. Sell more. Collect cash.
Bob’s plans were undoubtedly well-thought-out, but while he was still plotting pedestrian traffic patterns, Edgar was actively engaging with his community. He quickly learned that the nearby park-goers were his best customers and adjusted his hours to catch them at peak times.
Edgar’s in-the-moment observations allowed him to upsell effectively. When he realized some customers wanted a sweeter drink, he introduced a “super sweet” option for a few cents more. Not bound by a rigid plan, he was free to innovate, experimenting with add-ins like fresh mint or berry infusions. Customers appreciated the variety, and sales soared.
If you’re not selling, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby.
By the end of the summer, Edgar had not only made a profit but also built relationships and earned the goodwill of his customers. Bob, though armed with knowledge and intent, had yet to make a single sale.
The contrast between Bob and Edgar’s lemonade stands is stark but illuminating. In the world of business – whether it’s lemonade or high-tech startups – there’s a balance to be struck between planning and action.
Planning is undeniably crucial. It provides structure, direction, and a framework for decision-making. But, when planning becomes a procrastination tool, preventing us from taking action, it ceases to be helpful.
Edgar’s approach exemplifies the philosophy of “Ready, Fire, Aim.” By this, we mean that sometimes it’s better to get started (Ready), take action (Fire), and then refine based on feedback and results (Aim). The benefits of this approach, as seen through Edgar’s lemonade stand, include immediate feedback, rapid iteration, and the ability to seize opportunities.
In business, especially where the primary goals are to find customers, sell more, and collect cash, waiting for the “perfect” plan can often mean missing out on valuable opportunities. The market is dynamic. Customer preferences shift, competitors emerge, and external factors can change the landscape overnight. In such an environment, the ability to make fast decisions and act aggressively is the difference between a thriving business and one that’s dying.
As you embark on your next venture or evaluate your current strategies, remember the lesson of the lemonade stands. Consider when it might be time to set aside planning in favor of aggressive action.
Be bold, be adaptable, and be ready to seize the moment.
If you enjoyed reading this and want to show your support, you can check out my non-fiction and children’s books at edgarescoto.com.