As the first warm winds weave through our neighborhood in early May, and I tend to some outdoor Spring cleaning, I notice two little girls making up games outside. They pause to chat with a neighbor out walking her dog. The lady walks on, and I can almost see the light bulbs pop over the girls’ heads. They excitedly set to work.
First they borrow a table from the porch, then a couple of small chairs. One girl runs inside, reemerging with paper and pencils. They set up shop at the curb and get very busy, doing.
“What are you guys up to?”
The older one proffers a three-by-five business card she’s just finished. I see a drawing of a dog and the words, “Pet Bisnis.”
“We’re starting a pet business.”
“What does that mean?”
She looks at me, puzzled, and shrugs, “You know, a pet business.”
The girls hawk their pet business to people passing by and I go back to my weeding. Like many young businesses they’re using the marketing resources they can afford – pragmatic business cards and word of mouth.
I check in on their startup a little later and find they’ve diversified. An open package of Ritz crackers spills out on their table. Each girl has a cracker in each hand and crumbs on her face.
“What’s going on?”
“We’re selling crackers,” says the younger girl.
“I took them without asking,” adds the older.
Sounds like they’re undercapitalized. A lot of businesses make that mistake.
The next time I check on the young entrepreneurs, most of the crackers have been eaten. They’re busy opening a carton of orange juice and lining up paper cups on the table. Soon they have ten cups lined up with an inch of juice in each cup.
“Orange juice?” I ask.
“Yep. A man said it was too hot for crackers but something sour to drink would be good, so we’re selling orange juice.” Nice. Now they’ve corrected their course of action in response to consumer demand.
Very savvy. Apparently they’ve found their niche, too. Two cups, emblazoned with dollar signs, each hold a nickel and a penny.
Watching these two young entrepreneurs explore their options and find their niche, I’m reminded of how I found my own, in my own “Pet Bisnis,” and I’m grateful for that – even if it did take me fifteen years to learn to do what they managed to squeeze into one warm, May afternoon.