The kids learned the most difficult part of business - finding customers.
Since I helped the kids sell soda to high school students walking past our house on their lunch break five years ago, they are always coming up with new items to sell. Selling pop left a big impression on them.
Since most of their ideas have a major flaw, I usually just listen and wait for it to pass, but their plan to sell ice cream really sounded good. They estimated the cost of the ice cream, noticed that local ice cream stores were packed, noted the hot weather in the forecast, discussed whether to buy cones or cups, discussed what flavors were most popular, and calculated the price required to sell the cones in order to make a profit. After days of discussion and planning I was ready to support this project so we took a trip to the store.
I felt so bad for them. They literally worked for hours and ended up loosing $19, but this was a huge learning experience. Not only did it require cooperation, planning, math, and art, but marketing skills as well.
My kids are a bit shy and have never wanted to order their own food at restaurants, ask a sales person in a store where the bathroom is, or any other task which requires talking to a stranger. Communication is a crucial skill in selling anything face-to-face.
My son was quite discouraged, but my daughter was determined to try again. After all, she still needed to recover her lost investment. They decided next time they will yell "Ice Cream for Sale" while walking down the street, carry a bell or something to make noise, and use a lighter cooler. If public school is in session they will try to go when the bus drops kids off.
They worked so hard and had a great idea. I hope they do better next time.