Tonight, I was inspired by my daughter. I haven’t had the chance to spend much time with my oldest daughter Lily; however, the moments we do spend together are genuinely some of the most memorable moments of my life.
It’s always interesting speaking with your children, especially after being disconnected due to unfortunate circumstances.
You realize that even though they’ve been so far away, so disconnected, no matter what, there is so much of you within their heart and soul, which is truly a miraculous thing to witness.
My daughter Lily patiently waited for me to get off a work call, here it is late in the evening, waiting for her dad to come to hang out after a long day.
She was excited to share that she finished all her homework and spent all evening practicing math.
Once she had caught me up on her ventures for the day, she said:
“Baba, I want to start a business.”
Now… In our household, business is our primary language, the source of most conversations.
However, Lily’s life has not been surrounded by business, but she’s a fast and eager learner.
Since coming to live with us, she has witnessed the meaning of business from the perspective of two parents who believe in business as an engine for change rather than profits.
Throughout this, her interests had peaked, and she finally came clean by stating that she’d like to start a business, and not just any type of business, a chef store.
I assumed by Chef Store, she meant a restaurant of some type, and after some clarification, she defined what specifically she wanted to start, which was a coffee shop.
Since Lily has joined us, she has been fascinated with my wife’s ability to make percolated Cuban coffee.
A certain level of dedication and love goes into each cup, and as good mothers do, she passed down the process to Lily in just a couple of short weeks.
See… My daughter Lily is only 9, just about to turn 10, and now capable of making a professional cup of percolated Cuban coffee with her eyes closed, and she now wants to take her newfound skill to build her very own coffee shop.
I told her when she approached me about starting it:
“Well, Lily, then get on it. It’s time to start it!”
She kicked back a barrage of excuses on why she could not start her business, and she needed things such as a store, chairs, foundation, business license, and all of the other barriers most perceive as the actual startup costs of a coffee shop.
However, I told her, what if I told you that none of that was important and that getting started only involved three simple steps.
These three simple steps could be applied to creating a business…
Even more importantly, they are pivotal steps that you will use for the rest of your life for just about everything once you master them.
Lily’s eyes lit up with excitement. She went from reclining on the couch to sitting straight up, ears perked, ready to go!
I said to her: “I am going to ask you a couple of questions, just to help you understand, is that okay?”
Lily responded: “Okay?”
I then embarked on a couple of simple questions, such as:
When you go to Starbucks, do you go for the store location?
She replied: No….
When you go to Starbucks, do you go for the foundation of the building or the chairs you sit in?
She laughed, of course not, Baba…
I then asked, so why do you go to Starbucks?
“FOR THE COFFEE!!!!” She replied.
I said then, let’s talk about step one… Build.
To start anything, you have to build something, and in this case, you’ll need to create your very own special cup of Lily’s Percolated Cuban Coffee.
Then, I continued, now that you’ve built your cup of coffee or perhaps created several cups of coffee with the percolator, what should you do?
Lily stared, then replied: “Drink it?”
If you drank it, how would you “Share” it?
She said, “Ah, so I should share the coffee.”
I replied, “Of course,” she said:
“Well, who do I share it with.”
I said, just a few people to start with, could be me, could be Tara (her stepmother), or even TT Carly, who lives next door, and when you do share it, you need to ask a few simple questions.
Did you enjoy your cup of coffee?
Would you tell others about the coffee?
How much would you pay for that cup of coffee?
We then continued to discuss the types of answers she would receive.
We then talked about, okay, so what’s next?
She never misses a beat on anything I say, she heard me say three steps, and she had already learned Build and Share.
So she asked… “What’s the third step, Baba.”
I then replied:
“Lily, now it’s time to build more cups of coffee, then share those cups of coffee, except this time let’s charge everyone $3.00 for the cup.
Now pretend, you make 10 cups of coffee, then you go out and share those 10 cups, each person who you share with you let them know that it’ll cost $3.00 for a cup.”
I continued with: “Now, not everyone is going to say yes. Let’s say that out of the ten people you ask; only five say yes. How much money did you make from those cups of coffee.”
She replied: “I think $15.00.”
I then continued, “Now let’s pretend that it cost $1.50 per cup of coffee you made, how much actual money did you make from your five sales”.
Blank stares, I realized that I had gotten a bit too advanced.
However, I explained that there is a cost to making the coffee, and it’s just as important to understand your expenses as much as your profits.
I said, “Pretend that since you made those ten cups, that each person who said no, you gave them a cup, since the coffee would go bad anyway, and also since the goal is to share, you might as well provide them with it whether or not they buy.”
By this point, you could tell all she cared about was the third step.
So, I asked, “Lily, let’s pretend you went to Starbucks and tried a new drink, and you loved it. What is the next thing you would probably do?”
She said: “I would probably tell my friends about it.”
I replied: “Why would you tell your friends.”
She said: “Because I loved the cup of coffee.”
I continued… “Then there you go, the third step is to love. If you can build a product, share a product, and those you share it with love that product.
Then you have officially started a business.”
She said: “but when do I get the coffee shop”
I then replied: “When you build and share enough of your coffee that people love, you will have earned enough money to buy a store. Just remember Lily, the only thing that matters is that you build and share something that people love, that’s all that it takes.”
She then replied:
“Well, Baba, I think it’s time to start a business then. Would you like a cup of coffee.”
I replied: “Every day for the rest of my life.”