Auntie G

When life gives you lemons…

This year, Auntie had a bumper crop of lemons. Mountains of fat, juicy, fragrant fruit crying out to be squeezed. But there’s only so much lemon pie a spinster aunt can eat, so she decided to put them to good use and turn a profit for her local dogs’ home.

She dug out Grandma Dot’s lemonade recipe and got squeezing, boiling, stirring, straining, chilling and sampling until she had the most refreshing, all-natural cordial oozing with freshness that no shop-bought version could rival. A quality product that people would surely be happy to pay for.

Early next morning, she sat at a table in her front yard surrounded by jars of lemonade and cool boxes filled brimming with ice, waiting for her first customer. An hour later she was still waiting. She waited a little more… and then some more.

At midday, her neighbour Earl took a break from mowing his lawn and ambled over. He paid his 50 cents and swallowed the contents of his cup in a single gulp. “Auntie,” he said, smacking his lips. “That’s the best lemonade I ever had.” Then he left.

Earl was Auntie’s only customer that day. It was a disappointment, but a wake-up call too. Her quality product, contacts and charm weren’t enough to make the sales she’d imagined. Old methods didn’t work anymore. Times, and her market, had changed. Her methods had to follow suit.

Auntie needed a new strategy that included market research, smart placement and even smarter tools to stand out from the crowd. She spent the next two days researching, plotting and planning. She set up a lemon-lovers’ Facebook page, created online lemonade stories, posted ads and citrus trivia on community sites, set up events and stirred up interest.

That weekend, she left her front yard and set up shop at the Finish line of the local Fun Run. Charity runners were given a free first glass, but she sold three times as much to the cheering crowds. A lemon-themed photo booth gave selfie addicts the chance to share their best lemonade duck-faces on social media. Returning slurpers who brought their cups back got a refill for half the price.

By teatime, she’d sold out and her notebook was bursting with orders. Her beloved pooches would do well out of her glut of lemons, after all.

So, what made the difference from one day when her only fan was ambling Earl, and the other when she was flooded with customers? Her product hadn’t changed. The way she sold it had. There were no extra costs – her only investment was time, effort and imagination to come up with a new approach.

She’d stepped away from tried and tested methods which no longer produced results and found new ways to connect with people in a market flooded with rivals. In doing so, she stood out even before they tried the ONLY lemonade in town.

Auntie learned a lesson: to survive and thrive in a changing environment, she adapted to the new reality. And if a spinster aunt with an over-productive citrus tree can do that, why can’t we?