For young people from 8 to 98
How Vincent and his friends became entrepreneurs
Ana María Ferris | Alejandro Bermúdez Illustrations Yonel Hernández
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Many thanks to: Isabela, 16 years old María Carolina, 14 years old Andrés, 14 years old Gustavo, 13 years old Fabiana, 10 years old Vicente, 5 years old For inspiring us to write this story. And to the grown ups: Rosario Anzola Maggie Henríquez Milagros Socorro José Rafael Bermúdez For helping us to make My First Business a reality.
Tell me and Iâ€™ll forget it. Show me, and I might remember it. Make me part of it and Iâ€™ll understand.
Riding along on their scooters Pijic, Toby and Vicent were spending their vacation learning how to do the most amazing jumps and the most daring turns and tricks. Zoooom,
wizzzzzz, wooosh! Just like every afternoon, they were on their way to the park.
Pijic, whose name means flower, was a beautiful indigenous girl, with mysterious black eyes. She liked to ride her scooter because she was very brave, and the more difficult the jumps, the more she enjoyed them.
Toby was a very talkative boy who loved eating. His friends enjoyed his company because he was very comical, but mainly because he told really funny jokes and said funny things.
Vincent was a curious and studious boy, who seemed to reach the sky with every jump. His tricks were famous in the park and he loved to tackle new challenges.
After having fun with their friends, Pijic, Toby and Vincent went over to talk to Mr Manolo, who they fondly referred to as
Grampy, because he was a very affectionate person who knew all about the world and always helped them when they had problems and was happy to answer all their questions.
One day, while they were building a huge sandcastle, Vincent told his friends that his mom was sad because she didn’t have any money. Worried, Pijic and Toby jumped up and ran to find Mr Manolo who, by chance, happened to be sitting on a bench reading a book called
Ok, I’m Going to Start my Business. “Grampy, come with us! Vicent needs your help.” Grampy quickly asked Vincent about his mom. While they were talking, Vincent started to feel so sad that two big sandy tears ran down his face. Grampy was moved and told him not to worry. “Don’t cry, Vincent. We can help your mum if you want.”
“So your mom needs money and is having a hard time at the moment. But, what do you know about money?” The three children looked at each other in surprise. “It’s what you use to pay for things and to save”, Vincent answered quickly. “Good. Excellent answer, Vincent”, Grampy said. “But let me tell you that it’s not always been like that. Many years ago, before money was
exchange the things they made by working so they could survive and that was called
bartering. For example, if a person had cows that produced milk and needed hay to eat every day then he would exchange the cows’ milk for the things he needed, like the hay for his cows. And what happened if nobody needed milk? “Then, bartering wouldn’t work”, Pijic said, jumping up and down.
“Exactly!” Grampy answered. “That’s why people needed
money. The first coins were made several hundred years before Jesus was born. They had a huge lion’s head printed on them, which was the symbol of royalty. “Ahhh… and now we use different coins and bills which are for different amounts”, said Toby. “I’ve even seen chocolate coins. It’s a shame
you can’t use them to pay for things, though, because they’re delicious”. “Toby, if money was made of chocolate there’d be none left. You’d have eaten it all!” His friends said, laughing. “But you also have to learn how important is be honest and clever in how you use money”, Grampy said. “And you have to learn how to save so you can have a better future”.
“But, all I want to know is how my mom can make more money”, Vincent said, still worried. “By working, son. You mom can make money by working in a shot, a business or an office. But she can also make money by setting up her own business”. “I wish she could have her own business”, Vincent said. “Well, your mom needs to think about what she likes doing and what her skills are. Then she’ll have to work really hard and be really organized. “She likes making yummy cakes”, Toby said. “You see? That is something she can do”, Grampy said. “And, her business will also provide a service to the community”.
The next day, the three friends got to the park and went looking for Mr Manolo again. “Grampy”, said Pijic, “we want to know if we can start our own business too.” “You’re not old enough to work yet; only adults work. You have to study lots first.” “But, Grampy, we’re on vacation”. “If you want, you can play at starting your own business”, he told them.
“Then, when you’re older you’ll have an idea of how to start and run a business”. “So, will you play with us?” They asked, all excited. “We want to learn how to start our first business!” “If that’s what you want, then I’ll help you”, Grampy said. “The first thing we have to do is find a business opportunity here in the park. Look all around you and at the people... What are they doing?
“There are children running around and playing lots”, Vincent said. “I can see people jogging”, said Pijic. “Very good!” Grampy exclaimed. “And what do those people have in common?” “They’re tired because they’ve done lots of exercise and they’re thirsty!” Toby said.
“You see?” Grampy said contentedly. “We have spotted something the park needs. People need to drink and that is a business opportunity. So, the people who come to the park would like to drink something. Let’s see... What might they want? “An ice cream?” said Toby, who never stopped thinking about food. “A cold lemonade”, Pijic and Vincent said.
“Let’s think... What would it be better to offer, ice cream or lemonade? After giving it a bit of thought, the three friends said they thought ice creams were yummy but that they ought to be kept in a freezer, so they decided to sell lemonade. “I have an idea”, Grampy said. “Let’s make two types of lemonade: one normal one, with water, lemon and sugar; and another with diet sugar and fresh fruit. The special one will have to be more expensive, of course.
That’s what we call a value-
added produce, because we’re going to add ingredients to it that will make it very special. Next you need to do a market
study to find out how much lemonade costs in other places. It’s like playing detective because you’ll have to investigate the prices of normal lemonade and a value-added lemonade.” “Playing detectives! How interesting!” they all said excitedly.
They rode their scooters to Mr Pepeâ€™s fruit shop, where they saw that normal lemonade cost $2 and the special (value added) lemonade cost $5. Then, they went to the cafe run by Mr Peralta, who they affectionately called Mr Belly, and saw that he sold them at a much higher price: $4 for normal lemonade and $7 for the special one. After that, they went to three more stores, noted down the prices and decided that they had finished their market study. They went back to the park feeling very happy then later on they went with Grampy to buy the ingredients they needed to make their first lemonades.
They met up at Toby’s house to begin a fun day of testing. Grampy, who was very professional, gave them all aprons, gloves and caps to use while they worked. When he saw them, Toby’s dad burst into fits of laughter. “We’re going to prepare the formulas for the lemonades. You have to find the perfect recipe, then write it down so you don’t forget it and so it always tastes the same.” Grampy explained to them. The three friends did several tests and discovered two delicious formulas. They immediately wrote them down in their notebooks.
“Now what do we do, Grampy?” “Now we’ll see how much you spent on the ingredients. Vincent quickly got a piece of paper out and began reading: “The sugar cost $2. The water cost $2. Each lemon cost 20 cents. The bag of ice cost $5. The fruit cost $3. The syrup cost $5 and the disposable cups cost $2. We spent $19.20 “But Grampy,” Toby said, “how are we going to know how much we should sell the lemonades for? “I think we’re going to have to do a looooot of sums”, Pijic said, worriedly. “Don’t worry, Pijic. We only have to add and subtract. You’ll see”, said Grampy. “It’s just like another game. You remember the market study you did? Well, now you have to decide how much to sell your lemonade for”.
The three friends chatted for a while and decided it would be a good idea if their lemonade were neither the cheapest (like Mr Pepe’s) nor the most expensive (like Mr Belly’s). They would sell the normal one for $3 and the super, value-added lemonade for $6. “Do you want to know how many lemonades you can sell in a day?” Grampy explained that sales depend on many things, even on the weather. For example, on a sunny day they could sell a lot more lemonade than on a rainy day, because not many people would go to the park if it was raining. “We’re learning lots, Grampy”, they all said enthusiastically. And that was the end of their exciting day of testing.
The next day the three friends met up again to go over the final details. “Grampy, how will the customers know we are selling lemonade in the park? “I have an idea”, said Pijic. “We can go round the park on our scooters to hand out leaflets with the information on them. “We’ll put a big sign on the stall”, Vincent said. “And we’ll do amazing tricks and turns. That way we’ll get even more attention.”
“What else do you think you need to get started?” Grampy said. “We have to learn to work as a team and be
organized so that each of us in charge of doing what we’re best at. Oh, and we also have to ask permission to put our stall up in the park. “Exactly. Good thinking, Vincent”. When the meeting was over, they had tons of interesting and fun ideas. For example, they decided it would be great to hand out leaflets at school and around the neighborhood. They also decided to create a website with a section for special orders for parties. Excited with the game of starting their first business, they all said goodbye to Grampy.
Pijic, Toby and Vincent went to the bank with their parents to withdraw some of the money they had saved up. Then they went back to the park earlier than usual. “Grampy, we don’t think we have enough money”, Toby said sadly. “Don’t worry, my little friends. If you need money to carry on with your game, I’ll loan it to you, then you can pay me back.” Excited by the good news, they continued with their plans. They went to see the park guard who gave them permission to set up in any spot as long as they left it tidy afterwards.
They went off to buy everything they needed to start their business game. Grampy loaned them the money they needed. They all made a huge colorful sign that said: LEMONADE. They wrote the different prices on it: one for the normal lemonade, and another higher price for the super value-added lemonade, with diet sugar and fresh fruit. They spent $80 buying everything they needed to start their business game. Happy, covered in paint and exhausted from so much playing, they went to bed.
The day came. The game would include everyone who visited the park. Toby preferred to man the stall, while Pijic and Vincent went off on their scooters, marveling everyone with their tricks. The first people interested in the lemonade soon arrived to play the role of customers in the game. The super value-added lemonade the most popular because of its attractive color and delicious taste.
The next day they sold much more lemonade. The shoebox they’d taken along to put the money in was full up. When they counted it, they realized they’d made back all the money they invested to start their game. “Amazing! You’ve reached the balance point”, Grampy told them. “What’s that?” they asked, curiously. “Let’s see. You invested $80 to buy the ingredients and materials you needed to start your game, right?
“Yes”, they said, still confused. “And the lemonades you sold made $80, right?” “Yes”, they said again. “Well, you reached what is called the balance point. In other words, you made back all the money you invested in ingredients and materials”.
“Does that mean that if we keep selling lemonade tomorrow then we will start to make a profit?” Pijic asked, excitedly. “That’s right... as long as Toby doesn’t keep eating the fruit!” exclaimed Vincent, seeing that his friend had his mouth full. Grampy asked Toby to take the money from the box and divide it into three equal parts and give it to each of them. “Do you think that’s how today’s profits should be shared out?” “Yes!” Toby said. “Then I can eat all the fruit in the world!” Pijic and Vincent looked at each other and started to laugh. “Of course you can’t, Toby! That’s not what the game is about.”
“You’re right, kids. Well done - that’s how entrepreneurs behave. You still have to manage the money.” And he showed them three envelopes. The first said Expenses. “This is where you put the money you need to keep buying lemons, sugar, fruit, cups, and everything you need to carry on with your game.” The second said Loan. “This is where you keep the money you owe. You need to repay your debts on time so people will trust you”. The third envelope said Growth. “Businesses have to grow, so you need money for the future. For example, you need money if you want to buy new tables, make more signs or even pay a helper if you ever need one.”
“You mustn’t forget how important it is to save money. The best way is to put it in the bank, where there are savings accounts especially for children and youngsters. If you save, you can satisfy your needs and desires. “I don’t understand, Grampy”, said Pijic. “What’s the difference between a need and a desire? “People have three basic needs in life: food, clothes and a home. “And there are desires as well, right?” Toby asked. “Of course”, Grampy answered. “For example, what would you like to have?” “A racing bike”, Vincent said. “A flute”, said Pijic. “I’d like a computer”, said Toby.
“So, you know that work helps people to satisfy their needs and desires”, said Grampy. After sorting out the money into the
expenses, loans and growth envelopes, Pijic, Toby and Vincent divided the profits between them. As it was getting late, the three friends said goodbye to Grampy. When he got home Vincent told his mum all about their amazing business adventure. Then he gave her the shoebox with part of the profits in it. “This is for you, mom, so you don’t have to worry. I don’t like seeing you sad.”
Vincentâ€™s adventure made his mom so happy that she decided to start her own business and asked the children and Grampy to teach her how. The new business was called Cafe Grampy, in honor of Mr Manolo. The day it opened was a very special day because the customers and friends celebrated with lemonade, music and amazing fireworks. In no time Cafe Grampy had become one of the best places in town because of its excellent quality and good service. Years went by and the adventure that had begun as a game, turned into a reality. The three friends and Grampy still got together to work on their drinks business, which had grown so big that they had stalls in almost all the parks in the country. It was a very successful and fun business. The three friends often got together to celebrate that their dreams had come true. Some say that then the lemons started singing and a cloud of cotton candy wound all around them, filling them to the brim with happiness.
Ana María Ferris / Alejandro Bermúdez Grupo Supernova Illustrations Yonel Hernández Graphic Design Gisela Viloria Printers Intenso Ofset, C.A. ISBN 987-980-12-5075-3 April 2013 / Caracas, Venezuela
First edition 10,000 copies
As children, we dream of setting up a business and even try to do it, but the fact is we don’t have a clue how to do it, nor do we know why money exists, or why teamwork is important. We aren’t sure how a dream could come true when we really want it to and really believe in it. As children, we don’t know how to ask for advice, listen to people or how to do things best. This enchanting children’s story, a true gem which is unique in its genre, provides a wealth of information about how to start a business and make it work in a fun, upbeat and cheerful way, while also showing many of the values that make life worthwhile. It helps us to understand why money exists, how to start a business, control it and run it. It also teaches us the value of friendship, solidarity and discipline; the value of grown ups, teamwork and, above all, how important it is to have a dream. The only way to achieve what we set out to do is if we allow ourselves to dream and believe in our goals. MY FIR$T BIZ is the result of a dream that brings together wonderful values that should be constantly present in our lives. Margareth Henríquez World President. Maison Krug, France
Libro infantil (versión en inglés) Ilustraciones Yonel Hernández