Posted by Cian on Aug 16, 2016 11:00:00 AM


My 4 year old son loves LEGO. He likes the mini-figures, action heroes, chima and somewhere, somehow was introduced to Star Wars figures. Now, he wants them. As a parent, we hate saying no. Something deep inside us makes us feel bad when we can't give what our child wants. That being said, we know we must say no for many reasons such as health, education, safety etc.

As a background, across the road are a massive growth of wild blackberries. They are grown and ripened with nothing but nature to assist. There are no GMOs, fertilizers etc. My son loves fruit and went to pick some the other day. After an hour of picking, there was a collection of 4 quarts. One post on a local message board and the four quarts sold for $20!


Now, this morning my son asked for a Lego stormtrooper. "Can I get a storm trooper?" he inquired.  "Sorry little bud, we are going to have to earn some money before we can do that," advised Mommy. His response was, "I am sure there is money in the house, lets go look." After a half hour of looking, he realized there was none. Then he remembered the berries. "Lets pick berries!!" He squealed with excitement. He knew berries = money. "Are you sure buddy? They are prickly and it will take at least an hour...and then we have to sell them," came the motherly advice. "I'm O.K. with dat," he retorted in the attempt to qualify his suggestion.

So, out to pick berries and an hour later, 4 quarts. Up goes the post on the Internet...and nothing. Not a single bite. Strange how the demand drastically changed in less than 24 hours. What a fickle bunch the target buyer can be...but my son would not give up. He knew he had product that was in demand and all he had to do was find a buyer. So, he asked if we could sell them to the neighbours.


Out the door at 4 years old carrying 4 quarts of blackberries and *DING DONG*! "Do you want to buy some berries I just picked so I can get a storm trooper?" said the budding entrepreneur. The neighbour's face looked with surprise and excitement. "Let me take a look at them." she said. After a quick inspection she asked, "How much?" "Um,  I dunno..." with a look of panic over to his mom.  "$20," inserted mommy. The neighbour saw the business wheels spin in the 4 year old and decided to try some negotiation. "How about $18?" she offered. My son quipped back, "only if that enough for my storm trooper." Mommy laughs and said "it sure is" and the contract is executed. Berries and cash swap hands...and on to get the storm trooper he goes.

At 4 years old, some basic principles are shown and lessons learned. If you need cash, you have to work for it. If your product is not moving the way you intended, come up with a different way. If you have an end game, make sure the steps you take are going to help accomplish it and not leave you short. Finally, don't be scared to be creative. He got his lego, we got a lesson.


Topics: sales, business, child entrepreneur, negotiation


Cian is a seasoned contract negotiator, Fellow of Stanford Law's CodeX, and the Top Dog and Founder of Beagle Inc. Beagle Inc. uses artificial intelligence to read contracts automatically, and provides a feature rich review tool set.