What started with the desire to provide a refreshing lemonade made with fresh ingredients has grown into a popular staple in the New York area. Lizzmonade has become a favorite among area market-goers and has since expanded to its own location, along with several pop up locations. Known for refreshing drinks made with fresh ingredients that are locally sourced, it’s no surprise that Lizzmonade continues to grow in popularity. The business recently won the Canon MAXIFY Printers Small Business Grant Challenge, and owner Lizzette Pagan talks about how the challenge win helped the business.
Did the Canon MAXIFY Printer Grant Challenge win help your business?
Of course — even from just meeting the wonderful supportive family over at 1010 Wins and being interviewed by the wonderful John Montone. We have met people that have said, “Hey I heard you on the radio,” Most importantly, that 90 second “perfect pitch” in front of the panel has helped a lot. I have been able to use that to help me grow my business.
Have you received the Canon MAXIFY Printer and what is your opinion of it?
Yes, and we love it. It is a great printer for a small office. Its high capacity helps us with large print projects.
Have you received the prize money and have you used it yet for your business?
Lizzmonade was able to open a seasonal kiosk at Times Square. We were able to expand the operations and provide 10 more seasonal jobs for our community. Without the grant from 1010 Wins and Canon, we would not have been able to have a location at the “Crossroads of the World.”
What are the top ways that you’ve grown your business since opening?
The kiosk was the biggest help in growing our business. The best advice that I can give any business whether winning a grant challenge or not is this: Take your time, understand your business, and know your boundaries when it comes to growth opportunities. Many people will say, “you should do this,” or “you should do that.” It’s important to know what is best for your business. Many opportunities can be a drain not only on financial resources, but even just on an owner’s focus.
What are the ways you have grown your business that has worked for you that you think could work for other businesses?
I am a big advocate of the FIT Rule — Feasibility, Impact and Timeliness. Anything we do has to FIT our current capabilities: Do we have the resources to add a new product or new location? This season, we added a new lime option to our lemonades, and we are so excited. While it seems like a natural progression, we had to test it out to determine which markets it would fit.
Do you believe it is hard or easy to run a business in your state?
New York City is where I was born and raised. I am a firm believer if you can make it here you can make it anywhere. However, when it comes to growing a business in this decade, it is not so much about your location anymore. I think the culture of entrepreneurship has changed. Today’s entrepreneur might be that single mom selling handmade earrings as a local market. It is the diversity that always impresses me. Talk to today’s entrepreneurs and many have started a business not because they had extra money lying around, but because they needed a little extra money to make ends meet. New York also embodies the spirit of partnership and collaboration. At markets, I meet many fellow vendors, and we are always sharing information and resources.