small business advice Archives - pixiedustandprofits.com

Episode 62: Meeting Clients Where They Are

Jun 21, 2022

Episode 007 (not to be confused with Bond, James Bond) aired almost two and a half years ago. In Covid years that must be something like a decade, right? This episode was so important to us, and to all of you, because we talked all about meeting your clients where they’re at and the steps to take to ensure equal presence and opportunity amongst your client base.

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Episode 60: Make Your Business “Stick(y)”!

Mar 15, 2022

Inspired by our last trip through the Orlando airport, we were blown away by the effort Disney made to ensure their 50th-anniversary “sticks” in the minds of visitors and, honestly, anyone who travels through the Orlando airport. 

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Episode 59: Small Shop Safety with Misty Henry

Mar 1, 2022

If you’re a small shop, you won’t want to miss Misty’s golden nuggets on compliance and consumer safety laws, especially if you sell goods used by children. As a member of our Profitable & Productive Party, she also shares how she’s seen incredible business growth and an increase in revenue!

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Episode 52: Jungle Cruise & The Quest for Continuous Improvement

Nov 23, 2021

Continuous improvement is a hallmark of the DisneyParks brand. We’ll cover what changes have been made and why. Skip(per) on over to hear why it’s important to always be thinking about small tweaks and changes you can make in your own small business.

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Episode 51: Galactic Starcruiser: Pricing Out Your Audience

Nov 9, 2021

Despite its guarantee to be an out-of-this-world experience, our sticker shock was still astronomical. Listen now to hear how Disney prepared their audience well to buy into this experience, and how you can do the same with your customers.

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Episode 50: Frustrating Your Fans: Disney’s Annual Passes

Oct 26, 2021

Price increases and less perks that we no longer get access to without having to pay even more money? Ew. In this episode we’re discussing the not-so-welcome changes to Disney’s Annual Pass program.

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Use Your Brand to Create Your Own World

Jul 8, 2021

Have you ever been to Disney World and wondered why the employees are called “cast members” and, well, not employees? Because Walt Disney started in the movie industry, he used movie industry terms for everything in the parks. 

Park attendees are not called customers, they’re called guests, as in guests of a show or performance. Onstage areas are areas in the park where cast members interact with guests, while offstage areas are employee-only areas. Every Disney term is carefully chosen to create a specific mood or experience — a unique world. You can use the same tactic for your small business and create your own world. 

Attract customers with specific messaging

If you’re a diehard Disney fan like us, you know all those key insider terms. Like “rope drop” is when they physically let people into the parks at opening time. Join a Disney Facebook group or meet another Disney super fan, and you’ll probably both speak the same language.

What does this mean for your business? To attract new customers, you want to use language that they already understand. Avoid using words and phrases that are unclear to the average person. But once a customer is through the door — or through the looking glass — you can use specific, specialized language to create a custom branded experience.

Take your website. You need to clearly communicate what you do and what you offer. This isn’t the place to use jargon or industry speak that a casual reader wouldn’t get. But once you’ve hooked a customer or made a loyal fan, you can start peppering in your own unique language, because they’ll know what you mean. 

Use branded language to create your own world

How can you use specific language to create your own world? Let’s use us as a quick example. If we were explaining Pixie Dust & Profits to someone who has never been to Disney World and isn’t super into Disney (yet), we would avoid saying, “this is your 180 day window to get things done.” They wouldn’t know that that is a Disney-specific phrase.

Instead, we’d say something like, “you have 180 days to take part in this offer.” See the difference? It’s more clearly written for a broader audience. But once this person knows our brand and is a new Disney fan, we can use fun phrases like “it’s your FastPass Day!” It makes sense once they’ve entered your world.

Here’s another example of someone who knows how to create their own world. Reina Pomeroy is an amazing coach for busy creatives who is so easy to connect with. Once you’re “in her world,” you start to speak her language. Like calling networking “social glue,” or using the term “dreamies” instead of clients. Reina’s language is more friendly, fun and creative. It puts her  unique brand on ideas to make them more powerful and memorable. 

Polish the customer experience

We all know that Disney spares no expense when putting on a show for their guests. They clean every inch of the parks every night. They don’t cut corners. They polish everything so that it shines for their guests the next day.

You can use a similar approach to the customer experience for your business. Audit your website to make sure every link works properly, every image loads, or every piece of information is up to date and accurate. Review your customer journey to see what needs tweaking and perfecting.

Look, you’re a small business owner, so don’t feel bad if things need improvement. Sometimes things get lost in the process, or we take shortcuts so things get done. And we think, “I’ll get back to that and fix it soon,” but we never actually take that step to do it.

Think about the show that you’re putting on for your customers, and see where it can be spruced up or fixed. Yes, done is better than perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t periodically optimize your customer experience.

View your business from your customers’ perspective

If you’ve ever had the chance to go on a backstage tour at Disney to see what it looks like as a cast member, the experience can be eye-opening. Everything is about form, function, and efficiency. Compare that to the front-facing areas that are bright and shiny and polished, and it’s incredible.

The same goes for your business. While you should look for ways to improve the customer experience, you don’t need to have everything perfectly polished on the backend. The backend operations of your business should be, first and foremost, operational. You can be organized and bare bones, but nothing needs to be fancy. It’s for your eyes only, anyway.

To create your own world, you need to view your biz from your customers’ shoes. You need to look at your business from the perspective of a totally new potential customer and a loyal customer, and tailor your brand messaging to the two audiences. That’s how you attract new customers and keep them around. 

Sounding authentically YOU

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Tailoring Your Offers for Your Audience

Jun 17, 2021

Did you know?: Disney World has a lot of hotel rooms—over 30,000 rooms, to be exact. There are 27 different resorts on property, not even counting all of the hotels around the parks that don’t fall under the Disney umbrella. Phew!

All of these resorts fall under one of three general categories: value resorts, moderate resorts, and deluxe resorts. Disney has cleverly created tiered hotel options to fit every guest’s budget and needs. You can take a page out of their book when creating offers for your clients.

Explaining Disney’s tiered hotel options

If you’ve never stayed at a Disney hotel, here’s how the tiered hotel options work. Most of these hotels fall under three categories. The first is the value resort, which are themed rooms that cost about $150 or less a night. They’re the budget-friendly option that make up around 40% of the hotel rooms at Disney.

In our experience, the value resorts are great if you want to spend more of your trip budget on the parks or dining. There are some challenges though: there’s really only one place to eat onsite, and these resorts are a lot farther away from park drop-off areas. And that can make a difference after walking around a theme park all day. 

Then you have the moderate resorts, larger rooms with more access to amenities and closer positioning to bus stops and lobbies. They’re not hugely different from the value resorts, but if you want more space to shower and spread out in your room, and more dining options, you may choose a moderate over a value.

The third type are the deluxe resorts, which make up about 25% of the rooms on property. The Grand Floridian, for example, averages around $800 per night. Deluxes are top of the line with immaculate theming, gorgeous rooms, and luxurious amenities, like high thread count bedsheets and nightly fireworks shows.

Meeting people where they are

What Disney is doing with these hotel options is meeting every potential guest and parkgoer where they’re at. In other words, offering an experience tailored to different budgets and tastes. Not everyone can cough up $800 to stay at the Grand Floridian (as much as we’d want to) but they still want to visit Disney. So Disney gives them an option that meets their needs.

Think of your ideal customer for your business. The clients you actually get in real life don’t always fit that persona, right? The people you end up working with may have different budgets or client needs or values. Like Disney, you can meet most potential clients where they are by offering various packages or tiered options.

Say you’re a photographer who wants to offer tiered service options like Disney. Your “value” option, for example, may be a mini photo session for budget-minded clients who want family photo cards. Your “moderate” option may be a one or two hour family session with prints thrown in. Your “deluxe” option lets you do it all for the client, from edits to prints to digital files.

When you give people multiple opportunities to work with you, you up your chances of securing a new client. And if you really impress them, you might make a loyal customer who comes back and purchases a pricier option.

It’s not all about price—experience matters, too

Just because you create a value option in your offers doesn’t mean you should skimp on customer experience! You still need to provide value to make your customer’s investment worthwhile, whatever tier they fall under. 

We encourage a lot of clients to build an ascension model, which is a ladder of different value offerings that grow with the client. It’ll help you work out your pricing, yes, but more importantly, an ascension model can outline what you offer valuewise. 

One way to think about what your customer values is to put yourself in their shoes. What problems do they have and what solutions are they looking for? What level of immersion or support do they want? What would make their experience truly magical?

A loyalty program can boost the customer experience and bring you more revenue. It can also entice customers to keep supporting you. Say you’re a web designer and your “deluxe” option is a fully customized website with yearly updates. As part of your “moderate” option, you might sell upgrades to build extra pages. Someone choosing between the two options might go for the deluxe if it looks like the less expensive option with more services thrown in (even if it’s not). 

Keep it simple and build from there

Remember that you don’t have to have your entire ascension model or tiered options built for your business at once! That’s a surefire way to get disorganized and provide a lower quality customer experience that doesn’t really meet your clients where they are.

Focus on one tier at a time and get it to a good place before you unveil the next one. You can stick with three tiers and call it quits, or maybe work your way up to four or five tiers if you want. However many you choose, start simple with fewer tiers, and build up as demand grows. And don’t forget to consider what your clients want and need.

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Episode 46: Safety & Risk Tolerance in Your Business

Jun 15, 2021

Have you ever made a decision in your small business but thought to yourself afterwards, “was that really a good idea?” In this episode, we’re here to help you navigate safety and risks in your small business, and why you be conscious of both.

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Episode 35: Copyrights & Creativity with Christina Scalera

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Small Business Tools You Can Borrow from Disney

Jun 10, 2021

After listening to the Walt Disney Company’s Q1 FY20 Earnings Call for about an hour, we were inspired to break down some of the stats they shared, as well as go back to our MBA roots and geek out over stuff like quarterly reports. There are tons of other small business tools you can co opt from Disney and use for your own biz, too.

The star of the Q1 show and what you can learn from it

Unsurprisingly, the star of Disney’s Q1 report was Disney+, which launched in November 2019. As of December 31 when Q1 ended, their streaming platform had 26.5 million users, exceeding analyst expectations of 20 to 25 million users. To put it in other terms, Disney+ gained 25 million subscribers in three months…which took other streaming service giant Netflix six years to attain. 

Yes, these numbers are phenomenal. Maybe that’ll inspire you to strive for a certain goal in your own business. One thing we suggest you avoid? Comparing yourself to someone else in your industry and thinking, “wow, I’ll never get to their level.” 

You can be a latecomer to the market and still do really well! Instead, look at what other people are doing in your space and figure out how to do the same thing, but better. Be inspired by your competitors. And remember that some established brands take years and years to get to where they are today. If you don’t find success overnight, don’t fret.

Reaching new audiences and diversifying your brand

The success of Disney+ can also teach you the importance of diversifying where your product lives. About half of Disney+ subscribers came from the Disney website, but that means the other half came from elsewhere, like brand partnerships or other subscription services. Imagine how different Disney’s subscriber numbers would be if they only promoted to one audience.

Don’t limit yourself to your email list or your professional network. You may be surprised at where you can reach new customers when you try something new. Team up with someone in your industry who complements your brand. Join a summit and get more exposure for your business. Use all the social media platforms and tools at your disposal.

Speaking of diversifying, think about diversifying your actual brand as well. Disney is the ultimate expert of this. Not only do they have a huge range of merch, theme parks, movies, and TV shows, but they also have other properties like Star Wars and Marvel and National Geographic under their umbrella. They have something for everyone. 

We don’t mean you have to try and appeal to every demographic out there, but if there’s a target audience you can reel in by tweaking your brand, why not give it a try?

Reducing churn rate

A great medium for diversifying is using a product bundle. For example, you bring in a product from another creator who’s in a complementary industry to you. Bundle your products or services with theirs, and you’ve tapped into a whole new audience and broadened your reach.

Bundling can boost your income and brand reach, but it can also reduce your churn rate. That’s something we learned from the Disney Q1 call: bundling Disney+ with Hulu and ESPN actually helped to reduce their churn rate. 

Churn rate is an important metric for subscribers, sure, but Disney used other metrics to make sure that people were sticking around. How long until someone unsubscribed? What content enticed people to stay? What content brought new subscribers to the platform? 

For example, Disney noted that 65% of the people who watched the Mandalorian continued to watch ten other things on Disney+. The stat itself is interesting, but it’s also worth noting that Disney had a system in place to measure it. You can do the same for your biz. Plan the metrics you want to use in advance and shore up your systems before you launch a new offer. It’ll make things easier for yourself after the fact, especially if you’re not a numbers kind of person.  

Have a backup plan for when things go awry

We’ve spent a lot of time talking about the success of Disney+ in this blog, but it wasn’t all sunshine and roses in the Disney Q1 call. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Disney suffered about $200 million in losses minimum because they needed to close their international theme parks. It’s a good thing they had Disney+ to balance that out.

When things don’t go quite the way you think they will, have a backup plan in place. This is a super important skill to have as a CEO or small business owner. If you don’t have one, you’ll have to scramble to take care of yourself, your employees, your clients, and your business operations.

Training your team thoroughly, having resources and guides on hand, and keeping contractors or freelancers in mind in case you need extra hands will help. So will being financially prepared for downturns in your business. Make sure you’re setting aside savings for quiet periods or when something unexpected—like a global pandemic happens. We suggest setting aside at least 10 to 20% in a business savings account.

Manage your own expectations

One last thing we recommend you do as a small business owner is to manage your own expectations. We’re constantly chasing growth, and it’s easy to focus on our goals. But managing your own expectations is incredibly important. You can celebrate your achievements and small wins, but be practical and plan for the bad times, too.

We hope that breaking down Disney’s Q1 call inspired you to use some of their own tools for your own small business. Reaching new audiences, diversifying your brand, reducing churn rate, and having a backup plan in place can help you run your business more smoothly and efficiently.

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