small business owner Archives - pixiedustandprofits.com

Episode 67: That Time I Got COVID at Disney World

Sep 6, 2022

In this episode, we’re discussing that time Nicole ended up with a positive COVID test during her vacation… yikes! 

Listen now and discover how the situation was handled and why crafting a good client experience isn’t only about a single interaction or a single event. A great experience can even turn a disappointing situation into one that’s not-so-bad in the end.

Download Episode 67 transcript right here

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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.

Download the original transcript right here

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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!

Download Episode 59 transcript right here

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Episode 55: Making Your Offers Fool-Proof

Jan 4, 2022

First-time visitors to Disney World are faced with unfamiliar lingo, important (and unknown) deadlines, and ever-changing rules. Listen now to hear why it’s so important to make your products easy to understand *and* use.

Download Episode 55 transcript right here

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Episode 54: Disney+ & Expanding Your Revenue Potential

Dec 21, 2021

In this episode, we’re discussing how Disney+ is leveraging home viewings to distribute their theatrical releases. Listen now to hear how you can appeal to different audiences by expanding your current offerings.

Download Episode 54 transcript right here

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Balancing Priorities & Surviving in the Day-to-Day

Jul 1, 2021

Remember that weird period in Disney history around 2004? Michael Eisner was CEO, park attendance was down after 9/11, and their films weren’t performing as well as Pixar’s. Put yourself in a Disney leader’s shoes at that time, and you can imagine that they felt the struggle was never going to end. But we know that now, in 2021, they have overcome those obstacles…even if new ones have cropped up.

We may be past the one year mark of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States, but generally, life hasn’t gotten “back to normal,” has it? Much has changed for good, and we’ve had to adapt to a totally different way of doing certain things.

You’ve probably had to adjust your work as a small business owner, too. Speaking from experience and from what we’ve heard from other entrepreneurs, that constant rebalancing act can be tough. That’s why, in this blog, we’re talking about how you can find your focus and keep working toward your goals when you’re living through challenging events that will make history. 

Give yourself permission to let some things go

How do you work through the chaos? How do you survive the day-to-day? From our own experiences during quarantine, it has been tough balancing priorities: being a mom, a wife, a business owner. Making sure we stay healthy. Homeschooling our kids. You only have so much to give, so how do you choose where to devote your time and energy?

You have to give yourself grace, and you have to give yourself permission to let some things go.

Sometimes, surviving takes precedence over thriving. You can’t control everything during a global pandemic or an insurrection at the Capitol or while homeschooling your kids and working from home at the same time. And that’s okay. 

If you’re frustrated that you’ve had to cancel in person events, or that your number of Zoom meetings has increased, or that you don’t have time to check off everything on your work to-do list, take a deep breath and give yourself a break. 

Make sure you extend that grace to your team, too, because they’re probably struggling as well! Keep in touch with your team members and ask how they are. Work together to help each other out. Not only will it help you run the business, you’ll strengthen your emotional bonds with your team.

Implement some structure to help you stay productive

This may sound like it’s contradicting our previous advice, but we promise it’s not! While it’s important to stay flexible and give yourself a break, you still need some structure to help you get through the day. Playing hooky and watching Disney movies all day is nice once in awhile, but it’s not healthy all the time.

A little structure can keep you going. For example, you might schedule time for yourself after the work day to decompress and stay off your computer. Or, pick a dinner time and a separate block of time to spend with your family. That helped us a lot in the early days of quarantine when we had to figure out our own homeschooling schedules. 

Putting tasks in “buckets” or blocks can help, too. Like sending emails, tidying the house, preparing food, and so on. This kind of system helps you stay on track, but you have more flexibility within those blocks to do what needs to be done.

Revisit your goals

Our New Year’s resolutions may look totally different than they did in January 2020, but people still make them. Try not to completely abandon your business goals, because they still matter.

Revisit your goals and see if they’re still feasible. If so, when might you be able to achieve them? If they’re not, can they be shelved for a later date? If you find yourself not wanting to remove a goal from your list, figure out a way to adjust your goal or break it down into easier components.

For example, some of our podcast episodes we planned in Season 2 had to be put on hold because of COVID-19. So did a special project that we’d been hinting at for some time. We looked at our goals and asked ourselves, “What’s one thing we can do to move this forward? How can we still make it happen?”

You don’t have to plan a strategy for your goals right away. Just start by reading them and see how you feel. If anything, you’ll be reminded that there was a time before a pandemic, and there will be a time after that will feel more “normal.” And yes, you may become inspired to jump in and accomplish one of your goals.

Keep looking forward

How do you handle balancing priorities and surviving “unprecedented times?” By giving yourself and your team grace, implementing structure to your workday, and revisiting your goals. We know you can survive difficult periods like quarantine. Disney has done it in the past, and you did it in 2020. 

Know that you can’t control everything, so when you focus on what you can control and learn to let some things slide, you can keep your business moving forward. 

Want to focus on your priorities? Stop chasing squirrels.

We know you have a billion and one different ideas — and all of them are great. But instead of feeling like Doug from Up, it’s important that you really get clear on your strategic priorities. If you’re not sure what those are… we have something for you.

Our Stop Squirrel Syndrome resource shares the 6 Strategic Pillars of Success, and even helps you outline the priorities that fall under each pillar. If you need to work on what’s most important in your business right now, this resource will help you figure that out.

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Episode 47: Boo Bash & Busy Signals

Jun 29, 2021

It’s not always pixie dust and magic, but we can learn a thing or two during the wait (or really, really long hold). In this episode, we’re getting real about one of our biggest Disney frustrations —the phone lines. Listen now to hear about why you should be caring for your current and most loyal customers in your small business.

Download Episode 47 transcript right here

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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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Pricing Strategy for Maximum Profit

Jun 3, 2021

Right now, a 1-day ticket to one theme park at Disney World starts at $109. Prices vary if you choose to visit more than one park on the same day (Park Hopper upgrade option), visit a water park or golf course (Water Park and Sports upgrade option) or choose both upgrades (Park Hopper Plus). 

Prices will also change based on when you go; tickets may be more expensive the closer you get to Christmas, or less expensive in early September when summer vacation ends and the kids are back in school. If you’re a Disney park newbie, you might find playing around with ticket prices frustrating. How do you know if you’re getting the most bang for your buck? 

As a business owner though, keep in mind that Disney’s ticket prices fluctuate on purpose. During quiet periods, Disney wants to incentivize people to come visit. And during busy times of the year like spring break and summer, tickets can get pretty dang expensive in order to manage the number of people in the park, but also make operational decisions.

You can learn from and apply Disney’s pricing strategy to your own small business. For tips on forecasting revenue, creating discounts, raising your prices, and more, read on. 

Use your pricing strategy to plan business operations

Using a pricing strategy doesn’t just help you forecast your revenue. It can also help you make important business operation decisions. Like hiring more employees or contractors when you need more hands during your busy seasons. Or picking the best time to give out special promotions so you can increase your revenue.

Disney does this during their quiet periods when the parks aren’t at their max capacity. To bring in more revenue, they may offer discounts to get people in the doors. Or, if people just aren’t flying in for extended vacations, they’ll create special offers to annual pass holders or Florida residents to get them to stay at their hotels. There are other promotions Disney offers too, like special dining plans or food credits that can be used during their Food and Wine Festival.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned, consistent Disney ticket prices would lead to miserable guest experiences. If Disney tickets were always in high demand, every park and hotel and event would be crowded year-round. Imagine the same happening for your business. You’d spend 12 to 14 hours a day hustling, and the quality of your work will probably suffer. Not to mention your energy and mental health!

How to raise your prices in your business

Remember that it’s okay to play around with your pricing if the demand is there. You don’t necessarily have to make huge pricing changes since that may scare off your audience, but you should increase your prices to keep up with demand.

Let’s talk about a few different ways you can raise your prices:

  • Increase your prices annually. Your existing clients are not only paying for your time, but your experience and skills. If they’ve been with you for a year, they’re getting a lot of value out of working with you. Don’t be afraid to increase your prices to reflect that! Just be sure to give them plenty of notice. We like to give a minimum of 60 days notice.
  • Set up a waitlist if you’re at capacity. Demand is high and you’re totally booked. It’s perfectly fine to ask prospective clients to join a waitlist and let them know when you’re accepting new clients. Adjust your prices to meet that demand.
  • Offer discounts to different clients. This may seem a little weird, but if you have strong relationships with certain clients, why not reward them with a discount? It shows them that you value them.

If you’re not used to raising your prices or asking for more money, don’t be discouraged. It takes practice and confidence. Keep in mind that, if you’re working with a team, you need to make enough to cover those hidden costs, like managing, training, or onboarding them. 

What if you run a program or are getting ready to launch one? We strongly recommend determining a starting price point while beta testing. That way when you launch, you can price your program at its true value. Listen to the feedback you get from your customers.

“We’re going to Disney World!” …in 40 years

Fun fact: if you (or your parents, or your grandparents) bought a Disney World ticket way back in the day and it was never used, Disney will still honor that ticket today, as long as you bought it with the No Expiration Option. 

Before they got rid of the No Expiration option, people could pre-buy their park tickets years in advance of their trip. Of course, if you buy tickets in the dead of winter for your summer vacation, they’re going to be much cheaper. You just have to pay the difference in ticket prices if your travel plans change.

Why does Disney do this? Theme park tickets are nonrefundable and nontransferable, but Disney still wants to provide excellent customer service to their guests. You can do something similar in your business. This is an example of offering special promotions or discounts to your clients, rewarding them for choosing you…and choosing to stick with you.

Maximize your capacity and your profits

One of the most important skills you’ll hone as a business owner is managing your time and resources. Your time is not infinite. And you yourself are a resource to your own business, thanks to your skills and experience and training. 

Your pricing strategy will help you make the most out of your resources. And it’ll ensure a good customer experience for your clients, a manageable workload for you, and more insight into the revenue you’ll bring in and business decisions you’ll need to make in the future.

Another great way to map out your pricing strategy? Creating a Customer Ascension Model. This shows you how clients/customers move through your business — from awareness to your top-tier product or service. It can also show you gaps in your offerings that could help with your pricing strategies. You never know: maybe your customer or client wants a mid-range offer you hadn’t thought of before!

Map out your Customer Ascension Model using our FREE template, inside our Biz Bundle!

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Episode 45: Diversity & Inclusion at Disney

Jun 1, 2021

More than 200,000 people are employed by Disney, and it’s their mission to make each of them feel like they truly belong. Listen now to hear about how they’re paving the way in inclusion and how you can use these ideas in your own small business to represent, educate, and empower. 

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We're magically breaking down big-business strategies for your small business in this pack of 3 mini-workbooks and 2 bonus audio files!