Hiring Tips for Small Business Owners

May 27, 2021

Quick question: how many employees does Disney World have in Central Florida? Take a wild guess. We’ll wait.

Got that number in your head? If you guessed about 73,000 cast members, then you win! Disney World’s payroll is over $2 billion, and they have thousands of different jobs and job titles across the entire property. 

Take the bus drivers at Disney World, for example. They’re the first smiling faces that guests see when they arrive. They may work early and late hours, but in our experience, they’re always joyful and pleasant to customers. 

Disney is committed to providing a good show for their guests. Every step of a guest’s adventure should be pleasant and worthwhile. A huge part of creating that experience is exceptional customer service. And that stems from being a good boss to your team. 

How does this relate to your small business? You too can have employees that are as devoted and happy in their roles as Disney cast members. But it starts with your hiring strategy, wages, and the expectations you set for your team.

Have a plan when hiring someone new

When you’re trying to hire someone for your team, it can be really difficult to do without setting a purpose and a plan first. You may just say, “I want to hire someone who’s within my budget,” and not think about other important factors like quality of work or turnaround time. You hire someone you’re not happy with, let them go, and start your employee search all over again.

Not only is that a waste of time, it can leave you feeling really jaded and stressed about the entire hiring process.

That’s why we recommend having a plan before you start your search. There are three things at play when looking for a new employee: your time, your money, and your quality level. Hire someone who is cheap and works on tight deadlines, and the quality of their work may not be as good. Hire someone who produces high-quality work, and it may take more time and money. 

It’s tough finding someone who can balance all three. You have to decide which one you can sacrifice, or at least settle for less. Our advice? Make quality the top priority, and look for other ways to cut costs or make your processes run a little faster. Sometimes it’s worth paying more for someone you can trust to do a great job.

Where to find new employees

Where can you find high-quality employees to add to your team? We always recommend two places to start your employee search. The first is referrals from other business owners in your network. They don’t necessarily have to be in your industry, but maybe you know them through someone else or you’ve talked to them briefly.

Look for those hidden gems in your network and ask if they know anyone who’s a good fit for the role you’re trying to fill, or if they have someone they can recommend. Keep in mind that it’s good manners to do the same if a person in your network asks the same of you. That’s what networking is for, after all.

The second place you may find a new employee is not something that everyone has at the beginning, but it’s easy to start one: an email list. Whether it’s a small list of fans you’ve DMed on Instagram or Facebook, or a larger email list you’ve compiled, it comes in handy because the email recipients already know you and your brand. 

They’ve bought your products or services and follow you on social media. They’re familiar with your brand voice and offers. You have a good chance of finding someone who is passionate about what you do and excited to join your team.

Tips for training and onboarding new team members

A strong training and onboarding system is key for setting your new employees up for success. Without it, you’ll have a tough time setting expectations and getting the quality of work that you want from them. An easy way to train new hires in their new tasks? Do them yourself and record the process.

One of our favorite tools for doing this is Loom, which will let you record and share videos of your desktop with others. If you love to write, you can write out step-by-step instructions on how to do things as well, but trust us, videos of you showing your new employee exactly what to do, where, and how will make things a lot easier for them.

What should you put in your Loom videos and written instructions? Write out a list of what you expect them to do daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. It doesn’t have to be a long list, but be thorough. Basically, make it easy for them to do their job well without waiting on instructions from you first. 

Success starts with you

Putting together a team of happy employees, contractors, and freelancers takes work on your part. Before starting your search for a new team member, take some time to figure out exactly what you’re looking for within your budget. You’ll more easily find someone who meets your needs.

Get creative with your job search, too. Put your network and networking skills to use! Tap into the connections you’ve made in your small business circles and industry. Worthwhile connections will be happy to help you out. (Just remember to do the same for others in the future.)

Finally, set your new employees up for success by outlining your expectations for their role and giving them the tools they need to do their job. It’ll require some effort from you up front, but when you have a happy and dedicated employee on your team, you’ll thank yourself later. 

subscribe on

subscribe on

Investing in Innovation (and Why You Can’t Afford Not To!)

May 13, 2021

Let’s take you ALL the way back to the summer of 1955. Disneyland opened its doors on July 17th, 1955 and it was not a smooth sail! In fact, we discuss how badly it really did go in previous episodes. Walt Disney founded Disneyland with the intention that it would never be completed. He wanted people to push past what is comfortable and continue to grow and reimagine things. If you are intrigued as we are at how Disneyland came to be, check out Imagineering Story. Disney is always under construction, creating something new or renovating something that’s been loved by all. 

We want to share with you how innovation has been the bread and butter of Disney’s success, and how you can practically innovate in your own business with some of their methods. 

Incremental Innovations

First, let’s discuss the smaller, less risky ways in which Disney innovates. More often than not, it’s the incremental changes that bring about the magic. Think about the IPhone. The IPhone 12 is really not that much different than the 11. But it’s new and edgy and their audience is bought in. 

You can guess when Disney is the slowest. Yep, winter and fall when school is in session! So the Imagineers took that slow season and created the Arts Festival at Epcot in the spring and the Food and Wine Festival in the fall to bring us “older kids” into the parks on the weekends. They frequently close down sections of their resorts and parks to give it a good refresh and create a new experience for their guests. In the winter, they alternate closing down one of their water parks for refurbishing and updates. 

How does this apply to your business? Think about ways you can innovate during your slow seasons. What are ways in which you can make a small edit or refresh to your product, website, or service? Maybe changing up the photos you have on your home page. Or even a refresh to the packaging your product is shipped in. Incremental changes are extremely powerful ways to innovate.

Taking Huge Risks

Walt Disney was in full support of taking big risks to push past the envelope of the imagination. The opening of Disneyland Japan and Paris were two monumental risks— in fact, Disneyland Paris almost hit bankruptcy! The Imagineers team was approached by partners in the East who wanted to create a Disneyland experience in Tokyo. They got out the original blueprints from the 50s and started to build the replica, and then followed this same process later in Paris. 

However, the Imagineers team missed one important step in their process of expansion… They did not evaluate their audience. They built the American version of Disney in Tokyo and Paris rather than adapting the Disney vision for a Japanese and European audience. In Europe, Disneyland was priced in accordance to what Americans would pay for the Disney experience state bound. They quickly realized that Europeans had a different approach to what they were willing to pay when their Paris hotels were at 60% capacity — unheard of in the US! 

Years later, when Shanghai Disney and China were opened, they carefully evaluated their audience after learning from mistakes. For example, they recreated the Haunted Mansion ride to reflect Chinese beliefs of the afterlife. Can you imagine what would have happened if they put the American replica of the Haunted Mansion there?? 

Understanding your audience is key when innovating. Asking the question, “What do they want?” will help you narrow in on exactly what your audience truly wants. Sounds great, but how exactly do you do it?

One of the best ways to really engage with your audience is to take them on the innovation journey with you. Pull back the curtains and let them take a front row sneak peek into what you are working on next. Disney does an incredible job at teasing new rides, giving sneak peeks into refurbished resorts, and announcing the next big project that will undergo construction. 

Again, let’s apply this to your business. How can you draw your audience in? Maybe with a countdown to your next launch date. Share behind the scenes footage of your next project. Tease photos of what the next product is going to be. These are some of the best ways to really keep your customers engaged.

Experimenting with New Ideas

You may have heard about the time Disney decided to cover Cinderella’s castle in pink frosting for their 25th Anniversary and made it look like a birthday cake. Or most recently, when they did a complete refinish of the castle. Talk about some controversy! It can be really scary to do any changes to your original, signature product or brand, but sometimes it can be so beneficial to experiment with new ideas. The great thing about this experiment is that they could have always turned it back to the original. 

Thinking about making a change to your original product or service may feel way too risky, but it will absolutely create new excitement and conversation about your business. And remember:  you can always go back to what you started with. Nothing has to be permanent! Maybe you do a fun release for a holiday or anniversary with a limited edition version of your product or service. It’s something to think about when it comes to innovation.

Get to it!

Truly, we could write (and talk) all day about innovating like Disney. This is why we have created an entire workshop experience where you will have the opportunity to sit down with us and apply these principles of innovation to your own business. We break down everything from changing your mindset around innovation, to identifying what innovation means to your unique individual business, and looking at how investing works for you. 
We are bringing you years and years of our own experience of using these tools and strategies in our own businesses with workshops, masterclasses, and even the Profitable & Productive Party.  We know what it’s like to buy all the books and expensive courses and training modules. We wanted this workshop to be very affordable and very accessible as we know many business owners invest a lot of capital into programs and training, yet still leave them unsure of what to do next. Our goal is for you to be thriving in your business and to take these strategies with you to implement immediately. Sign up here to be notified of our next upcoming workshop or masterclass! 

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 35: Copyrights & Creativity with Christina Scalera

Dec 15, 2020

In this episode, we’re sitting down with our first ever guest interview (she also happens to voice our intro!) Christina Scalera is the attorney and founder of The Contract Shop®. Listen now to hear about copyrights protecting your business online. 

Download Episode 35 transcript right here

subscribe on

subscribe on

Episode 31: Listener Q&A: Part 1

Nov 17, 2020

In this episode, we’re taking questions from small business owners like you. We’ll be diving into questions like how to know when a project is truly finished, ways to pivot your business to make more revenue, and why small business finances are so important.

Download Episode 31 transcript right here

subscribe on

subscribe on

even more pixie dust!

bonus BUSINESs builders

get access

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