The magic and wonder of visiting “The Happiest Place on Earth”. Every detail carefully managed down to the freshly painted buildings, every element well thought-out and organized, every person, place, signpost a part of the story.
So what can we as entrepreneurs learn from Disney? A LOT.
Lessons from Disney on Putting a Little Magic in your Business
It’s hard to imagine scaling down the awesome spectacle of Disney for the average small business or entrepreneurial start-up, but if you look behind the grandeur to the core principles, there are simple lessons for every business – regardless of industry or size.
The Experience MATTERS – It’s impossible to separate the what from the how – meaning the experience matters just as much as the product or service itself. Take checking into the Disneyland Hotel, for example. Not only is the front desk staff courteous and efficient, but prepared to entertain excited and impatient children with stickers and “Just for kids” versions of the park maps.
Every aspect of the experience working with your company matters – from the ease of use on your web site to the user-friendliness of your front reception. Walk through your customer experience and see what they see, experience what they experience.
For example, if your business serves adults who just happen to be parents, it’s a good idea to accommodate the kids that tag along with them (because happy kids mean happy parents). Imagine the buying experience with bored kids in tow and you will see why parents gravitate toward kid-friendly companies.
Take it Up a Notch – It’s not good enough to take a good idea and apply it to your business. You need to own that idea and take it up a notch, give it your own spin and make it uniquely yours.
Examples of how Disney takes things to the next level are everywhere, but their new World of Color show steals the show. Similar (in concept only) to the musical fountain at the Bellagio, the World of Color adds in light and color and motion picture for a dazzling effect that is truly Disney.
The lesson? Look for ideas and inspiration everywhere, but don’t stop at borrowing them. Change them, adapt them and make them uniquely yours. Disney made the World of Color so above and beyond that it’s impossible to compare it back to the original.
Pay Attention to Details – Disney is the master of the details. Every detail is carefully considered and managed– from the plethora of Mickeys found in every nook and cranny to coordinating the character appearances to maintain the illusion that the Mickey your child hugs is THE (one and only) Mickey Mouse.
A few factoids on all the Disney details. It takes 5,000 gallons of paint, 1,000 brooms, 500 dustpans and 3,000 mops to give Disneyland its “better-than-new” look. Disney maintains a costume inventory of 800,000 pieces, replacing 300,000 buttons each year and cleaning 20,000 garments each week. Every day the streets are washed and steam-cleaned after closing.
How do you manage your daily details? Any buttons missing? Any little corners in need of a clean sweep? It only takes one small negative impression to undo your marketing and customer service efforts. Pay attention to those details!
Magic is in the PEOPLE – So what really makes “The Happiest Place on Earth” the happiest place on earth? The 20,000 “Cast Members” who offer friendly help, a smiling wave or a hug to an adoring 5-year-old fan meeting her favorite princess for the very first time!
How can your people make that intangible difference? It starts with hiring the right people and following through with a corporate culture that has your people eager to stay and grow with your company!
What inspires you about The Happiest Place on Earth? What lessons do you take from Disney?