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3 Important Business Lessons You Can Learn From Disney Movies to Propel Your Success

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Disney movies

We all loved Disney movies when we were kids. Heck, a lot of us still love them now. Disney knows how to speak to us through their films, and really pull on our heartstrings. It’s what they’re good at. Their movies are also packed with life lessons. But what you maybe didn’t expect is that they also have some valuable business lessons.

With this in mind, here are 3 business lessons you can learn from Disney movies:

1. Hakuna Matata

It’s the name of everybody’s favorite Disney song. “Hakuna Matata” literally means “No problems. Don’t worry, be happy.” Of course, you don’t want to go through life and business without thinking critically and trying to solve problems. But all too often, we let the business problems overwhelm us.

Can you relate? Your focus starts to spread thin and you feel like there’s too much to deal with. There’s no way you can solve all the problems. In these cases, it’s best to take the “Hakuna Matata” approach. Stay calm, understand your circumstances, and focus on the one thing that will make everything else easier. Don’t allow “overwhelm” to cause you to make bad decisions.

“Happiness is a state of mind. It’s just according to the way you look at things.” – Walt Disney

2. Find Your Winning Formula, and Double Down

This lesson doesn’t have to do with a specific movie – more like all of the Disney movies in general. If you analyze the themes and basic plot points, many of the Disney movies follow a similar trend. Disney found that this trend worked best for compelling and hooking audiences.

You can see the formula both in the plot points – and even in many of the actual animations. Characters in different movies have very similar movements. When compared side-by-side, they’re almost identical.

The question is, what is your winning formula? What are your biggest strengths? These are the things you should be doubling down on. These are the things you should be working to optimize and improve at all levels.

Instead, most businesses and people double down on the wrong things like their weaknesses. In doing so, they undermine the potential of their business, create frustration, and miss opportunities.

3. Don’t Be Fooled By Appearance

Look no further than Snow White for this example. She held the perfect red apple in her hand, unable to resist biting into it. All seemed fine from the appearance. But this actually caused her demise and almost ended her life.

The lesson goes both ways – don’t be fooled by appearance for good or bad things when it comes to business. Opportunities are always in front of you and if you judge them by appearance without doing a little digging, you’ll find that you often take the wrong opportunities and miss out on the right ones.  

For example, in real estate, one person might walk through a neighborhood and see beaten up houses and bad opportunities. While another person may do a little digging, ask some questions around the neighborhood, and see that there are several properties being undervalued – hence, a big opportunity.

“Like so many things, it’s not what’s outside, but what’s inside that counts.” – Aladdin

Bonus Shrek Lesson: You Don’t Have to Accept Your Limitations 

Okay, we admit it. We thought Shrek was a Disney movie, but it turns out it was a Dreamworks flick. Still, it’s one of our favorites, and it’s packed with valuable lessons (so you’ll have to forgive us for this one!). Our favorite lesson being: You don’t have to accept your limitations.

Shrek thought he was stuck being an ogre, living a grumpy life alone in the middle of the forest. And that’s exactly what happened, until he was forced to change.

His adventures led him to saving a princess and eventually an entire kingdom – feats that were certainly beyond his limits and imagination. He surpassed those limits and became legendary.

Similar to Shrek, many businesses and people allow themselves to get trapped in boxes of their own creation. They think, “We’re THIS type of business,” or “I’m THIS type of person,” and they never try to change or elevate themselves, even when there are opportunities to do so.

Instead, be aware of your self-imposed limitations, and consider how you can break through them.

Now when you go back and watch your favorite Disney movies, you can look out for these business lessons too!

Have you learned any big life or business lessons from Disney movies? What are they? Let us know in the comments below!

Parker Davis is the CEO of Nexa, a leader in the virtual receptionist and technology-enabled answering services industry. He believes that the application of data analytics, investment in technology, and fostering a positive company culture together create highly efficient and scalable growth companies. In 2016, Nexa achieved record revenues while also being awarded the Top Companies to Work For in Arizona award. Parker is also the Managing Partner of Annison Capital Partners, LLC, a private investment partnership. Follow him @callnexa and on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Startups

How to Avoid Startup Clichés and Buzzwords When Pitching Investors

Using jargon can make you sound like you’re trying to fill space instead of providing meaningful data

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How to pitch investors better

Entrepreneurs frequently seek startup funding through a variety of channels. Yet, none seem as challenging as successfully pitching to experienced investors. After all, investors are pressed for time and eager for opportunities. These characteristics make it challenging to motivate them, especially if you’re bombarding them with a pitch full of jargon. (more…)

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From Idea to Empire: 5 Power Moves for Your Startup to Thrive in Today’s Market

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that understanding market dynamics and choosing the right business model are crucial

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How to thrive in the startup market in 2024

As an entrepreneur, I’ve learned that understanding market dynamics and choosing the right business model are crucial.

A few months into the startup, I was quick to gauge why it is necessary to go beyond the nuances of operational efficiency and the art of sustaining a business amid growing competition.

Collaboration is key.

The HR and the recruiting teams work with departments to foster a culture of collaboration, but what’s indispensable to business performance is the sync between the marketing and sales teams. What we’d consider as entrepreneurs is the need to ensure seamless collaboration to predict and achieve business goals together. In turn, this will help secure long-term recurring revenue for the business.

Besides, entrepreneurs need to focus on revenue as they gear up to take their startup from $0 to $1 million. The journey is filled with critical decisions, from identifying your target customer base to choosing the right funding strategy.

So, what next?

Read on… because here are five practical, results-driven strategies that you as a founder can implement to make a mark in their industry.

#1. Embrace the Lean Methodology

What is lean methodology?

It is all about pivoting resources to create more value for customers with fewer resources. 

This principle encourages you to be more agile and allow rapid iteration based on customer feedback rather than spending years perfecting a product before it hits the market.

Want to implement it?

Here’s what you can do.

Build “Measure-Learn” Loop: What I did was develop a minimum viable product (MVP), a simple version of the product. You can do the same since it allows you to start the learning process as quickly as possible. After launching MVP, measure how customers use it and learn from their behaviors and feedback.

Here’s what I can recommend here:

  • Identify the core features that solve your customers’ primary needs and focus solely on those to develop your MVP.
  • Know the feedback channels where early users can communicate their experiences, suggestions, and complaints.
  • Analyze user behavior and feedback to make informed product development and iteration decisions.

#2. Focus on Customer Development

Let’s talk about taking our startup to the next level. 

It’s not just about getting customers – it’s about really getting to know them. We need to dive into their world, understand their struggles, and see how our product or service can make a difference in their lives. 

It’s like we’re detectives, piecing together the puzzle of our business hypothesis by actually chatting with our customers

What would you ideally do here?

Understand Customer Segments: I’d say, start dividing your target market into segments and develop a deep understanding of each segment’s demographics, behaviors, needs, and pain points. The idea is to get into their shoes and really feel what they feel.

Ensure your Product Clicks: When starting up, think of what you offer and consider whether it clicks with what our customers need. My thought was “Does my product solve their problems? Does it make their day better?” Put yourself through a tough grilling session to show customers the value proposition and ensure that the product’s promise matches what our customers are looking for.

I’d recommend the following actions here:

  • Talk to them – through surveys, interviews, or even casual chats. The goal? To gather real, raw insights about what they need and expect.
  • Use the collected data to create detailed profiles for each type of customer. This way, everyone on our team really understood we were serving. I think this should help your startup as well.
  • Try out different versions of our product with a few customer groups. It’s all about feedback here – understanding if you’re hitting the mark or if we need to pivot.

#3. Foster a Data-Driven Culture

The digital world is highly data driven since it fuels key decisions in a startup. 

I believe it’s essential for us to build a data-driven culture. This means, you’ll move from making decisions based on hunches or assumptions. Instead, the focus should be on data analytics and insights to guide our strategies and improve our outcomes.

What can you do?

Use Data Analytics Tools: You should be using these tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data related to customer behavior, market trends, and our business operations. Here, consider the adoption of pipeline forecasting that leverages AI to find patterns in marketing data. 

In turn, you’ll get areas for improvement since it can analyze historical data and predict the outcome for you to plan your.

Action Items:

  • Pinpoint key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your business objectives and ensure they are measurable and actionable.
  • Next, you can consider training your team to understand and use data analytics tools. This might involve workshops or bringing in experts to build a data-savvy workforce.
  • Once everything is in place, regularly review data reports and dashboards. This gives us a clear picture of a startup’s health and helps adjust your strategies and predict future trends.

#4. Strengthen Your Financial Acumen

A good grip on financial skills is important to steer your business towards growth and making sure it stays on track. For this, you’ll have to understand the money side of things, which helps you manage your cash flow. Think of figuring out smart investment moves and sizing up any risks that come your way.

Here’s a tip on how you can get savvy with your finances.

Maintain Rigorous Financial Discipline: I’m really focused on cultivating a strong company culture, one that truly resonates with our mission. So, I’d suggest fostering open communication and encouraging a sense of ownership and collaboration among everyone in the team.

Action Items:

  • Get to know your financial statements inside out – I’m talking about the income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement. These are like the vital signs for your business’s financial health
  • Use financial forecasting that helps predict your future money moves. With this, you will have a heads-up on upcoming revenues, expenses, and how much cash you’ll need. Also, research on the available financial forecasting tools that can make predictions spot-on.
  • Don’t go at it alone. Regularly touch base with financial advisors or mentors. With them by your side, you’ll have a fresh perspective on your financial strategies to ensure you’re on the right path to hit your business goals.

5. Prioritize Team Building and Leadership Development

It is crucial to focus on building a solid team and developing strong leaders. This means putting our resources into the people who are going to propel our company forward. 

What you’ll aim for here?

Creating a culture where everyone collaborates and every team member has the chance to emerge as a leader.

What I would do:

Cultivate a Strong Company Culture: This culture should mirror our mission and foster open communication. It’s important that it encourages everyone to feel a sense of ownership and work together.

Invest in Leadership and Team Development: As founders, we’ll have to make way for opportunities for teams to enhance their skills, face new challenges, and grow in their careers.

Some concrete steps that you should consider taking:

  • Begin with clearly communicating your startup’s vision, mission, and values so that every team member is on the same page.
  • Conduct regular team-building activities and workshops to boost skills and strengthen a sense of unity and collaboration.
  • How about starting a mentorship program within our organization? The more experienced team members could guide and support the growth of newer or less experienced folks.
  • Alas… encourage feedback at all levels. We should keep striving to create an environment where open, honest communication is the norm and everyone feels safe to speak up.

I know it’s one thing to get your head around these ideas and quite another to actually make them a part of your everyday business life. But that’s where the real magic happens, right? It’s all in the doing. 

As a startup founder, this means more than just being a big dreamer. How about rolling up your sleeves to be the planner who pays attention to the smallest details. Ultimately, these tips and more tactics around it will help carve a leader in you who listens and cares and the learner who’s always ready to adapt

So, as you’re either starting out or moving forward on this entrepreneurial adventure, keep these practical tips right there.

May these be your guiding lights, helping you steer through the wild and exciting world of building a startup that’s not just a dream, but a thriving reality.

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12 Things I Learned in 12 Months of Working on My Startup

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A few weeks ago I launched my startup. It took exactly 12 months from the initial idea until the moment I saw my app in the App Store. And these were some of the most challenging, fun and exciting 12 months of my whole life. (more…)

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8 Actionable Ways to Get Your Startup’s First 100 Customers

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What’s the one thing that every business wants? Is it money, fame, or endless resources? The answer is quite simple—customers. Having customers is the sure-shot way of ensuring that your business stays afloat in the long run. No matter how good your product or services are, without people buying what you sell, you won’t reach anywhere. However, establishing a customer base is one of the most challenging things a business has to do, especially if you are just starting. (more…)

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