Business Lessons From A Mouse With Big Ears
1. Focus on the right stuff and the money will come -- The top three priorities of Disneyland management is leadership excellence, cast excellence and guest satisfaction. The fourth priority is financial results. The interpretation is that if you do the first three things right, money is a natural outcome.
2. Take care of your employees (cast members) -- Disneyland has "team centers" to serve the needs of its employees. These centers provide insurance, discounts, tickets, transportation services and payroll services. The message is "be good to your employees, and they'll be good to your customers."
3. Everybody should do the "dirty jobs" -- How many people are there in the park sweeping up trash? Take a guess. The right answer is an astoundingly low number: eight. This is possible because every employee is supposed to keep the park clean, not just the janitors.
4. Everybody is customer service -- How long do you think the training is for the people with brooms sweeping up the trash? -- six weeks. This is necessary because guests ask janitors questions, so the folks with brooms must be experts about the park. The training for parking lot attendants can be as long as eight weeks.
5. Pay attention to the details -- Walt Disney himself specified the type of trash can for the park. These cans are currently swapped out every two years and Disney repaints them every four months.
6. Pay attention to even more details -- A hairdresser in the wig department takes 30-45 minutes to wash and set the wig for Ariel. Then it takes 90-120 minutes to dry it. Finally, there's another 30 minutes to comb it out. This is for a wig. Most entrepreneurs don't spend this much time practicing their pitch for venture capitalists.
7. Make your customers feel close and important -- The buildings on Main Street are 5/8th scale. This is to make people feel like they are closer to the action and important. Most companies erect edifices to make their customers feel small, and their bosses feel big. Disneyland does the opposite. Walt Disney used to crouch down to see Disneyland from a child's perspective.
8. Know the facts -- What is the ratio of adults to kids at any given moment in the park? Believe it or not, there are four adults for every kid. I would have never guessed that. This has big ramifications: Disneyland can't just be a place for kids since kids are only 20 percent of the customers.
9. Green is good -- The floats are all battery-powered. The fireworks are launched with compressed air, not explosive charges. The trains are bio-diesel and burn the oil from the park's restaurants. Currently, 80 percent of the 1.3 pounds of trash that each guest produces per day is recycled.
9. Keep customers coming back -- The Star Wars inspired ride called Star Tours has six different destinations, two beginning scenes and three holograms. This means that there are 54 different combinations. If you're very lucky, you can see all the combinations in three rides-or, much more likely, you'll have to keep coming back for more.
(Adapted from the article What I Learned From A Mouse With Big Ears, Guy Kawasaki Co-Founder, Alltop)
I am always impressed every time I visit Disneyland and think about what businesses can learn from Disney. My first visit was over fifty years ago when the gates first opened.
"All the adversity I've had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me. . .You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you." -- Walt Disney
Copyright 2012. Reprinted with permission from Barbara Wold's Retail & Consumer Tips,
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