What we can learn from Walt Disney - A guest post by Tim Armoo
Sometimes when starting and growing your business, a bit of advice is needed. And when your mentor is not around you may panic and freeze! But fear not this is pretty common and I figured I would give a helping hand by having a look at Walt Disney-one of the world greatest showmen/entrepreneurs.
Setting the scene: Walt Disney had it tough at the start. With no money he had to live in his office because he couldn’t afford rent. He also survived on a diet of cold beans because of this.
Walt Disney is a living truth of doing what you love. At a young age, he used to doodle and did it really well. In fact at one point, he got paid by a neighbour to doodle for him. This obsession followed him everywhere he went. After dropping out of school at 16 because it did not interest him that much, he signed up to the Red Cross and got a job as an ambulance driver but even then, he plastered the car with his drawings. Eventually he decided that this obsession had to be released so he quit his job and returned to America to become an artist.
What can we learn from him: Love what you do. It’s as simple as. For me, there is nothing better than knowing that someone’s life has been impacted or someone has been moved to cause a change through our running of Doodlar .Walt Disney too couldn’t control his love and the same should be for you. The lesson here? Make sure that you have that passion for what you are doing, never ever go for money because you would lose interest quite quickly -money is a by-product of that passion you have for what you are doing. Think about what you do in you spare time what gets you going and think about how you can turn that into a business.
Lesson number 2. In 1934, cooped up in a small room. Disney came up with the idea of a feature length animation. It had never been done before, he went 100% over budget, heck he had to act the last scene himself because he didn’t have enough money to pay the actors. Guess what movie this was? Snow White! Which went on to win him several awards. Unsatisfied, Walt then went on to try and create Disneyland; again the naysayers came exclaiming why on earth he would start something so unrelated to the movie business and if he was crazy. He wasn’t. DisneyLand is now a household name all over the world and this is due to Walt Disney being crazy enough to push the boundaries.
What can we learn from him? Push the boundaries. It is highly likely that whatever business your are thinking of starting rare currently, has competitors. Competition is good, it tells you that there is something there to fight over. But on the flipside, competition means are that you must try harder to make yourself different. And the only way to do that is to push the boundaries. Walt did it with Snow White, he understood that animation was competitive and so he had to make himself different and voila Snow White was born! So how about you then? What will be your Snow White?
Walt Disney was someone who was always there. By that we 1mean that he did a lot of advertising, TV campaign print ads heck he even did grocery store coupon cut-outs. He also did some merchandising so that whenever a new film came out, people could buy things related to it. The overall idea was that he was always there. Now we know him for more than just his movies, but also for his theme park and his characters and his games and that is all down him spending years advertising himself
What can we learn from this: Stay top of mind, Walt understood a really important rule of business. The best way to grow is to sell more to your existing customers not to go in search for new ones. You want to be in a position where you are the first person people think of when they think about your industry. And how you do that is rather simple-always be there. In this digital world that we live in, it’s quite hard to keep up with all the latest platform however centering on two-Facebook and Twitter (maybe Linkedin, if your startUp is a B2B)- and making sure you are very active on both platforms. Send out articles related to your field, they don’t have to be constant selling tweets but just need to be occasional reminders to your customers that you are there. You want to get to the point where as soon as your customer things about a product, they think about you. Once you do that you are to a winner.
Timothy Armoo is the co-founder of Doodlar; a platform bringing social good to fashion by designing and promoting limited edition apparel which reflects a specific cause. All apparel is eligible for a fortnight, with 25% of every sale being given to a partnering non-profit.