Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
WORK-LIFE BALANCE / OCT. 21, 2015
version 11, draft 11

What Start Ups Can Learn From Disney

There’s no doubt that you have multiple Disney favourites which inspired you as a child. As an adult looking back, Disney films offer far more substance than pretty princesses and memorable villains. There were plenty of lessons intertwined into heartfelt story lines and some of these valuable lessons, can be transferred directly into startup business opportunities.

See Also5 Business Lessons We Can Learn From the Oscars

If you’re thinking, ‘what can I possibly learn from Disney films that would help my startup?’ well, don’t be so quick to judge. Each Disney film offers its own unique plot, all offering multiple life lessons. Whether the lesson is believing in yourself, not judging others, or the importance of perseverance, Disney films can help you realize some of the most basic lessons which all business owners should understand.

1. Keep Swimming

finding nemo
Disney

Dora, from Finding Nemo, tells the young fish that when life gets you down, you need to just keep swimming. In order to succeed in a successful startup, you have to maintain high levels of determination and push forward, even when you run into various roadblocks. Whether you receive some negative feedback, have staffing issues, or any other setback, it’s important to always focus on your goals and learn from your mistakes.

If business owners let every small hurdle bring them down and cause them to give up, there wouldn’t be any business owners left. If you believe in your business and you’re making progress, don’t allow minor obstacles stand in between you and your success. High levels of determination can take you very far, helping you overcome any hardships along the way. If you fail, keep swimming. Focus on what went wrong, learn from it, and continue forward.

2. Dare to be Different

This is a common theme throughout numerous Disney films, including Dumbo. Of course, Dumbo had incredibly large ears which caused everyone to make fun of him and constantly feel embarrased. He wasn’t able to perform at the circus like all the other elephants because of this unique feature. However, by the end of the film, Dumbo harnesses his ability to fly, making this an incredible and successful accomplishment.

For any business owner, you know that without any risk, there’s little reward. Those who are unique are those that succeed. There are a million and one businesses out there and you may have immense competition within your niche. What will set you apart? What will allow you to build an excited and loyal customer base? Dare to make your business and product exclusive.

Throughout life, we tend to lean towards actions that allow us to fit in and be normal. Going against the grain can be extremely rewarding, but it also requires hard work. The most successful startups solve a problem or fill a specific need. Therefore, as you compete alongside other companies, you’re going to need to differentiate yourself.

3. Focus on Your Goals

We all remember Alice, lost in a world that challenged her perception of reality. When she met up with the Cheshire Cat, their conversation yielded the importance of specific goals. If you enter a startup without a sense of direction, knowing exactly what it is that you want to achieve, you can get lost along the way.

When Alice gets lost, she asks the Cheshire Cat which way she should go. He replied with, well, that depends on where you’d like to get to. Since Alice didn’t care where she ended up, the cat said, then it doesn’t matter which way you go. Think of your startup as the crazy journey in which Alice embarks on. Without a sense of direction, you’re going in blind, bound to encounter many more obstacles.

If you’re immersed in a startup, think about where you want to be in a week, in a month, in a year. Always look ahead and know which direction you’re heading in, as without a clear sense of direction, it’s much harder to reach your goals.

4. If You Put Your Mind to Something, You Can Succeed

Mulan is the perfect example of not giving up and sticking to what you believe in. In order to protect her father, she secretly disguises herself as a man so that she can take his place in the army. She trained and she conquered despite all the odds- the same principles that can easily be applied to business.

If you don’t believe in yourself and your business, who will? If you truly believe that you have a great concept and business plan, as well as high levels of determination, nothing can stop you. You must believe in yourself and your abilities. Like Mulan, you also need to address areas where you’re weak in order to increase your chances of success.

Once you put your mind to it, your actions will help you develop a strong business. Not everyone will understand why you’re taking on certain risks, but that does not necessarily mean you’re making a mistake. Mulan’s choices were not fully understood by those she encountered, but she put her mind to it and was successful in saving her father.

Treat your startup as a life or death scenario. Of course, if your business goes under, you’re not going to be killed by a sword in battle, but still, you need to stay focused. Pinpoint aspects of your company that need to be strengthened and take one day at a time, continually pushing forward until you succeed!

5. Be Honest

pinocchio
Disney

We all know the story of Pinocchio; he told lies and suffered the consequences. This was a great lesson, as honesty is always the best policy for your business and your life in general. If you lie to your staff, investors, clients, or customers, you may not grow a long wooden nose, but you could most certainly hurt your business (and reputation).

Trust is crucial in business and if your customers trust you, you’ll eventually build a loyal network of people. When you’re starting out, building your customer base is vital to your success, as without customers, you won’t develop growth and your business will, unfortunately, fail.

Always be honest with your customers and welcome their feedback. This is the time to gather information and build relationships. The same is true regarding potential investors. If there’s someone you’d like to work with and require their investment, honesty and some level of transparency are vital in your collaboration.

Lastly, it’s important to be honest with yourself. A startup can be viewed as your baby, but if something isn’t working, you need to remind yourself that honesty is the best policy. You need to look at every aspect of your business in a realistic manner. Don’t sugar coat things that aren’t working in order to make yourself feel better. This is the time to be honest with yourself and take appropriate action in case some aspects of your business are not really worth it.

See AlsoHow to Present Your Startup to Investors 

So remember, Disney movies aren’t just for kids. Well, of course I wouldn’t suggest using information from Disney films to base your entire startup but the more information you source and the more prepared you are, the better. With that being said, Disney has provided many beneficial life lessons throughout its movies. The villain tends to lose and the hero comes out on top. Work hard in order to be the hero for your company, and overcome the continuous challenges and competition in your industry. You can even be your business’ Disney Prince or Princess!

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