I’m Granmama to a 3 year old princess. Since moving back to Maine I’ve enjoyed lots of quality time with her and that includes watching some of her favorite shows. At 3, Disney Junior is to her what AMC or HBO are for me, the home to her favorite shows and characters. Needless to say I’ve spent hours getting acquainted with them, but I’m happy to say those hours weren’t totally unrelated to my business. Believe it or not, there are a few business lessons you can learn from Disney Junior characters.
- Sophia the First– Lesson: Dealing with change. Let’s start with another little princess, Sofia the First. The show is about a blended family and follows the adventures of Sofia who suddenly becomes a princess when her mother marries the king. Going from commoner to royalty is no easy task, so we get to see how Sofia deals with things like balancing her old friendships with her new life. Let’s face it, changes are something every business owner deals with whether it’s the loss of a major client, a drop in sales or even sudden success. Hopefully we can all deal with those changes as wisely as Sofia does. Oh and by the way, when Sofia gets stuck and doesn’t know what to do, various Disney princesses show up to help her out. We could do well to remember to let others help us when we get stuck in our business too.
- Doc McStuffins– Lesson: Find a Niche. Our next lesson comes from Doc McStuffins, a young girl who has a practice healing broken toys. It’s a pretty lucrative gig and it keeps her plenty busy. She sees a steady stream of ‘patients’ in her office that resembles a Little Tikes playhouse. You could say she’s found the perfect niche for her talents. And that’s what we should do as business owners as well. Forget trying to be everything to everyone, find that thing that you love and do best and run with it. By the way, when Santa asked Doc to come to work for him at the North Pole, she turned him down flat. She was happy doing exactly what she was already doing. Something to aspire to as business owners for sure.
- Tinkerbell– Lesson: Embrace who you are. Tinkerbell is so much more than Peter Pan’s sidekick now. In fact, in the movie that introduces us to the pre-Pan Tink, she teaches us all a thing or two about embracing who we are as business owners (and individuals!) When Tinkerbell is chosen to be a tinker fairy, she gets it in her head that her career path was the wrong one after a couple of failed attempts at doing things the way the other tinker fairies are doing them. After trying out all the other fairy jobs, it turns out that Tinkerbell is a tinker fairy like no other, she takes materials no other fairy has ever used and solves problems with her new upcycled item inventions. The business moral here? If you head off on a business path that’s right for you but you don’t succeed immediately doing it the way everyone else is, try doing it a new way…your way. Embracing who we are is solid advice for both our business lives as well as our personal lives.
- Mickey Mouse Clubhouse– Lesson: Use the right tool for the job. Watching this latest incarnation of the Mickey Mouse Club you might scratch your head wondering just how the Hot Dog Dance pertains to business. Back it up a bit. Before we get to the hot dog dance we have to solve some problems using….drumroll please…the MouskaTools. Every episode Mickey and the gang have four different, sometimes odd, tools that they can use to help them. They then have to figure out what tool to use where and when. That’s right, it teaches us the importance of using the right tools in our business. One of the biggest things I see small business owners doing wrong is using tools that don’t exactly do the job right in the interest of saving some money. But using tools that are ill fitted to the job at hand ends up costing them additional time or can even keep them from doing the job right. Learn from Mickey and the gang, choose the right tools and you’ll be amazed at how it helps you solve your problems.
- Nina– Lesson: Don’t procrastinate. Our final business lesson comes from Nina, the little girl in the mini-show shorts called Nina Needs to Go. Yup, it’s about what you think it’s about. Hey, we’re talking 3 year old entertainment here, potty training is recent history. The premise of this little show is all about procrastination though. Nina waits a bit too long and then has to find ways to get to the little girl’s room as quickly as possible before the unthinkable happens. In business it can be tempting to procrastinate too, but rushing to get things done is no fun, not to mention it opens the door to errors and the possibility of …the unthinkable happening.
There you have it, proof that business wisdom can be found in the most unlikely places, even while you’re enjoying the fabulous company of a three year old.