What an entrepreneur can learn from The Paw Patrol
I have two kids, a five year old boy and a two year old girl. Both of whom are obsessed with a children's TV show called Paw Patrol. If you haven't heard of the programme before, the concept is simple - A boy called Ryder lives in a place called Adventure Bay. He has a team of talking dogs and is an expert at building gadgets. Each of these dogs is skilled in a particular area (fire safety, police work etc) and between them they go on missions and save people.
Adventure Bay doesn't seem to have a fire department, a hospital or a police force. Instead the Mayor of the City (who is completely crazy and spends most of her time talking to a chicken) has put all her faith in a teenager and his pet dogs.
As you can imagine I have seen every single episode of the programme about a million times. I have also spent a small fortune on various Paw Patrol toys, clothes, figures and gadgets. One thing is for sure, the makers of the programme really do understand the concept of merchandising!
Anyway the other night I was watching Paw Patrol and I began to realise that entrepreneurs can learn a lot from watching the programme. You probably think I've gone as crazy as the Town Mayor, getting business advice from a chicken. But if you bear with me you'll see I have a point!
1) Ryder and the Paw Patrol never get stressed, no matter what is happening.
It doesn't matter if someone is drowning or if a monster is attacking the town, it doesn't phase
them. In fact Ryder's catchphrase is "No job is too big, no pup is too small!"
This is something we should try to emulate in our businesses. Nobody ever makes good decisions when they are stressed. The best thing to do is to make sure that you don't stress or wait until you have calmed down before you make any decisions. Whatever is stressing you out will probably have been forgotten about in six months time. So if it won't be an issue in six months down the line, don't make it an issue now.
2.) The Paw Patrol are prepared for every situation.
Ryder must spend his life either building more vehicles or training his dogs to deal with every situation. No matter what random thing happens in Adventure Bay he has the solution immediately. This comes down to being prepared.
Once again this is something we should do in our businesses. Have you ever worked out all of the different things that could go wrong in your business? It's important to do this because once you have analysed potential problems, it will allow you to come up with solutions before it happens. It's called being proactive instead of reactive. If you accept that nobody makes good decisions when they are stressed then, this is perfect. You won't be stressed because when something does happen you already know what to do.
3.) The Paw Patrol aren't afraid to outsource.
Ryder has his core group of dogs that can deal with most situations however from time to time he has other options. If he is in the jungle he has a dog called Tracker he can call on. When he is somewhere cold he has a dog called Everest he can call on. He understands that sometimes he needs to go outside of his own team.
Entrepreneurs as a general rule are afraid of outsourcing. They try to do everything themselves or get their immediate team to help. Sometimes however that just isn't possible. Take myself as an example. I have a team of 15 people back in my head office however we still outsource a lot. We have a company that deals with all of our Google Adwords, we outsource our social media training, we outsource our bookkeeping, even our out of hours call handling. The reason is that the people we outsource to will do a better job than I can and it frees me up to do something more important.
If you are trying to do every task within your business yourself it does not leave any time to be entrepreneurial. And the important thing to understand is that the only time you actually grow your businesses is when you are being entrepreneurial. You need to work on your business not in it and the best way to do that is to outsource and free up your time.
4.) Ryder embraces technology.
Perhaps I should say that Ryder is obsessed with technology. Over the years he has built boats, planes, jet packs, robot dogs complete with AI - basically everything! However he understands that the best way to save the day is to use the tools at his disposal and not to try and limit himself.
My question is do you do this within your business? It amazes me the amount of business owners and entrepreneurs that try to avoid technology at all costs. I'll give you the perfect example. My company Slightly Unusual exhibits at a lot of Wedding Fayres. We capture people's interest in a form on an iPad which automatically populates a spreadsheet and puts the person we met into an automated email system that keeps in touch with them. When I speak to other exhibitors they have a pad that they write people's email addresses on so that they can email them at 'some point'.
The problem with this method is that it takes a lot more time and effort to do anything with the information and I'm willing to bet in many cases never gets done.
This is just one example. The point is that there is a lot of technology these days that can really help people grow a big businesses faster. Do you use all this available technology in your business? Do you use a cloud based accounting package like Xero or do you just use a spreadsheet? Do you use a CRM like Sales Radar or Infusionsoft or do you manually email people? The more tasks you can automate then the more time you will have to grow your business and be entrepreneurial.
5.) Ryder and the pups have worked out how to have a work life balance.
Yes The Paw Patrol run around saving the day but most of the time you will see them playing and having fun. When something needs doing they are all business but outside of that they are basically chilling. It amazes me the amount of business owners that do not grasp this simple concept.
I meet so many business owners and they proudly tell me they have worked 20 hour days for the last 7 days. They post on social media about the 4am club, hustle and grind. My question is why are these business owners doing this to themselves? They spend every hour of the day working to try and increase their profit by a fraction but they don't care about their health, their family or their friends.
I have a friend who invited me around his house. When I got there I noticed his TV had gone. I asked where it was and he told me he had got rid of all the TV's in his house. I asked him why because I knew he loved TV and watched the same sort of shows that I do. He told me that TV was a distraction and he would rather be working all night than getting distracted. I told him that he was an idiot! If he is working 24/7 and removing everything in his life that is giving him enjoyment, what is the actual point?
What about you? How's your work life balance? Think about it.
6.) Ryder takes time to build relationships.
Everyone in Adventure
Bay knows Ryder and his pups. This might be because he is effectively the police, the fire service and the local hospital. It might be because they are wondering where his parents are and where he gets his money from! It might be because they wonder where he found a whole bunch of talking dogs! However it's probably because he goes out of his way to talk to everyone. He builds relationships with every single person in that town.
As a business owner you should do the same thing. You should go out your way to get to know other business owners and build relationships with them. The obvious way to do this is by attending networking meetings like 4Networking. I built my business from the ground up by networking and getting to know people.
However if you are going to attend networking events makes sure that you follow up with people that you meet. Get to know them outside of the meetings. Arrange to meet up for a coffee. The key thing is that you want to be the business that person thinks of if they get asked if they know anyone that does what you do. Be unforgettable. Remember it's netWORKING not netEATING or netSITTING, you have to work at it.
7.) Ryder understands the importance of branding.
No matter where you look when you are around Paw Patrol you will see the Paw Patrol logo. On the vehicles, the buildings, the gadgets, the dogs themselves - even on Ryder. Everything has the same colours and style. You can spot a Paw Patrol vehicle a mile away. Now the cynical side of me thinks this is so that the creators of the programme want to sell an ever increasing amount of toys. However I'd like to believe that it's because Ryder understands that The Paw Patrol is a brand and everything needs to be branded.
Do you understand how important branding is within your business? I'm not just talking about where you put your logo or the colours you use within your business (although that is important). I'm talking about everything. How you communicate to your customers, where you advertise, how you speak to people on the phone, how you deal with problems. Everything you do within your business has to tie into your branding and your company message. Have a good hard look at your business and ask yourself if your branding is on point. If it's not then it's vitally important that you do something about it.
So there you have it. Seven things that an entrepreneur can learn from watching the Paw Patrol. Reading a blog like this won't do anything for you unless you take action. If you have read something in the last few minutes that made you think. Do something about it. If you do nothing expect nothing. However if you take action you never know where you might end up.
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