Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Disneyworld: Not Just a Vacation

As soon as you become a mom and start envisioning the first family vacation, most women start to envision the Magic Kingdom and their children being swept away with the fairytales and fun of Disneyworld. I was no different. Last month, we finally got the opportunity. Four days of relaxation, a commitment to leave the smart phones and laptops at home and connect to the magic of my kid’s first vacation with Mickey Mouse. Terrifying, I know.

My intention was not to work one iota, and I tried, I really did, but being the founder of a national entrepreneurial magazine and the owner of a PR firm for small businesses, I couldn’t help but notice the perfection of the Disney business model. So I decided to do a little case study on the happiest place on earth and bring it back to my network of entrepreneurial moms.

Opportunities for the Small Business:

Multiple Streams of Revenue: I know many of you are a bit jaded when discussing the amount of shopping opportunities at Disney, but from an entrepreneurial perspective, we can all learn something. Obviously Disney’s streams of revenue focus on the park tickets, the accommodations (I am still jonesin’ for the Mickey shaped ice creams), and the souvenirs, but if you look closely, there are opportunities to purchase so that you can stay longer at the park. They sell raincoats, rainboots, socks, sweaters, coats, everything so that your magical moments are not disrupted by inclement weather. A girlfriend mentioned “ I didn’t care if that stroller cost $100/day, I would have spent it to stay longer at the park”. (Actual cost is $15/day) What new products or services can be added to your business model to increase your total sale per client?

Customer Service: I don’t know of any other corporation who handles customer service better than Disney. From the moment you arrive on the grounds to the moment you leave, you and every member of your family is treated like royalty. You don’t realize how uncommon this is until you can see a contrast. I have to admit, it started to fascinate me – I began to test them. I watched every person from the housekeeping staff to their national directory of media relations with my family and with other guests at the parks - it never changed. It became obvious the focus of their training was on creating magical moments, not closing sales.

Website Marketing: Next time you are thinking of planning a vacation or just hanging out with your kids on the computer, visit www. ( is where you should go for Canadian travel specials) and see how you can duplicate some of their ideas to keep people on your site longer. I could spend hours on the site alone, from Mommy blogs, to vacation planners to video games for every age group, Disney’s ability to capitalize on online marketing is like no other. You cannot get better top of mind awareness then when your 4 year old asks hourly to play the new Alice in Wonderland game.

Media / Public Relations: Okay, I have to admit, it would be hard for the small business owner to be able to compete with Disney in sending a group of Canadian media families for a one week vacation at your place of business, but what we can learn from is the pieces that made me as a media member want to write about that business. Disney has been around since 1955, you have to admit, it is hard to continue to write press releases each year – the media and the public needs a new story, something we have all experienced.

This year Disney launched the “Give A Day, Get A Day, volunteEarism campaign. This was an initiative that gave one free Disney park pass in return for one day of volunteering at registered charities. It encouraged families to volunteer and give back to their community’s together and encouraged travel to the park –brilliant in terms of a campaign to drive traffic to the parks as well as the media attention it garnered. It is also something most businesses can do in their own special way, find a charity in your area that relates to your target market and find a way to partner with them so that you both benefit. The leverage this kind of campaign could potentially have makes it a marketing model we should all look at.

When looking at our business models, sometimes, we don’t need to re invent the wheel, only add our personal or, dare I say, “Magical” touch.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hello, my name is Kathryn and I am a Serial Entrepreneur

Writing an introductory blog is not easy. How do you introduce yourself? Last week I stood up to speak for a group of women who were all interested in becoming entrepreneurial moms. The person introducing me referred to me as a “Serial Entrepreneur”. Ouch – the word “serial”, brings forth internal audio files from the news ie. serial killer, serial rapist, serial robber, hell, I don’t even like to eat cereal. (ok, that joke is better said than read)

But it is true. From the time I got my first whif of being an entrepreneur, I was hooked. It has become a total addiction, something no celebrity based, high class rehab spa could even beat out of me – although I would happily test this theory.

Growing up, I watched my father work for 24.5 years as a senior level human resources manager for a big oil company, only to be laid off a few months before his 25 year pension bous came through. After 25 years, they said they no longer needed him and could they throw him a party on the way out the door?

That was a pretty influential experience for me. Do I give my blood, sweat and tears to some guy in the corner office and worry about my job security? Do I work long hours and compete with my colleagues for our jobs when times get tough? Do I worry about taking time off for my kids when they are sick or when I need to take a parent to the doctor for her monthly check in? It became a pretty easy choice for me to go out on my own – and I have never looked back.

That being said, I have had some really great successes – I started the first Canada wide magazine for women in business, I have met some great people, eaten some fabulous dinners and am happy to be able to look at a couple of really fancy shoes in my closet. I have also felt the taste of loss, my first real business with over a million dollars in revenue a year, ended with a huge, esteem demolishing, and confidence crushing failure that to this day leaves a rancid, vomit like taste in my mouth. Does this still trump working for someone else – absolutely.

So, I hope what I can offer you from this weekly blog is a little taste of the reality of being an entrepreneurial mom. I will be interviewing women starting businesses, losing businesses, surviving in business and best of all, those who are thriving. I will be writing about my experiences in sales, in managing people (still can’t find that perfect assistant), getting outside investment, surviving cashflow crises and working with partners. I will even tread into the shark infested waters of dealing with the begrudged husband who just wants you to get a “real job”.

So, let’s talk – if you are an entrepreneurial mom out there looking to get involved, email me at

Monday, February 08, 2010

Be part of the Edmonton Mom, Pop & Tots Fair!

The Edmonton Mom, Pop & Tots Fair is a fun two-day family event loaded with entertainment, education, and excitement! Be part of the excitement March 12th and 13th, 2010!

Does your company’s target market fall into the following categories?

• Young Families
• Expectant Parents
• Caregivers
• Children

Are you looking for a marketing strategy to stretch your dollars and make the most of your budget? For more information call (780) 490-0215 or email

Monday, January 11, 2010

Twitter Tip

If you are a member of our Parent Entrepreneur Program (we like to call it PEP!), we tweet about your business twice a month and post your business information on the CanadianBabies Facebook fan page once a month.

You can see the CanadianBabies twitter page here:

and the CanadianBabies Facebook Fan page here:

To make our twitter posts better regarding your company please ensure that your webpage has a title and description in your metatags that are no longer than 140 characters combined.  If you need any help with this please contact Jamie at:  You'll also find the following video helpful:

Monday, December 14, 2009

Idea of the Week: Send Them Your Website

Postcards are a great, inexpensive way to boost sales. Ask the ideas company how they can help you develop a postcard campaign that will get attention.

Mompreneur First Year Tips Part 1 of 3

Monday, December 07, 2009

Idea of the Week: Your Logo All Wrapped Up

Before and after photos are a great way to demonstrate the value of your work.  Showcase your work on your website with a photo gallery.  For more information give us a call at 416-686-6747 or email