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How To Build Your Dream Company And Grow it Like Pixar

calendar 2021-12-09 | glass 11 min read | user Ricky Hayes
How To Build A Company Like Pixar
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“Not everyone can become a great artist, but a great artist can come from anywhere.” –Ratatouille

Ratatouille

It's true. Great artists can come from anywhere... not just artists, even regular people who might add value to your life.

And you need this kind of people to help you grow your business. You need people who bring value to your life and business.

Because behind every successful business is a great team and incredible culture!

And that's why you need to find the right people who will help you run your ecommerce store.

Worry no more, because today, we will talk about one of the most highly-successful companies in the world... Pixar!

We will discuss what makes their company culture magnificent, and what we can learn from finding the best people!

Are you ready?

What Makes Pixar Successful?

As we know, Pixar is highly-successful animation creative studio. It is owned by Walt Disney, whose President is Ed Catmull.

And... did you know that one of Pixar's animated film, Incredibles 2, had a $1.2 billion worldwide gross in 2018?

Yep, that's why they're so successful. But the thing is... the success didn't come from luck.

And other people only see the results, but not the process.

Pixar creates a culture of creativity and innovation. It comes from an innovative and respectful company culture... a company that cultivates freedom and respect for each of its employees.

Another thing, Pixar embodies the Egalitarian Culture. This is a philosophy that believes all humans are equal.

So, now you may be wondering... how on earth can you build a company like Pixar?

I will give you an idea... start by hiring or working with the right people.

As Ratatouille said, Great people can come from anywhere, and it's your job to find these great people.

How To Hire The Best People For Your Ecommerce Store?

How To Hire The Best People For Your Ecommerce Store?

1. Direct Interview

If you want to know how to build a company like Pixar, the key to hiring the right people is by asking the right questions.

But before we dive deeper, what is a direct interview?

A direct interview is asking questions with purposes which the interviewee understands. It usually involves asking about previous career experiences, strengths, and the likes.

Here are some examples:

  • Ask how much they know about your business. This will show if your applicants did their research on your business. It's crucial because how can someone work with you when they don't even know the nature of your industry?
  • Ask about their strengths. Let them tell you how their strengths would align with the skills required for the position you're offering. It's essential to see them value and love what they do!
  • Ask them about their past experiences. As their future employer, you need to know their past career experiences. Ask them what urged them to leave their previous job. Or what they liked about it.

Want to mimic Pixar's culture?

Remember: You wouldn't know your interviewees if you asked about nonsense things. Make sure to ask the RIGHT questions.

Now, let's talk about...

2. Indirect Interview

Indirect interviews are where the interviewees are unaware of the purpose. But this isn't designed to trick them!

Based on their answers, these questions will help you determine if they're the right people to work with. If you're going to work with other people, you need to know them deeper in building a company culture.

That's why you need to evaluate their answers. But wait, what kinds of questions can you ask?

  • "What do you like to do outside of work?" This question can make you see what they're like when they're not working. And be ready because there will be different answers. Others will say they like hanging out with friends. But some will say they're pursuing their passion, which is sometimes still related to their job.
  • "Where do you see yourself 3 years from now?" Be wary of their answers! Because if they say that they see themselves as a business owner within 3 years, they're not planning to stay with you long-term.
  • "What kinds of people do you have difficulties working with?" This will help you determine if they can't work with others who have specific personalities. For example, they have problems working with lazy or dishonest people. But this can also tell you if they have a great work ethic and align with your company values.

So, to sum it up... indirect interviews will further help you know if you're interviewing the right person for your job opening!

To know more about subtle interviews, you can watch this video:

Speaking of which, which roles should you open first?

3. Choose The Roles

Before hiring, you need to choose which types of roles you should open first. And to start, you can have...

A. Customer Service

Did you know that 39% of customers will avoid a company for two years if they have a terrible customer service experience?

That's a lot, right? Because customer support is significant for your customers.

That's why a Customer Service role should be one of your priorities when you're hiring.

Now, you're probably wondering... how?

To start, you might want to try them out for two to 4 weeks. This will guarantee both parties that you're a good fit.

If you like their performance and they like your management, you can extend the hours required and pay them higher as your business grows.

Remember, hiring full-time is not a joke. Make sure you find the right one!

Next is...

B. Sourcing Agents

Listen, this is a crucial role because this will help you source your products.

You need to find a fulfillment agent or "Source Agents" who will help you source your products in China and brand them.

Usually, the price ranges from $25-$60 because it's a short-term gig. They're going to source the products from different vendors. And after finding the cheapest one, their job is done.

The point of this is they're going to connect you with the vendors.

Another role is...

C. Influencers

Did you know that influencers can give you an incredible ROI or Return On investment for your business?

Yep! That's right! Because if you work with influencers who have a significant following, you can reach their audience.

Let's say you're selling handbags in your ecommerce store. It's essential to note that you should work with an influencer whose followers are interested in fashion.

But here's the catch...

You can't really hire a full-time influencer for your brand. Most influencers work with various brands to expand their sponsorships or reach. So, finding the right one can be challenging.

No worries, here are some tips!

  • Determine your campaign's objective. What are you trying to achieve for this campaign? If you want to expand your reach overnight, it's best to work with influencers who have a massive audience.
  • Find the influencer who aligns with your company's values. If you want to manifest your brand transparency... you need to associate your brand with someone who has a good reputation. Someone who can help you amplify your cause, not just promote your products.
  • Use tools to find or analyze the influencers. Thanks to technology, there are tools available to spice up your influencer marketing game! So it's easier now for you to work with the right ones.

So, to build a company like Pixar, you always need to find the right people you want to hop on board with!

Another role is...

D. Media Buyers

If this role isn't familiar to you, let me explain further.

Media Buying is to use and maximize paid ads properly. They're usually $25-$30 per hour. Basically, the role of a Media Buyer is to identify which channel is perfect for your ad.

For example, you're a company that sells services. The job of your Media Buyer is to find a channel with an audience who might show interest in your products.

Wondering how a Media Buyer will help you build your dream company?

Let's just say that this role requires excellent skills. They have to be resourceful because they need to work within a budget and maximize it.

And it would help if you had people who are willing to go beyond for the improvement of your company.

So, why don't we go to the cherry on top?

5 Lessons From Pixar's Innovative Culture

5 Lessons From Pixar's Innovative Culture

I'm sure we all want to build a company like Pixar... that's why now, we're going to talk about how they're building a creative and innovative culture!

1. Cultivate Talents

This is one of our lessons because Pixar is always open to working with any talent. This means they work with talented people regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, etc.

And it's one of the reasons why Pixar's culture is exceptional.

For instance, animator John Lasseter chose Sanjay Patel, who was 41, to work on Pixar's animated short film. He worked on "Sanjay's Super Team," a story of a young Indian boy and his father's link to religion.

Short films are usually used to experiment with new technologies. But here's the most exciting part...

Lasseter picked Sanjay Patel to work on the shorts because he saw his artwork in Pixar's gallery hallway, made for its employees.

See? If you want Pixar's creative process, make sure to find ways to help develop your employees' talents. Because they're constantly looking for opportunities and challenges.

Another lesson we picked up from Pixar's culture is...

2. Give Your Employees A Balance Of Freedom And Structure

Hear me out...

Employees hate disorganization and strictness.

If you want to learn how Pixar is building company culture, you need to get a perfect mix of freedom and structure.

First of all, I understand that if you're a startup or small business... there's really no need for a 'Hierarchical Organizational Structure.' Usually, it's a Flat Structure. This is where there's no middle management between authority and employees.

For small organizations, this is okay as you wouldn't have hundreds of employees. But as your business grows, you need a structure.

BUT you don't have to compromise your employees' freedom because it's part of Pixar's creative process. You just need to find the balance.

You need to know what kind of management you can do to ensure your employees are productive and enjoying what they do.

The next lesson is...

3. Give Importance To Your Employees' Well-Being

"I've been really impressed by how Pixar actually cares about what you want to do and tries to match you up with a job that falls within the realm of your interests.” - Jiayi (General Technical Director)

Let's be honest.

Your employees' lives do not revolve around your company. And if you want to learn how Pixar is building company culture, you need to think of your employees.

The statement above sounds like Pixar is people-oriented, right? That's probably one of the secrets why the animation studio is highly-successful.

They hire great people and make sure to take care of them!

Another thing we learned is...

4. Conduct "Braintrust" From Time To Time

Sometimes, there are unfinished works or broad ideas that need polishing.

This is what Ed Catmull did with Pixar. They let their employees share their work and talk about possible problems. Then from the "Braintrust," the director will have the final say.

Now, how will having this benefit your company?

You are letting your employees express their creativity while giving constructive criticism.

By identifying the possible problems of specific ideas, you and your team can be proactive to better your project/campaign as a whole!

Sounds good? Now, let's hop on to the last one...

5. Avoid Focusing On One Idea

Pixar employees need to pitch three ideas. This means they're giving their employees more room for their creative juices.

And it would help if you had it for your company, too. You need more options.

As an ecommerce store, you constantly need to come up with ways to stand out in the saturated market. And having your employees provide different options can help.

So, all these lessons taught us that...

A great Team Requires Great People!

But of course, to keep these great people, you must know how to treat them right!

As we learned from Pixar... when building company culture, this is a two-way street.

Don't expect your employees to be their best when you're not treating them well.

That's why a great team requires great people!

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Written by

Ricky Hayes

Ricky Hayes is the Co-Founder and Head of Marketing at Debutify - free Shopify theme, helping dropshippers build high-converting stores in minutes. He is a passionate entrepreneur running multiple businesses, marketing agencies and mentoring programs.

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