Richard A. Lindsey, CPA

Lindsey & Waldo, LLC – Certified Public Accountants

  • Mar 21

    I recently read an article where Robert Skrob, president of the Information Marketing Association, was describing his experiences with Disney — there are some ideas I think you can use in your business. Here’s Robert:

    When you enter the Magic Kingdom® park at Walt Disney World in Orlando, you’re really on the second level. Unseen to guest, there is an underground level where employees (or “cast members” as Disney calls them) enter the park. As part of a seminar I held in Orlando, I treated all of the attendees to a tour of this underground area as well as other “behind-the-scenes” areas at Walt Disney World.

    During this event, we had the “opportunity” to tour Disney’s laundry. When the Disney people told me they thought my attendees, which were all CEOs of $25 million plus companies, would benefit from a tour of their laundry facility, I was apprehensive. I’ve seen the inside of too many Laundromats already; I didn’t think my members needed any of that. But, reluctantly, I agreed.

    The laundry operation is enormous — with 160 employees, it is the largest laundry facility in the world. Walt Disney World includes 12 different resorts, each with 500 to 2,500 hotel rooms and their requisite supply of towels and sheets, plus restaurant linens and everything else that needs to be laundered. The individuals who operate the towel folding machines fold an average of one towel every four seconds over an eight hour shift. The monotony must be excruciating; however, they have a staff turnover rate of only 3%. Some employees are second and third generation, their families having worked in the facility for years.

    There is a lot of neat automation to see, but most importantly, I discovered that the laundry can be an important customer service area of the resort in two important ways.

    Laundry as a customer service #1: Each day, guests leave hundreds of items that get mixed in with the hotels’ towels and sheets. When those items get to the laundry facility, each item is indexed by the date, resort name and room number, and then is entered into a database. The laundry facility has a call center to handle the guests’ calls looking for lost items.

    As you can imagine, every day, there are dozens of stuffed animals purchased in the park one day, and left in the bed that night that end up in the laundry the next day. If the guest has already returned home before calling to recover a stuffed animal, the laundry staff takes photos of the toy at several places throughout the Magic Kingdom® and creates a small scrapbook of photos. Then the stuffed animal, the scrapbook and a note, talking about how the animal wasn’t done having fun and that’s why it ”snuck out” to stay back for a couple of extra days, find their way home. The Disney staff goes to great pains to take this “guest mistake” and turn it into an opportunity for them to provide a terrific experience.

    Laundry as customer service #2: Even at the Magic Kingdom®, doing the laundry is not a fun job. It’s wet, it’s hot, it has to be pressed and folded and just when you get it done, another truck full of dirty sheets arrives. It’s grueling, but it has to be done. Plus, these employees don’t get to see guests enjoying their work. It’s one thing to operate a ride; at least you get to see the excited children. In the laundry there is nothing but more laundry. Disney does a great job of ensuring its employees understand why their jobs are a critical part of the guest experience. For the laundry services employee, there are mounds of wet sheets. For guests, a freshly laundered pillowcase is the last thing they see before they close their eyes at the end of a magical day.

    Are there common ways that customers experience frustration that you can plan for and turn them into opportunities to provide a unique experience? Can you turn an embarrassing and tense situation into a “wow” experience for your customer?

    You can find out more about Robert Skrob and the Information Marketing Association at www.info-marketing.org.

  • Mar 7

    Laura Huxley wrote a book called: You Are Not the Target. Boy, was she wrong! You, the small business owner, are the government’s number one target for additional taxes. American corporations pay higher taxes than anywhere else in the free world.

    Every time you look at your mail, there’s another tax form demanding your attention and your money. Now you’re even paying the highest price for the latest tax and health care reform. And, as small business tax experts we can promise you one thing and one thing only: it is going to get worse, not better… Unless you discover the secrets normally used by the big guys to fight back!

    The question is: Are you going to keep taking it lying down? Most will.

    Most successful business owners pay excess taxes

    My experience has been that many successful small businesses (or its owners) are forking over more in taxes to the IRS than absolutely required.

    I spent 15 years working in-the-trenches in the family business before I became a CPA. My father retired from the Air Force when I was 17 and we moved to Mobile to establish Mobile Marble Company. I started out doing the simplest, dirtiest grunt work there was. I swept the floors, made the product, polished the product, and installed the product. Then I “graduated” to the office and moved into sales, marketing and administration. I learned nearly every facet of that business, from the bottom up.

    My father had a near constant obsession to find ways to save money on taxes. Taxes were the one expense where it was most difficult to see the benefits. Whatever the business venture was, and there were many, tax consequences were never to be ignored. He wanted it done right, mind you, but he didn’t want to pay a nickel more in taxes than he absolutely had to.

    That’s why I make it my mission to help small business owners and entrepreneurs avoid paying more in taxes than is absolutely required by the law.

    You deserve to keep what you earn. If this is a talk you’d like to have, contact our office at (251) 633-4070 to schedule your consultation today.