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Are You Blockbuster or Netflix? This Is One Ending You Want To Skip To

Updated: Dec 17, 2023

As a successful entrepreneur, it can be tempting to put intentionally seeking personal growth and development on the back burner. We are laser-focused on moving our business forward, including what needs to get done, what projects are due, and which clients need a little more attention this week.

The more successful our business or the greater the momentum it is experiencing, the more we likely feel it needs our full attention. We are zeroed in, often at the expense of everything else in our lives. But what if I told you that it could also be at the expense of your business?

Here's why. 

Achieving success is one thing, but maintaining it requires a whole other set of skills and mindset, including the ability to quickly adapt, creativity, innovation, and the willingness to embrace change, especially in today’s rapidly evolving environment. 

Success often leads many companies to take the, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach, leading them to operate within the same box for years. They don’t innovate, monitor efficiency, pay heed to emerging trends, or create mechanisms for evaluation beyond revenue within their scope of operation.

We’ve seen the ramifications of this in every industry, but to use examples everyone is likely familiar with, let’s look at the retail category. Once household names with decades in business, Sears, Blockbuster, Borders Bookstores, Kmart, Barneys New York, and so many more, fell victim to their inability to evolve. 

Creatas from Photo Images via Canva Pro

Out of these and so many more examples in this category, Blockbuster stands out. Almost all of us reading this article can remember a time when we visited a Blockbuster store to pick out a movie, excitedly pouring over the shelves and scanning the titles for what called out to us. Family home entertainment, date nights, and sleepovers revolved around Blockbuster in homes across America for years. They dominated the space, our VCRs, and later, DVD players. 

Yet, despite their dominance the movie giant failed because it was too successful. Here’s a quote from an article in Forbes that says it all, “Blockbuster failed because its leadership had built a well-oiled operational machine.” They fought innovation and change and as a result, went bankrupt. 

In the meantime, Netflix turned its disadvantage (not having retail locations) into an advantage. They’ve continuously innovated and while they’ve certainly had some hiccups along the way, they’ve kept moving forward. 

In 2000, Reed Hastings, the founder of Netflix, proposed a partnership to Blockbuster CEO, who promptly laughed Hastings out of the room.

But Netflix didn't let that rejection stop them.

The streaming behemoth evolved from a DVD rental company that mailed DVDs to customers, which customers would have to wait days to receive, to streaming, buying content rights, creating their own content, and creating brick-and-mortar immersive experiences. 

In addition, Netflix will soon open a retail concept called Netflix House where fans will be able to immerse themselves in their favorite shows, shop the merch, sample food from the chefs in the company's reality cooking shows, and experience live events. 

Today, Netflix is the largest streaming company in the world with 232 million subscribers, even bigger than Amazon’s Prime Video. By the way, in 1998, Amazon offered to buy Netflix for somewhere between $14 million to $16 million dollars. Today, Netflix is worth about $205.6 billion dollars. 

Blockbuster is worth 0. 

Do not be the Blockbuster of your industry. Be the Netflix. 

This goes for your business and your personal life. Why?

To answer this question, I’ll refer to a quote attributed to Martha Beck, “The way we do anything is the way we do everything.”

By taking a holistic perspective, you will gain insight into patterns as well as access to breakthroughs. 

Start by asking yourself, how are you encouraging and nurturing forward evolution in your business and personal life?

Not sure? Here are some ideas to foster creativity, gain fresh insight, and step outside the box in your business. 

  • Hold a SWOT session

  • Conduct a no-judgement zone brainstorming session 

  • Conduct a competitive analysis and look for the gaps and opportunities in your category and industry

  • Create a 3D perceptual/positioning map 

SWOT Analysis for women entrepreneurs
TLFuerrer from Getty Images Pro via Canva Pro

These exercises are pretty standard but I’m amazed at how many small business owners don’t do them. Although I already mentioned two reasons earlier, not wanting to fix what’s not broken and having too much success, in my work consulting small-to-mid-sized businesses I’ve found other reasons as well, including: 

  • Still operating in survival mode, a holdover from the early days

  • Being caught up in the day-to-day minutia

  • Not imagining or believing that their industry can or will change in any meaningful way

  • Being comfortable with the way things are

Consider if these apply to your business culture.

Then, objectively consider if they may also apply in your personal life.

They may or may not. Do not judge yourself, your business, or your team. Just observe and notice. 

To move yourself out of your personal box, you can try one new creative activity each week for four weeks in a row.

If you have a partner or kids, you can try new things with them as well, but be sure to do this exercise for yourself and by yourself first. You can invite a friend but keep it to a max of 2 people. This way you’ll have the opportunity to talk and create, yet still have moments of silence and reflection in between. 

Gustavo Fring from Pexels via Canva Pro

You could try taking an art class, a dance class, joining a choir, or volunteering for Habitat for Humanity. Make sure that the activity is creative where you are creating with your physical self—whether that’s a song with your voice, a dance with your body, or a home with your hands.

After each creative activity, think about the session and take a few minutes to write down in your journal, phone, or notebook what you got out of it, what you experienced and what you learned about yourself. 

I recently did this with a new dance class I took. In the class, I experienced being a part of a group in a way I had never before. 

In one of the routines, we all gathered and formed a tight triangle, moving together toward the corner of the room. For me, it conjured a feeling of being in a murmuration of people.

Henk Bogaard from Getty Images via Canva Pro

After the class, I sat in my car and thought about the experience. I was so moved by that concept that it brought tears to my eyes. It felt so great to be moving toward the same goal in person with a group of people, I realized that I wanted more of that. 

As an entrepreneur in a post-pandemic world, my entire team is remote except for one assistant who occasionally works with me in person since we are now in the same city.

While my team remains remote, I now volunteer more and I am creating a new community of other women entrepreneurs. The experience in the dance class took me outside of my box, offered insight, and it opened up new possibilities for me as a person and opportunities for my business. 

As you open up new creative pathways in your personal life, you will forge new neuro pathways in your brain. The more you explore, the more these pathways will grow and the more your creativity in all areas of your life will grow.

If you try these exercises, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


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