Well, it finally happened. After choking and gasping for far longer than anyone thought was possible, Blockbuster has finally decided to die. It was an ugly death, slow and painful, which is exactly the kind of demise every business owner should be striving for. After all, why sell at a profit when you could watch everything you’ve built slowly crumble around you? Everybody likes ruins; that’s why Rome is so popular with tourists.
So, in an effort to help you and your business follow in Blockbuster’s decaying footsteps, here are a few things I hope you’ll consider as you look to your business future.
Assume Your Market Will Never Change! Blockbuster began its trip to bankruptcy by investing in a fervent belief that people would always want movies delivered to them in exactly the same way. That’s why they refused to buy Netflix multiple times back in 2005; I mean seriously, who wants DVDs to be mailed to them when you could go to all the extra effort it takes to get in the car, wander around a store, argue with your friends about which movie to rent, and then drive back home? If you’ve ever thought that people will never change the way they want to receive your products or services, then you’re on the right track!
Lag Behind Your Competitors! When Netflix failed to sell itself to Blockbuster, it decided to go on the offensive instead. That’s why 2 years later, in 2007, Netflix began offering streaming content on-demand. Blockbuster responded by rolling out a DVD-by-mail program, which is exactly what Netflix was offering to sell them back in 2005. Blockbuster then gave Netflix and later Hulu about five years to develop their streaming content model before finally trying to roll out a streaming option of their own in 2011. (I can only assume that Blockbuster and Blackberry have the same board of directors. Even the names are pretty close together.) If you’ve seen your competitors having success with something you still refuse to try, then insolvency should be yours in no time!
Hope That Things Will Go Back to the Way They Used to Be! I can only assume this is what Blockbuster’s strategy in the final days. “Don’t worry, everyone – someday all these people are going to clean their wallets out, and then they’re going to find their old Blockbuster card. That will cause a wave of nostalgia to wash over them, and soon they’ll be beating down our doors again.” Except, um, nope. The same thing happened to carriage makers, castle builders, and all the cavepeople who kept using bronze weapons once iron came along. Those people are all extinct now, just like Blockbuster, and just like you can be!
So today at work, I want you to make sure that you keep doing things exactly as you’ve always done them. Don’t look to the future, and don’t worry. It’ll all be over soon.