Access to TV shows and movies has become easier, more convenient, and more entertaining, thanks to excellent online video-streaming provided by Netflix. Entrepreneur and philanthropist Reed Hastings co-founded the entertainment company with tech entrepreneur Marc Randolph in 1997. With his vision, skills, hard work, and right attitude as a CEO, the company turned from zero to a $60-billion, video-streaming giant with over 98 million subscribers worldwide!
This year marks the 20th anniversary of Netflix! As a business owner, you probably visualize your business to also exist that long and be as successful. Here are some valuable lessons and tricks of the entrepreneurial trade that you can learn from Hastings and use for your business.
Aspire to What You Want to Become
Netflix was originally launched as a company that specializes in video-on-demand online and DVDs sent by mail. But Reed Hastings knew that the DVD business was just temporary and the long-term business was streaming, so he didn’t name the company DVD-by-Mail.com. He planned for what he want the company to become, and that is to be a video-streaming company – exactly what Netflix is about now.
Stay Ahead of Competitors
DVD and VHS rental was big during the late 1990s. And when Netflix was launched, Blockbuster was the largest rental chain. Hastings thought of the idea of distributing DVDs by mail, so people don’t need to come to video stores. The idea worked, but Blockbuster didn’t recognize Netflix as a serious competition until 2004. This brought the video-streaming giant ahead of the game.
Reinvent and Turn a “No” Into an Income Stream
There was a time when Netflix couldn’t come to agreement with studios regarding online content licensing terms. Instead of forcing what the company wants, it just got into a content business, also known as “backward integration.” Original content has contributed to a new subscriber count of over 40 million.
Keep Things Simple
For Hastings, it’s better to focus on doing a few things very well than doing a lot of things for everybody with mediocre results. This keep-it-simple principle has worked wonders for the company.
Apologize for Your Mistakes
For Hastings, his business is about making people happy. So when the price increases on Netflix subscription made a lot of customers upset and furious, he realized that the company made a big mistake, apologized, and moved on strategically.
Moving on for him meant creating new pricing strategies. Since more customers are likely to use Netflix on more than one device, the company made flexible pricing strategies that make subscribers happy.
Maintain a Work-Life Balance
Working hard is good, but you need to take care of yourself, too. Hastings believes that all work and no play won’t make leaders great. Executives and employees need to take time to relax or learn something new. For him, taking several weeks of vacations a year is very important for the sake of his mental and physical health. These breaks make him better at work.
Through the vision, principles, and strategies of Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, this video-streaming giant will be 20 years old soon with a valuation of more than $60 billion! As you grow your brand, keep his nuggets of wisdom in mind. Be decisive on what you want to become. Stay ahead of the competition and be open to reinvention. Keep things simple, apologize for your mistakes, and maintain work-life balance. All of these things can help your business become successful.
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Here’s a blog and an Infographic from our business lessons series:
- Startup Success Tips from Instagram Co-founder Kevin Systrom
- Infographic: Business Lessons from Kevin Systrom and Reed Hastings
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