Netflix has grown from a video rental service to a household streaming service. Here are a few things we learned from studying this successful business.
When you have a small business, one of the keys to growing and succeeding in a specific industry is to continue learning.
Educating yourself and discovering different tactics that are proven to work can allow you to increase the exposure you need to grow your business.
Learning from other companies is a great way to utilize proven techniques that can benefit your small business, even if it’s on a smaller scale.
Netflix is one of the largest companies in the U.S. and acquired 100.97 million new members from 2018 to 2020.
Their unique business plan and innovative practices are something smaller businesses can learn from.
If you’re currently managing a start-up or are running a small business that is already established, there are a few important lessons you can learn from Netflix.
#1. Get to Know Your Customers
One thing that Netflix has always done well is taking the time to get to know its customers.
They’ve learned their habits and monitored their browsing behaviors to provide specific recommendations based on their viewing preferences.
Obtaining hard data is a great way of getting to know your customers and making decisions based on their interests and what can accommodate them.
Netflix’s excellent user experience also means they haven’t had to focus too much on their marketing.
Their quality entertainment options and features on their platform have made them expand by word of mouth.
As a small business, you can follow Netflix’s lead by sending your customers online surveys to fill out where they can provide their feedback.
Analytics will also show what your potential customers want from your website or services.
They also know that their customers want to use their service to relax and do as little work as possible when they’re watching their favorite show or movie.
Netflix has done enough research to learn this and has specifically created features that offer a higher level of convenience.
Both the app and websites are easy to use and surf through without navigating a lot of pages or buttons.
They allow their customers to skip intros with a push of a button or play the next episode without having to click additional buttons.
This accommodation is why many people continue to use the services and often spend more time utilizing the app and website in their free time.
Think of new ways you can accommodate and cater to your customers.
Your website or app should also be easy to use, which can increase your sales and allow your visitors to spend more time on each page.
#2. Stay Ahead of the Competition
Netflix has been successful because they looked toward the future and saw how home entertainment would change in the coming years.
This allowed them to have the advantage over Blockbuster with their streaming services, which offered a high level of convenience to customers who don’t want to return videos.
For your business, this means quickly adapting to new technology and always researching customer demand.
Know what your potential customers want and work hard to solve a problem or inconvenience they may not know they have.
This includes being flexible and adapting to the times, and understanding you’re going to always have to change if you want to stay competitive in the industry.
This requires staying on top of the trends and getting customer feedback. Companies like Blockbuster failed to do this, which is why they went out of business even after Netflix offered to sell their business to the company for $50 million.
The pace of the trends and how quickly they change depends on the industry you’re in, but you still need to stay updated on them to remain competitive and continue increasing your customer satisfaction.
This requires reading and reacting to market shifts. It isn’t easy to know what the future holds, which means you can have a plan, but you should be prepared to adapt it based on the market.
There may be times this can result in losing money or halting projects you’ve invested time and energy into, but it’ll be worth the pain if it means staying competitive.
This happened to Netflix when the company created a branded streaming device that was similar to Roku.
They began to have second thoughts and realized they didn’t want to compete with other companies that had the hardware to watch movies and shows.
The company took a different direction at the last minute and decided to ditch their black box to make them more unique in the industry.
This worked in their favor even though they invested a lot emotionally and financially into their streaming device.
#3. Empower Your Employees
Netflix hasn’t been afraid to place a premium on talent instead of investing too much in their company’s policies.
They’ve made it a point to be careful about who they hire and look for employees who understand the vision and support the desire of the company.
This means you should also prioritize talent and company culture instead of trying to have everyone follow one way of doing things.
Reward your employees, give them the freedom to make mistakes, and show them that you trust them to ensure they work hard and have the company’s best interest in mind.
If you take care of them, they’ll take care of you.
If you think you need to shift the culture in the workplace, it has to start from the ground up.
You should have a solid leadership team your employees’ trust and who set the example.
They should make an effort to prove they trust their employees and give them the freedom they need to be creative.
If you give your talented employees the freedom and time to create, they’ll provide you with meaningful content that will allow your business to stand out more.
Maintain your focus on consumer experience and reinvest. Continue to build and provide your customers with a reason to remain committed to your business.
Not only will this allow you to get better results and have more productivity with your team, but it can reduce your turnover rate.
You won’t have to spend as much time or energy training new employees and teaching them the company culture.
Trust your employees to manage their time well, which may look like allowing your employees to set their own schedule. You may also not provide them to have a set number of vacation days.
It’s also necessary to schedule time for one-on-ones to ensure you can connect with your team members individually.
Don’t use this time to micromanage your employees, but allow it to be used for your employees to open up and share any input, concerns, or complaints.
You can help them resolve issues or work through challenges and get more insight into how well they’re managing their work and if any adjustments need to be made.
Your employees will feel valued, and it will allow you to form a relationship based on trust, which can make them honor the business.
Try to connect with all of your employees as much as possible. Anyone you hire should fit within the culture of the company to ensure everyone can get along well. Always work together with your team to find new ways to improve the culture and become a stronger unit.
Although you may take pride in thinking of your team as a family when you have a small business where everyone knows each other, it’s important to still view them as a team.
Unfortunately, saying that you’re a family can create a culture where everyone feels like they’re entitled to unconditional support.
This can make them assume they’ll always be employed at the company and will never get disciplined or corrected.
Communicate that it’s a team instead of a family where each employee is expected to contribute hard work to ensure they continue to take their role seriously.
#4. Don’t Focus Too Much on the Competition
Although Netflix is always aware of who their competitors are and what they’re offering to customers, they’ve focused more on their customers rather than their competition.
If you focus more on what your competitors are doing, it can cause you to follow their lead too much and fail to stand out or to offer anything unique.
This can also stifle your creativity and limit your innovation and ideas.
Don’t rush to get on the bandwagon of the latest shiny object your competitor is selling.
Instead, spend more of your time focusing on how you can stand out and what you want your leadership style to look like.
Do what you can to stand out and be different than all the other companies.
#5. Focus on the Bigger Picture
If you don’t have any vision or know your mission as a business, then it can make it easy to make poor decisions.
Knowing your main goal and how you want to benefit your customers with your goods or services will allow you to stay focused on the bigger picture.
Every time you’re at a crossroads or have to make a big decision, you can ask yourself if it’ll work towards the main vision of your company.
This can make it easy to have more confident with the direction you take as the company and market changes over time.
#6. Experiment with Marketing
Netflix has a variety of ways they advertise and market themselves to ensure they reach different audiences.
They take advantage of both print and digital marketing, which includes online ads and oversized billboards.
They even offer fun activities and games related to their entertainment options on the internet as a way of attracting more customers.
Consider offering social media activities, which can allow you to become more active on your social media handles. Interacting with your audience will show you’re listening and want their feedback.
#6. Offer Variety
Netflix has been successful over the years because they have a variety of content they offer their customers.
This allows them to attract different types of people of all ages, both young and old.
They know and understand what their viewers want, which had led them to offer a variety of genres to their customers.
#7. Focus on Strong Branding
It’s no secret that Netflix is easy to recognize because of its cool, edgy brand. They’ve worked hard to appeal to younger audiences and use stunning images and pictures in their ads.
If you work hard on your brand and try something unique, it will make you more noticeable. Think about the type of personality you want your brand to have to ensure it appeals to your audience.
Depending on what you’re selling, you may want something humorous and lighthearted.
Whatever direction you take, there should be a lot of consistency with your brand to ensure it’s recognizable.
This includes having consistency with your color scheme, logo, and even the type of font you use with all your content.
Everything from your packaging to your emails you send out should all look consistent.
This will also increase your professionalism and allow you to appear more reputable, especially if you’re a new business that is just starting out.
So What’s Next?
Enjoyed our takeaways from Netflix? You might also be interested to learn more from another successful business in the tech industry – Intel.