Even though we’re less than halfway through the first quarter of 2020, it’s a good time to start thinking about the opportunities that will present themselves to you throughout the rest of the year. But wait! How can you prepare for opportunities you know nothing about? Pause on that question. We’ll come back to it.
Before we go any further, let’s look back to the fateful day in September 2000 when Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph met with John Antioco, the CEO of Blockbuster. (You remember that company, right?) Keep in mind, Netflix wasn’t the entertainment giant it is today. In September 2000, Netflix was a DVD-by-mail rental service, and it was in trouble. The company’s innovative business model, which was all that was possible in the era of slow download speeds, was catching on, but not quickly enough for the company to be anywhere near profitable. Randolph and his Netflix team came up with a solution: They would try to be acquired by Blockbuster.
In Randolph’s new book, That Will Never Work, he describes the pitch he made at that September meeting:
“We should join forces,” Randolph told Antioco. “We will run the online part of the combined business. You will focus on the stores. We will find the synergies that come from the combination, and it will truly be a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”
At the time, Randolph was asking a mere $50 million to be acquired. For comparison, Netflix is currently worth close to $125 billion (with a B!). There’s a good chance Antioco snickered at the offer—if only to himself. The idea of acquiring a fledgling company with an unproven business model may have seemed funny at the time, but I’m sure it was no laughing matter when the Blockbuster board and leadership had to close their iconic stores in 2010 due to their “sudden” irrelevance.
So, how about you, credit union leader? What opportunities are going to fall into your lap this year, and what are you going to do with them? Are you going to be like Mr. Antioco and snicker at the opportunity? Will you be like Kodak and be so proud of your product that you refuse to adjust to changing market conditions?
Let’s go back to the original question—how do you prepare for opportunities when you have no idea what these opportunities will be? Maybe it starts with a strategic planning session. A well-designed session would give you and your team a chance to outline what success looks like for your credit union. It would also let you define what your future looks like so you can assess opportunities and be prepared to take advantage of the right ones when they come your way.
By spending more than a decade partnering with strategically focused credit unions, our team has been able to develop a unique, time-tested action plan that brings clarity, breaks down barriers, and prepares your credit union for growth. Don’t be like Blockbuster. Don’t be like Kodak. Overcome the fear of change, chart a course forward, and ensure the success of your credit union for decades to come.