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Advisors: Avoid the Netflix flop

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I love Netflix. I heart Netflix. It might be an exaggeration to say that Netflix saved my life, but not to say that it saved me from years of frustration. Since Netflix rolled out its vast array of movies and television shows available at the click of a mouse or remote control, gone are the days of wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles of Blockbuster, usually leaving with nothing in hand or something worse: a really crummy Steven Seagal martial arts flick.

With Netflix, over one lonely weekend, I can watch Steven Seagal age 20 years, gain 50 pounds and somehow emerge with more hair than he started, all without ever leaving my couch. Well, except for food and bathroom breaks.

And that’s the magic of Netflix, going through an entire oeuvre of a favorite actor, director or genre. It changed the way I watch movies and seasons of TV shows, consuming them in rapid fashion, so I don’t lose the thread of the story arc. Like I said in my opening I love Netflix or at least I love the service. Or at least I did.

Since the summer, the Netflix I had a bad crush on has broken my heart with one awful business decision after another and every one of them has been a “screw you” to the customer— to me, to you.

Well, on Oct. 24, Netflix released its third quarter earnings. Within that report, they announced that 800,000 of their devoted subscribers voted with their feet and cancelled their service. I’m not leaving—yet. I love the service they provide too much, but I’m worried about the future of Netflix and pretty soon I’ll begin to look for viable alternatives.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has turned in one of the best Jekyll and Hyde performances since Spencer Tracy took on the schizoid role in 1941. And, in doing so, he’s lost us, big time. He crumpled under the pressure of tighter margins and increasing prices for the products he pushes out to the customer.

Look, we’ve all seen tough economic swings in recent times. That might cause some to flip and flop the way my beloved Netflix has done, but don’t fold. Be strong. Be that rock your clients need.

I’m not saying there’s never a good time to change or evolve your business model. As an advisor, you don’t have to stick to the status quo. As markets shift, you may see the need to update your marketing, your close, even your elevator speech. But goodness gracious, stay true to who you are and stay true to the people who matter most in this business—your clients.

If you don’t, you may find them taking their business to the competition.


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