Stay on your toes or be eliminated? The choice is yours…

by Xing Chi  November 2, 2021
 President’s Design Award (P*DA) 2020
“Red light… Green light.. When it comes to business, we always have to be on our toes, preparing for our next leap forward.
Have you heard of Squid Game? Unless you have been living under a rock, I am sure you have heard of this Korean TV series one way or another even if you haven’t watched it just like me.
Hey, hey, don’t judge me, it’s complicated. But did you know that Netflix wasn’t always a streaming company, but it rose from its humble beginnings as a DVD rental company.

Whaaat? Stumped huh? I was too when I first learnt about this. But it is this kind of wittiness and the sheer ability to shapeshift according to the volatile market trend, that keeps Netflix way ahead of its competitors.

pda 2020

Soaring above the volatile market?

One example of such market shifts can be the readjustments of the price. A few weeks ago, Netflix announced that they will be raising their price by up to S$2 for their annual plan.

Before you take out your pitchforks and torches and go on a witch-hunt for the person responsible, please hear me out.

Facing the growing competition from HBO Max, Disney plus, Youtube and TikTok, Netflix needed to continuously step up its game to ensure it has both quality content and a better platform. All these costs money, which explains the price hike.

So how did Netflix achieve market dominance such that it was able to impose a price hike without experiencing a significant loss in subscribers? Let’s take a look at Netflix’s timeline.

EyeYah! magazines

Netflix’s evolution over time

In the year 2007, Netflix’s business was rapidly growing with over 6.3 million subscribers. However, at the peak of its career, Netflix made a drastic tweak to its business model to shift from DVD services to online streaming because they knew streaming was the future of entertainment.

Netflix took a leap of faith, similar to what the contestants went through in episode 5 of Squid Game. Every step they took on that ill-fated glass-paneled bridge must have felt like they were gambling with lady luck.

They had to rely on their instincts, observations, and prior knowledge to avoid the tempered glass panels or risk falling to their death. Thus, this proves that there is no guarantee if your leap of faith will do you good or bad.

However, if the time is ripe and you have done your homework, it is time. Staying stagnant, especially when there are incoming changes, will do you more harm than good. So, I say leap.

So how do you take that leap of faith?

#1 — Keep calm and keep reading

Constantly update and expand your knowledge on the industry, your market, and the world in general.

You can use business journals, business magazines, and city newspapers as your trusty source of information.

Did you know, the Straits Times, Business Times and The Peak are among the top 10 local publications read by business elites in Singapore?

You can also explore international titles such as Financial Times, Wall Street Journal Asia, and The Economist. You will often find something relevant or ideas that might spark an idea or insight for these sources.

Goodlife Makan!

Keep Calm and Keep Reading

#2 — Social Networking, literally

People are the best source of information. Reach out to people from and outside the industry, colleagues, partners, and clients with whom you can chat about trends in their business.

People are the best source of information.

Business conferences, local networking events, and Facebook groups are the perfect habitat for social networking and exchanging of ideas because these events bring you together with colleagues and industry experts.

Moreover, these events are also invaluable resources for keeping up to date and learning what’s coming down the pike.

You can begin with government websites such as the Singapore Economic Development Board to search for upcoming events that you can join in the following months to come.

Goodlife Makan!

Upcoming Events listed on EDB

#3 — Observing your competitors

Visit their locations and websites and follow them on their social media. What news initiatives, products, or services are they launching?

You can capitalise on these emerging news, trends, and opportunities from your observation of your competitors.

The observation and mimicking of your opponents is a very common occurrence in the world of business.

An example would be the rivalry between Amazon and Google. In 2015, Amazon released its personal home assistant Echo. One year later, Google released its home device that is an uncanny version of the Amazon Echo.

It would be ideal to check up on your competitors once a quarter to see what they’ve adopted.

Goodlife Makan!

Always stay one step of your competitors

You want to be contestant #456!

Going back to the question: Red light… Green Light… Are you ready? In a twisted yet interesting way, the business world is just like the Squid Game.

It requires us to stay on our toes, and keep going forward when the market shows us the green light. Analyzing market trends needn’t be as scary as it sounds.

To put it simply, it is the collection of data and picking out trends you can apply to your business strategy.

The data collection process requires you to read voraciously, talk to competitors and industry experts, and even observe your competitors. Netflix has already come out victorious, and its success has inspired many.

But now it’s our turn. Are we, therefore, willing to dash to the finish line at all cost, or are we waiting for the fatal consequences of being irrelevant and hence, be permanently terminated?