After a long workweek, many blue-collar workers look forward to popping a big bucket of popcorn, dimming the lights, snuggling under a blanket with their significant others, and sliding a movie into the DVD player.

Wait, do people still use DVDs?

Nowadays, you simply push a button on your smart TV remote, click on the streaming video service of your choice, select a flick, and push play.

The evolution of the motion picture is fascinating to consider. From BetaMax and VHS tapes to laserdisc, DVD, and BluRay discs — and now streaming services — the film industry has come a long way. While we used to watch drive-in movies facing outward from the trunks of our cars, our kids now watch movies from the back seat, facing the opposite direction.

Next-generation Reinvention

Regardless of the line of work, a company’s biggest and most persistent challenge often revolves around adapting to and implementing technology.

In the article, “How Netflix Reinvented Itself,” published last year in Forbes magazine, author Peter Cohan examines how Netflix took a calculated risk on budding technology to grow its enterprise. By first cornering the DVD-by-mail market, and then doubling down on video streaming, the company built a formidable business model. Forward-thinking executives furthered their approach by combining their DVD and streaming services at a premium price. A few years later, dissatisfied with the content available, the company created its own filming studio and began producing hit series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black.” That strategy paid off as, according to Cohan’s article, the company’s stock soared 24 percent in after-hours trading to $215.40 on April 22, 2013, and gained 2 million new customers through March 2013.

You Say You Want an Evolution?

We all want to change the world, but perhaps no HVAC contractor has adapted to change better than Gold Medal Service.

Owners Mike Agugliaro and Rob Zadotti were fed up with working 80-hour weeks at the electrical contracting company and decided it was time for a change. The pair added heating, cooling, plumbing, drain and sewer, waterproofing, and generator services to its portfolio, which helped the East Brunswick, New Jersey, business grow from two trucks, four employees, and $1 million in revenue to 100 trucks, 128 employees, and an anticipated $23 million in revenue this year.

“When you start putting all those little pieces together, you create a really solid rocket ship, one that can really go to the moon,” Agugliaro said. “We’re not just learning how to fly airplanes. We’re figuring out how to make them fly better.”

“We have a goal of around $50 million over the next 10 years, to double the size of the business,” said Zadotti. “We’re trying to focus more on controlled growth and controlled profit. If we can maintain 8-10 percent growth over the next 10 years, I think that’s healthy.”

Wow. Eight to 10 percent annual growth — imagine what that would do for your company? Agugliaro and Zadotti’s reward was certainly worth the risk.

What Better Time than Now?

Within the doors of your shop, are you still doing things the way your grandfather did? Now, I’m not knocking tradition; however, as we grow older, sometimes taking a step away is equivalent to four steps forward. If you’re not proactively plotting a path of success, like Netflix, odds are you’re swimming in the status quo, which often doesn’t end well. (Google the name Blockbuster.)

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Words of advice from the greatest of all time: Muhammad Ali. Big success is built on the rebound of big failure. Sometimes it’s better to try and fail than to never try at all.

Publication date: 11/10/2014

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