Remember Blockbuster Video?
It’s amazing that I even need to ask that question, but given how rapidly media technology has changed over the last several decades, many of you reading this probably have zero experience with what was once the dominant chain in home video.
You see, before the early 1980s, if you wanted to watch a movie, you had to watch it in the theater. Maybe — and it was a pretty big maybe — you could see certain films on any of the three major television networks at the time… But this would usually be years after a film’s release.
Point being, unless you knew someone who somehow had the actual roll of film that a movie was printed on and a projector, you either saw a movie in theaters, or you didn’t really see it at all.
In the 80s, a new media category emerged. It was called “home video.” Films were printed on large cassette tapes, and could be played on devices called VCRs. At the emergence of this medium, the VCRs were expensive, but not prohibitively so, but the cassettes themselves were very expensive — around $80 or $90 each. That’s about $230 in today’s money.
Because of that cost, another category in home entertainment emerged: home video rental.
You’d go to your local video store, check out the selections they had, and for about $5 for a day or two, you could take the tape home to watch. This model allowed video stores to pop up all over the place, giving entrepreneurs a new business opportunity, and making movie studios a ton of cash.
As often happens when new categories emerge, there are businesses that seek to dominate the marketplace. I saw this happen first-hand in this space, and the experience helped me understand my life’s purpose.
How a video store snapped my purpose into place
When I was 19 years old, I remember the first Blockbuster store that opened in my neighborhood at the time. It was huge. It looked like a castle.
But what struck me the most about that Blockbuster Video store was what was directly across the street — the neighborhood mom and pop video store that had been there for a few years. Small place. Locally owned business. Not a huge selection, certainly not compared to the behemoth that just came into the neighborhood.
So I’m looking at these two places, and of course, my immediate thought is, “Man, that little guy is gonna get crushed.” And, of course, before too long, they did. They just couldn’t compete on the same level as a Blockbuster. They couldn’t afford to have the same breadth and depth of selection. They couldn’t afford to lower their prices in the way Blockbuster could. There was just no way.
Seeing that business come into a neighborhood, swallow up the little guy, and then repeat the process all over again all across the world really stuck with me. It wasn’t so much about the category of business, it was about the business owners themselves, their teams, and their customers.
I couldn’t help but wonder, “Who sticks up for these little guys when major players come in to absorb them? Who protects them?”
Before too long, I realized that the answer to my question was pretty simple. It was me. I wanted to be the person that stuck up for the little guy. I wanted to be the person to prove that small business owners could compete and thrive in the face of corporate consolidation. So that’s exactly what I did.
How I helped small business owners thrive in the face of consolidation
In 2004, I started a company called Audigy Group. After growing up in the hearing care space, I had a great deal of insight as to how rapidly the marketplace was changing.
It seemed like every day another hearing aid manufacturer was being bought out by a bigger, more powerful hearing aid manufacturer, until soon there were only a handful of companies in the world specializing in this type of technology.
The next step in their strategy was obvious: Own all the retailers, too. And that’s where Audigy came in. Our role was helping these independently owned companies stay independent by giving them all of the business resources they needed to thrive: Marketing, Operations, Finance, and much, much more.
Before too long, Audigy had hundreds of employees and we supported over 600 unique locations all across North America. We became the gold standard in private practice audiology support services, and suddenly we had copycats emerging seemingly every day.
Our Member practices were thriving. They were giving more and more people the hearing care they needed. I was fulfilling my purpose.
This model we created became so successful that, just a little over a decade after starting the business, we sold Audigy for $153 MILLION DOLLARS.
Our founding members and teammates shared in this great success, and it signaled to me that it was time to start a new chapter in helping people achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals. And that’s why I started Cardone Ventures.
It’s clear to me that, no matter what the space, there’s room for the little guy to succeed with the right resources and mindset. It’s something that we’re proving each and every day. And it’s all thanks to a video store that doesn’t even exist any more.
Ready to learn how you can thrive in the face of adversity? Then you need to come to the next Cardone Ventures event! Space doesn’t last long, so you need to register now if you want to achieve your personal, professional, and financial goals. REGISTER NOW.