Trend “to extend in a general direction, follow a general course, to veer in a new direction”
If there is one lesson start-up, business and entrepreneurs need to understand it’s the impact that changing times can have on your product mix. Sure there are a range of products and brands that have stood the test of time and are still with us today but then there are others that are not. In fact, the reason why many much loved brands have either been swallowed up, acquired or forced into mergers is because the companies who controlled them didn’t necessarily understand the trends that were going on right under their noses. Take Nokia for example, one of the oldest modern day electronic companies in the world now owned by Microsoft.
In all reality the vast majority of start-ups are coming in the tech field with the rise of Apps. If you consider a decade ago we hadn’t yet heard of the App as we know it today by 2012 there were some 1.2 billion App users with an estimated 4.4 billion by 2017. It is estimated that more than 56 billion have been downloaded by 2013 and there are now currently around 1.6 million Apps available for download through both the Apple and Android stores alone.
If you also consider that each of the Apps may be a stand-alone business, or even that a business (such as King Entertainment) may have a portfolio Apps then we are still talking at around 300,000 businesses and entrepreneurs from around the world that have a stake in the game. Why is it so important for these and traditional businesses to understand trends? Because if you don’t then you could be on the nose.
Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs make their fortune because they have this amazing ability to understand market trends and what consumers will be buying in the short, medium and longer term. They are also able to take a look at when its best to buy or invest into a particular industry and as Richard Branson once famously noted: “business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”
You need to understand that trend setting is all about anticipating what the market will be doing at any point in time because essentially you will attempt to predict what customers may or may not want before its even obvious to them. By looking at market anticipation for your business concept it also may lead you to redesigning your own idea to fit where the market trend may move towards.
Here are four basic tips to get you on the trend setting path:
#1: Know your market and audiencewhether you have been successful or just starting out always make sure you keep an eye out for what the market is doing, how the economy is going and what is happening when it comes to consumer trends and movements. Always engage with your audience for feedback as opposed to just talking at them. Market knowledge aligned with audience engagement are powerful tools.
#2: Watch and read Don’t pretend to watch or read the news because you don’t have time – make the time. News and publications will give you the insights and data you need when it comes to assessing and tracking movements and emerging trends, growing sectors an those on the nose.
#3: Talk to your customers and understand the competition: If you talk with your customers ask them the question – what next? Where is your business or consumer spend heading? Always keep an eye on the competition. If they are changing their price or brand mix, marketing of advertising approach they are reacting to something – know what it is and create trend advantage.
#4: Create links between trends and ideas. Nothing lives in isolation and for the most part things occur because of cause and effect. McDonalds is reacting to a trend around healthy eating because market share is down. Coca-Cola is introducing low and zero sugar drinks. Combined it means something larger is happening as a large trend towards healthy eating grows. Always seek to spotlight ideas and create links. In doing so you not only create the potential for more revenue lines you could pick up on something that you had otherwise missed.
Roy Bean an eccentric salon owner from the Texas cowboy days once said that “time will pass and seasons will come and go” that’s why you need to always be on your up game and understand where the seasons will take your start-up, business or small business and when the right time to make a change will be.
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