Updated: August 22, 2020
A business is a dynamic entity. It will not achieve long-term success if it does not learn how to adapt to the ever-changing market.
That’s why it’s always been a challenge for every entrepreneur to make sure that he is ahead or up to date with the latest business trends.
But how do you do it? How do you discover emerging business trends? More importantly, how do you incorporate these market trends into your business?
Let’s try to look into some techniques which you can do to make sure that your business stays fresh, trendy, and profitable.
Talk to your customers
Your customers are probably the best source of information for the latest trends in your industry. Teach your salespeople to constantly engage with your customers and find out if they have specific needs that they wish your business can offer.
If you have an apparel boutique, for example, try to ask your shoppers if they are interested in any new style or clothing line. More often than not, they’ll share some gem of information that will give you a hint of the next fashion trend.
Get feedback from your suppliers
Ask your suppliers for their latest and best-selling products. If possible, ask for the reasons why they came out with that line or the reason for a specific product’s popularity.
You’ll most likely get information on an emerging market in your industry. A friend of mine who imports dogs asked his supplier in Japan what were his best-selling breeds and he said that toy dogs were currently very popular in his country.
My friend immediately invested in several Yorkshire Terriers, Chihuahuas, Shih Tzus, and Pugs. Several months after, the trend caught up in the Philippines.
Observe your competition
Sun-Tzu told us to keep our friends close, but keep our enemies closer. This is true for business. Watch closely what your competitors are doing, they may have discovered a business trend that you’re not aware of.
Did you ever notice that whenever ABS-CBN or GMA 7 comes out with a new show format (game, reality, soap opera, etc.) the other television network will immediately have a similar program to challenge that show?
Don’t let your competition have a monopoly on a product or service.
Be active in your niche
Know what’s out there. Join organizations, attend seminars and conventions, participate in events, read market reports, and be social with the people in your niche. It is common practice to share information inside business circles.
If you’re willing to give your insights, others are more likely to return the favor. This is a great way to discover the next phase of innovation in your industry.
Learn from other industries
Trends often cross boundaries. The latest craze in one industry will most likely influence innovations and create a trend in another.
Be aware of other industries that share your target market. They may hold the key that will open up new doors for your business.
The spa industry, for example, has slowly but successfully gained market hold in the middle and upper class for the past few years. Beauty and wellness have become a trend and it did not take long for the food and beverage industry to catch up.
Now, we have sugar free drinks, no MSG food menus, and other healthier choices.
Catching and keeping up with business trends require good market insights and fast decision making.
Of course, you don’t want your business to get left behind. So maybe instead of waiting for the next big thing in your industry, you could perhaps start your own trend.
If you want your business to truly stay ahead of the competition, then a little creativity and innovation are all you need to become a trend-setter. Here are some tips on how you can create and set your own trend:
- Anticipate your customer’s needs. Develop a new product or innovate on existing ones to fulfill these future necessities.
- Be aware of emerging consumer types and untouched markets. Target them with exclusive offerings.
- Be a visionary. Learn how to discover the potential in untapped resources. Create a necessity.
- Take calculated risks. Trends may fail to launch or take some time to catch up. Prepare for the worst scenario.
Lastly, while it’s important to update ourselves with the latest business trends, it’s also essential that we always consider and maintain our core values.
If an emerging business trend does not rightfully fit into our company image, then it may be wiser to pass up on that opportunity.
It’s better to stay within and preserve our company values, rather than risk losing it by catching a trend that could turn out to be short-lived.
Photo credit: Paul Boguslawski