How to Spot Trends and Give Yourself an Edge

spotting business trends
What’s your plan for the future? Are you looking for trends that could be important? Are you positioning your business to ride the upcoming market waves?

If you’re interested in predicting potential event outcomes, and preparing your business for maximum growth, then this article is for you.

What’s happening right now?

The first step in predicting the future is to get a firm hold on what’s happening in the present. The more knowledge and information you have to work with, the more likely it is you’ll spot an important pattern or emerging trend.

Look into your specific industry, your customer base, and entire markets as a whole. Find out what similar businesses are doing, look at trends from unrelated industries, listen to what people are saying, watch what people are actually doing, etc…

You want to collect anything from this information that you think is significant. Don’t try to predict every trend at this point, just get a feel for what’s going on.

Where do you think things are going?

Once you’ve taken all of your data and created a compilation of things you think are significant, it’s time to think about the future and where things are headed.

Pick any one piece or group of significant information, and logically walk through its future progressions. What will happen in 3 months, 6 months, a year, 5 years? What other things might it effect, and what will affect it, in the future? What other possible paths might the trend take?

Do this quick walk-through with each thing you think is important, and hopefully a clearer image of the future will emerge.

Which trends are important for your business?

Spotting important trends is only one part of the battle—capitalizing on those trends is equally important.

Being environmentally friendly is getting more and more popular, it’s a clear trend. How companies will effectively brand themselves as being green, however, is still completely up in the air.

Which trends do you think will intersect with your business? How are you going to position and market your company to take advantage of them?

A good bet can mean never having to work for anyone again, but a bad one can spell trouble. Remember to plan not only for your best-guess outcomes, but also for other alternatives that may or may not happen. Having a backup plan means you’ll be able to do well regardless of which way events unfold.

If you’re thinking that this whole article is full of questions, and doesn’t have any answers or resources—then you’re right. Stay tuned for the counterpart, which will include several major tools for finding, researching, and predicting trends.

 

Reader Comments

Jan. 11. 2008 12:46 PM
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Hey Mason, really good article.

The advice is very basic, but at the same time I hadn’t thought about adapting my marketing based on trends that way before.

Thanks, I’ll have to look more into this now.


Jan. 18. 2008 8:38 PM
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Thanks for the great trend watching tools!  Your topics are giving me a well-rounded marketing strategy, and it’s fantastic when you back up your suggestions with tools for implementing them.  Great blog.


Jun. 1. 2010 12:52 PM
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my marketing based on trends that way before.


Jun. 2. 2010 10:00 AM
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Thanks, I’ll have to look more into this now.


Jul. 2. 2014 3:10 AM
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