Spot trends before your competitor does
Every modern entrepreneur will recognize it: we operate in a society that is full of start-ups, where everyone can vent wild ideas at any time of the day and where creativity is no longer a luxury, but an all-important necessity. To be truly successful as an entrepreneur, it is more important than ever in today's world to be at the forefront of brand new trends. You snooze, you lose.
Trend watching: some people turn it into a full-time job, but today's entrepreneur just has to do it a little on the side. If you do not recognize trends in time, you will follow the crowd. But how do you spot a trend before your competitors do? We give you seven tips.
Way 1: Understand how trends work and expose fads
And that starts with the question of what a trend actually is. In this previous blog we have already explained what the definition of 'trend' is and how a trend differs from a fad. Crazes may be interesting, but in the long run they will completely bleed to death: the smart entrepreneur does not invest in them or get out in time.
Way 2: Recognize the maxi trend over the micro trend
No trend stands alone. There is always a maxi trend – a common consumer need – that causes trends. Does that one new product, which nobody knows yet, fits perfectly into that one maxi trend that is already the catalyst of so many successful products? Chances are you've spotted a new trend!
Way 3: Check facts and figures
Before you get on a slippery elevator pitch hitch a ride or decide to invest in something: check facts and check figures. Make sure you know the truth. Many companies care about presenting their products as if they are part of a great trend, but this is not always the case.
Way 4: Pay special attention to small start-ups
Most trends are marketed by small entrepreneurs and start-ups. Big companies rarely start a trend. Even a giant like Google mainly buys start-ups that launch successful trends, rather than actually doing it themselves. Remember: at large companies, lengthy meeting sessions, procurement processes and other processes must first be completed before marketing can be started.
Way 5: Watch, listen and learn
Many entrepreneurs are good talkers, but if you want to be at the forefront of a trend, it pays to listen carefully. Watch and listen to what is going on in society and with your customers and learn from it. Above all think that you know the truth not own, but assume you're wrong. This open mindset alone will help you identify trends.
Way 6: Follow the conversation in your target audience
The trends are there for the taking, you just need to know where to do it. Where do your customers go? On which forums and in which markets? Where do they meet? By actively participating in discussions on, for example, a forum where your target group is located, it becomes much easier to identify growing trends in time. So join your customers and take a good look around you.
Way 7: Look at Applications
A innovation must solve a problem in order to be or become a trend. 3D printing and the blockchain, for example, are insanely interesting, but do not seem to be catching on in the market for the time being. As soon as an innovation still has to look for a problem, there is no valuable application yet.
Way 8: Follow Talent
What choices are the best graduates in your field currently making? Where do they get started, where do they end up, what do they find interesting? And why are they making that choice en masse? There is a good chance that the place where all that talent gathers will become a hotbed of new trends in no time. It is never unwise to get involved in that.
Way 9: Stop "yes, but"
We tend to see our own practices as logical and sacred (why else would we do it this way?) and burn alternatives before trying them. And we like to come up with some obstacles for that. You don't spot trends by maintaining obstacles. Every time you think, hear or say "yes, but" with a new idea, try to substantiate the possibility for yourself However to proceed to realisation.
Way 10: Don't focus on one success or failure
The world's greatest innovators have launched numerous failed products. Apple was once nearly bankrupt. That's not to say the trend these products capitalized on didn't exist. Don't focus too much on individual products and their success or failure, but look at the broader perspective.
Way 11: Also look for trends outside your own market segment
New trends often arise from (cooperations with) other market segments. The latest innovations in the home security sector stem from trends related to connectivity and telecom. If you realize this as an entrepreneur in time, you can predict these kinds of new trends earlier than your competitor and make the necessary adjustments in your way of doing business.
Way 12: Forget Demographics
Gone are the days when a target audience would only consist of men aged 25 to 49. Real trends break through today's demographic barriers. People are more connected than ever and they do so through media that don't look at location, age or origin.
Way 13: Introduce the product that would ruin your business
What are you most afraid of as an entrepreneur? Which product or service would mean the end for your company? What would a competitor have to do to kill your company? Introduce it yourself. Kill your own products. Be the Picnic among the XL supermarkets. The Netflix of video stores. Introduce WhatsApp to those who squint for SMS bundles.