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How Keep Up With Trends: 10 Ways to Remain Competitive

by Sha Drena Simon . February 01, 2018
Stay ahead of your competitors, and in front of your customers with these strategic steps.

While technology continues to progress and advance, many businesses end up falling apart because their owners cling to traditional methods of running their organizations. Though it may be exhausting to keep up with the constantly shifting trends within your respective industry, doing so is the only way to remain on par with competitors.

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As long as you remain aware of the fads and trends developing in your field, there are easy ways to mold your business to its advantage.

Why You Should Keep Up With Emerging Business Trends

Even if your business is already well established in your industry, keeping up with trends is important in order to show your customers that you are flexible. If you stick with the old because “our method works,” it gives the impression that you aren’t willing to change to accommodate current circumstances. Trying out a new trend shows that you’re willing to take risks.

How to Keep Up With Industry Trends

Trends don’t just pop up in the newspaper. Current events are reported all over, on the Internet especially. Keeping connected through all mediums will give you a better perspective on what people are currently interested in, so you see these trends when they first bud. Being alert to the following matters will keep you in the know:

1. Follow Key Influencers and Publications on Social Media

By following the top trendsetters online, you’ll see when new trends appear at the same time your competitors do. That way, you’ll be on top of the current fads, not the last person in the know.

2. Listen to/Watch Podcasts and Videos

Don’t just wait for a social media post to boast these new trends. Following podcasts and videos about your industry will provide you with feedback. Not all trends are good, and as such, some last longer than others. Podcasts and videos will review: Is the trend any good, or just nonsense? Is it worth spending the money to adjust your business?

3. Subscribe to Top Business Blogs

Blogs are also more of a review forum, so business blogs will provide for you a layout of good vs. bad trends. They’ll take it one step further and give you "How To's" on implementing the trend at your business without completely changing your system.

4. Utilize Your Network

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. The thing about trends is that they’re new, so you’re not expected to catch on right away. Network within your industry to learn the ins and outs of the current craze. Gathering intel is a safer option than throwing something together based on assumptions. If you’re going to do something, execute it correctly.

5. Take Advantage of Training Opportunities

Similarly, sign up for training courses on the subject if you’re unsure how to implement the trend in your industry. You can be sure that others in your area will be there, too. You won’t appear clueless if your competitor is asking the same questions and learning the same skills.

6. Get Hints from Analytical Tools

Sometimes, you can discover trends before they actually spike in popularity. Use all tools at your disposal, like Google Trends, to catch on to changes early. That way, you might get a leg up on your competitor, and be in the game before they realize the board has been set out.

7. Stay Alert with Google Alerts

Similar to Google Trends, Google Alerts will keep you in the know, but on your own schedule. Just as you have your competitors, several trends sprout up all at once, thanks to people hoping their idea will be the “next big thing.” By setting your alerts to once a day, once a week, or even once a month, you can check in on what’s been happening and figure out which new trend you prefer most, rather than latching on to the first one you read about.

8. Keep Tabs on Your Competitors

As implied in previous tips, your competitors are going to see these trends in action too. Check up on them from time to time to determine what ideas they’ve followed. Based on their success—or failure—you can decide which methods work best for you and your company. Sometimes, being the first one to try out a new trend isn’t as useful as you’d hope.

9. Speak to Your Customers

While certain changes might benefit your company from a business perspective, how do your customers respond to these shifts? By gathering feedback from your clientele, you can determine whether or not the trend works in your case. If your customers aren’t fans of the change, consider finding a different craze. If your customers love what you’ve done, great!

10. Embrace Changes within Your Industry

Before you can even begin to implement the modifications these trends suggest, you first have to be willing to accept change. Traditionalists are great when spreading holiday cheer, but not so much when running a company. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should constantly make change, but at the very least, be open to new ideas. Successful companies rise because they’re willing to do just that.

Trends come and go, and that is partially because not all of them are as beneficial as others. A mom-and-pop store won’t need the kind of tools a large corporation would, so be sure to pay mind only to those that are appropriate for your business. Scoping out your competition and remaining connected to the news, be it on a blog or business app, will help you gauge whether or not your business could benefit from implementing such a change.

And don’t worry: even if one of those trends ends up falling through, sometimes showing the public and your customers that you’re willing to take risks brings you a greater reward.

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