Be a Trend Watcher

There are only so many things we can actively control in running our business. Beyond our grasp are the changes that take place externally. This would include world events, economic climate, market sentiment and happenings within our industry and our local community. That doesn’t mean we can’t take advantage of them, however, if we know what they are.

I enjoy reading The Herman Trend Alert, http://www.hermangroup.com, which offers insight into evolving trends that effect small business. Coletta & Co., http://www.colettaandcompany.com/public/index.cfm?CFID=1450425&CFTOKEN=93517885 also offers a twice weekly Trends Digest that helps me stay aware of new trends.

Consider some of the obvious trends we read about over and over again; aging of the baby boomers, renewed focus on home and family, people’s desire for more meaningful work, etc.
Riding the upward sweep of a clear trend can be a great foundation for business growth.

Maria is a Latina, originally from El Salvador, now living in the Bay Area, who sees the heightened interest in the Hispanic market. And it is all around her. She is building her marketing business on that trend. She knows the culture and has a unique and valuable perspective.

Denise’s rehabilitation clinic has been experiencing continued cuts by her patients’ third party payers. She has solved this challenge by tapping into the trend toward greater personal responsibility for health and wellness. She is building a growing self-pay business based on new pain management technology, exercise therapy and massage. Denise has taken the lead in evolving her business to take advantage of this strong socio-economic trend.

In their upcoming book, “Impending Crisis: Too Many Jobs, Too Few People”, the futurist team of Roger Herman, Tom Olivo and Joyce Gioia, cite a Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicating there will be a shortfall of 10,033,000 qualified people to fill open positions by the end of the decade. They offer insights and suggestions on finding qualified people – and keeping them. The shortage (www.impendingcrisis.com) of these workers will inhibit American economic growth until the supply is rebuilt and reallocated. What a great opportunity for those who can fill this unmet need.

In line with this trend, Joseph and his father, who run a tool and die manufacturing business, are seeing a surge in demand for their products and services. Because they can’t find enough qualified people, they are seeking government grants to set up paid apprenticeships with strong incentives to stay with the company. By staying aware of the government’s support of skilled worker education, they are able to grow their business — and fill a market need.

Right now the entertainment industry is booming, particularly film and DVD. Creatively done independent films are being successfully marketed.

Following a lay-off from a network administrator’s job in an industry he had served for many years, Greg decided to pursue his childhood dream of screenwriting and movie production. He researched the industry trend and saw the need for mature people with basic management skills. Armed with a plan, he’s been able to open doors for himself in the industry. Yes, he started as a volunteer, but quickly proved himself to be a capable leader.

Only three months after his layoff, Greg is on a paid internship and has a paid production job coming up. It helps that he’s in New York City, but independent film making is seeing a surge across the country, so location is less important than ever.

When you think like a leader and learn to trend watch, you’ll be able to view all news from a different perspective. Ask the question, “what does this news mean for me and my business?” Look for trends to see how you and your business can be part of a solution or serve an unmet need. Tomorrow’s business leaders will know how to read and use trends.

Consider what trends have potential for YOUR business. Tap the internet for what’s happening in those trends. Then plan how you can harness the energy of the upward sweep.