Staying on top of trends is key to any startup’s success. Spotting trends early makes it possible tocome up with smart startup ideas – or modify your startup plans to jump on a new trend just as it takes off. Just as most important, you can avoid the risk of starting a business based on a trend that’s just about to fizzle out. Fortunately, tracking trends isn’t as hard as it used to be.
Here are my tips and sources to help you stay on top of the latest business and consumer trends:
Read industry news. Set up a system that works for you to regularly read the websites, blogs and Twitter feeds that matter in your industry. Stay active in industry conferences, events and associations: they can help you keep up on what’s new and what matters.
Get out of the office. Your ecommerce business may be online, but trends happen in the real world. Make it a point to get out and mingle where your customers are – offline. If you sell teen apparel, hang out at the local mall or movie theater. If you sell surf gear, hit the waves.
Listen in. Keep your ear to what your friends, family and connections are talking about. Are all the moms buzzing about some new deal-of-the-day website? Is your uncle nuts about a new online investing app? Listen, ask questions and you’re likely to spot trends in unexpected places.
Think global. The Internet has made it even easier for trends that catch on in one country to spread to others. Look to big cities, where trends are often born, and keep up to date with news and trends in New York, Los Angeles, London and Tokyo.