How important is finding the next big trend in your business? Some of the largest businesses in the world have made the same mistake as some of the smallest: Success breeds contentment and they fail to innovate. Failing to innovate can mean a rapid downward spiral that leads to bankruptcy. No business, large or small is immune from that.
Let’s look at one example: Blockbuster Video. Blockbuster was one of the largest video rental stores in the market. Everybody knew the name Blockbuster Video and like McDonalds, there seemed to be in every community. They dominated their field until a small startup called Netflix arrived. Netflix didn’t have late fees, they would send the movie right to the customer’s mailbox and before long they were taking market share.
Blockbuster didn’t see Netflix as a formidable startup so their business model didn’t change. Netflix continued to take more market share and later introduced a video streaming service where users didn’t have to wait for the next movie. It was streamed through the internet straight to their TV. This was the nail in the coffin for Blockbuster and now, Blockbuster is in bankruptcy struggling to stay in business.
Their failure to spot the next big trend in their business took the largest company in their field quickly to bankruptcy. Don’t let this happen to you.
As a young startup, your business may only be meeting the needs of a very small amount of customers which makes finding the next trend even more important for you. You can start the same business as your bigger more established competitors and do it better or you can find the next up and coming trend and do it before others know it exists.
What can you do to spot the next business trend?
Go to Amazon!
Place like Amazon.com allow you to see what people are buying. What are the most popular books being sold? This can give you insight in to what the focus of the customers’ mind is.
Read the Blogs
Start with the expert blogs and work your way down to the smaller sites. Bloggers only write about what’s trending or will be trending. (That’s how they get people to read their blogs) Reading these will give you even more insight in to what may be coming to market. Maybe you could make a companion product to the next big thing?
Listen to People
Don’t do all of your research online. What are people talking about at trade conferences? What are they saying in your store where conversation is often centered around your industry?
Get on the Forums
You know those online forums where people go to post just about everything? You may find these to be useless but within the complaints and conspiracy theories are hidden some treasures. Those treasures include wish lists of what they would like to see in future products. Lists of needs that aren’t being met, and within the complaints are hidden advice for you to improve your customer service. Don’t discount the forums. It’s where people go to give their real opinions.
Are you going to be the next Blockbuster Video? Where ever your business is, remember that somebody else is looking to do your job better than you. Always be the entrepreneur who is one step ahead.