4 Tips to Help Entrepreneurs Stay On Top of the Latest Trends
As fast as the business world is moving these days, it can feel impossible to stay up to date on the latest trends – especially when you’re a solo practitioner or small business owner. What you need is a plan of attack for staying current.
4 Tricks for Staying Current
If you aren’t careful, a new trend or sweeping change can come through and make you irrelevant in a matter of weeks. And while it’s not always possible to adapt, you should be aware of what’s happening around you at all times.
Here are some tips and tricks to get you started:
1. Take Continuing Education Classes
If you’re in an industry where legal and regulatory practices evolve on a regular basis, then staying current isn’t just important in terms of being competitive – you need to stay current in order to remain compliant. One way this happens is in the form of continuing education.
Take the finance industry as an example. While it may seem intimidating, continuing education doesn’t have to be something you avoid. In fact, there are plenty of online resources that make continuing education a breeze. The key is to find a course that fits your learning style.
2. Read Industry News and Publications
Continuing education is something you may or may not have to participate in, depending on the industry. But even if you aren’t required to take classes and get certifications, you should absolutely be staying abreast of new developments. Subscribe to reputable industry news sources and publications and spend a few minutes every week reviewing the latest content.
Sticking with the finance/accounting example, the Journal of Accountancy is a good example of a reputable industry publication that regularly publishes relevant content on trends and developments.
3. Network With Other Professionals
You can’t learn everything from courses and articles. There’s something to be said for using your personal and professional networking circles to stay on top of what’s happening in your niche.
Sometimes networking happens naturally when you’re surrounded by people in your industry; other times, it’s the result of regularly scheduled meetings and interactions. It doesn’t really matter which approach you take, but make sure you’re regularly engaging with people who have a reputation for being trend setters in your area.
4. Watch What Competitors Are Doing
It’s never healthy to become hyper focused on what your competitors are doing, but there’s certainly value in keeping tabs on them – especially when it comes to staying on top of the latest trends and developments. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” If you don’t know what your competition is doing, then that doesn’t bode well for the future.
Thankfully, monitoring the competition has never been easier. You don’t have to devote a ton of resources to it. With the right tools, you can create a system that alerts you when your competitors do certain things. Some of the top monitoring tools include: Google Alerts, SocialMention, Marketing Grader, and Google Keyword Planner. Try a couple of these resources and see how they help.
Never Fall Behind
One of the most dangerous things you can do as an entrepreneur is to fall behind. It may seem odd, but obsolescence is a far greater threat to your business than just about anything else you face on a daily basis. (Just ask Blockbuster, MySpace, and Borders.) And while the pace at which trends propagate has certainly hastened over the years, it’s also become easier than ever to stay abreast of what’s happening. Make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by staying current.