To sustain rapid growth means staying current on future trends that can affect how your business operates.
It’s a fact that technology is driving innovations in data analysis and operations in all industries. As technology continues to scale at exponential rates, it becomes critical for business leaders to know what these innovations are for best practices in operations, growth and sustainability.
“Regardless of industry, a major reason for that industry’s expected success is how technology has changed, and will continue to change, its trajectory,” Forbes noted in 2018. Four years later, this remains truer than ever. But where do you look for upcoming trends in technology and innovation, and how do you determine they won’t quickly vanish when the next new technology appears?
Boost Midwest works with organizations experiencing rapid growth to optimize operations for sustainability and success. So keeping abreast of changes in technology and best practices are an integral part of what we do. Below we share the best resources to stay knowledgeable.
10 Sources for Industry Trends
1. Industry trade publications.
No matter what field your organization operates in, there are trade associations that provide support through newsletters, journals, magazines, blogs, books and annual industry reports. An easy way to make sure you don’t miss the latest news is to set Google alerts for keywords that match your specific area of business. You can also sign up to receive reports and statistics. In addition, participating in industry surveys will provide insight into the kind of information being gathered, which can point to upcoming trends.
Databases are valuable repositories of all kinds of information. For industry trends and projections, there are several useful ones. Databases are not always simple to use, however, and since different databases will contain different industry information, it's good to use multiple ones when searching for information.
Here are six databases geared to business, linked to information on how to use them to find the industry information you’re looking for:
3. Social media.
The benefits of watching social media is that it’s where a lot of potential customers exchange ideas and offer new information. Comments on social media posts can give new insights — and be blunt in their honesty. But this is what makes social media so powerful for business. You’ll learn what your customers and potential customers want or find interesting.
Keep a close eye on your organization’s social media accounts — and those of your competitors. In addition, follow relevant groups and pages, post comments and share information. You could even throw out a survey to see what “sticks.” And keep in mind, if certain posts go viral, that’s likely an indication of an industry trend.
4. Search engines and web sites.
5. Consumer magazines.
When you read a consumer publication, whether specific for your industry or not, your perspective is very different from than other readers. So if you catch information that relates to the work your organization does, you may get deeper insight into how outsiders view your field and what they see as priorities.
6. Online forums.
Whether you log onto a relevant Reddit sub or discuss the latest industry news on a LinkedIn group, you are likely to learn of possible changes in your industry. However, professional groups in your field likely have a private forum that may be even more illuminating.
Discussion boards do hold a lot of useless comments and complaints but also contain insights you might not find anywhere else. Keep in mind that participating rather than being rather being a bystander is key; you can sort through the rubble for real gems of insight. Make sure to participate, rather than just standby and take in all that you are learning from others. You’ll get more out of it that way.
7. Website and blogs.
Just as trade publications and sites can offer insights and cutting edge information, so do blogs and websites related to your specific industry of business. However, unlike trade publications, they offer different perspectives because of various people in various industries publish blogs and websites: industry professionals, students, academics — anyone who is interested in the field is free to jump in.
And just like with social media, reading the comments is important and may offer insights on your customers and competitors you won’t find in other places.
Podcasts are becoming a popular path to a more in-depth understanding and knowledge of a topic. You’ll hear new information and views from those in your field or people using its services and products. Often industry leaders will do guest interviews that can be particularly insightful, for example the Direct Perspective podcast from Boost Midwest.
9. Your customers.
Your customers are a great source of information and, of course, their opinion counts for a lot. So you can turn to them to learn what they need and want from your industry and what they find frustrating.
Sending customers a short survey asking the questions that will reveal their needs and wants will help your business better meet market demands. With the right questions, it may also reveal the next industry trend,
10. Your competitors.
While following others is not the path to becoming a leader, no one can argue that keeping a close watch on your competition is crucial. You may think a competitor’s actions are wrong-footed but you also may be alerted to new or future trends.
All of these sources will help you to keep on top of new and upcoming trends in your line of business. The more places you look, the greater the depth of information you will find.
For a free consultation on how to prepare for emergencies and keep your business resilient through appropriate disaster management, contact Boost Midwest today.
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