Talk to your customers
Your customers are probably the best source of information for the latest trends in your industry. Coach your customer relationship staff to constantly engage with your customers and find out if they have specific needs that they wish your business would offer.
Get feedback from your suppliers
Ask your suppliers for their latest and best selling products and/or services.If possible, ask for the reasons why they came out with that line or the reason for a specific product’s popularity. You will most likely get information on an emerging market in your industry.
Observe your competition
Sun-Tzu told us to keep our friends close, but keep our enemies closer. This is true for business. Watch closely what your competitors are doing, they may have discovered a business trend that you are not aware of.
Be active in your niche
Know what’s out there. Join professional associations and attend seminars, participate in events, read market reports and be social with the people in your niche. It is common practice to share information inside business circles. If you’re willing to give your own insights, others are more likely to return the favor. This is a great way to discover the next phase of innovation in your industry.
Learn from other industries
Trends often cross boundaries. The latest craze in one industry will most likely influence innovations and create a trend in another. Be aware of other industries that share your target market, they may hold the key that will open up new doors for your business.
Catching and keeping up with business trends requires good market research and fast decision making. How well are you applying s strategic planning process within your business?