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6 Ways to Keep Up With Trends in Your Market
  • 15 September 2016
  • Eric Michaels

6 Ways to Keep Up With Trends in Your Market

In this age of technology, information travels at a faster speed than ever before. As a result, there are a variety of tactics you can use to keep up with industry trends. Here are six ways you can stay on top of changes within your market:

1. Read headline news daily

You may have to read between the lines a bit, but many of the movements that impact your market will turn up in articles written for local and national news sources. In these publications, you can see how consumers are choosing to spend their money, how national values are changing, the future of the political class, and countless other issues that shape industries. Whether you subscribe to hard-copy newspapers or online editions, your choice to invest in these information outlets can make all the difference.

2. Get the available alerts

Google Alerts are an excellent channel through which you can get briefed on movements within your industry on a daily basis. Once you add relevant keywords and search terms to your Google account, you will receive a daily e-mail with links to news stories on the subject. If your industry moves even faster than daily news sources, Twitter may be one of your best sources of information. On this microblogging site, trends are usually introduced and picked up instantaneously.

3. Comb through trade journals

Trade journals are still a valuable tool for staying up-to-date on your market. The latest developments preoccupy all parts of an industry's ecosystem, from suppliers and investors to start-ups and students. However, since the articles in these publications tend to be well researched and include quotes from figures in the marketplace, they tend to have longer lead times. As such, it is best to use trade journals for learning about larger trends but subscribe to their email newsletters.

4. Monitor the online conversation

There is a blog for just about everything these days, so there are probably a few dozen related to your profession, regardless of how specialized it may be. Stay up-to-date on developments and conversations by subscribing to blogs about your field, clicking through Twitter links or favoriting the websites where the best chatter can be found. You may even discover valuable insights in the comments sections.

5. Attend industry events

For years, business owners have been going to trade shows to spot trends. And these events still have their place in a current small business owner's playbook. While you will likely encounter a great deal of sales materials and pitches from suppliers at these events, the start-ups on-site will give you a look into the future of your field. As your company grows, you may even consider these shows to be a good place to find potential business partners or new firms in which you might want to invest.

6. Follow your competitors

Studying your competition is still one of the best ways to spot movement in your industry. Keep an eye on companies you consider to be your competition by following them on Twitter and keeping their websites bookmarked. Every so often, you will find them doing something you wish you had thought of first. Attending their product launches and seeing how they handle customer interactions may also give you ideas on how to move your brand forward. You can not outsmart your competition every time, but you can learn from their best work.

When you run a small business, you must stay on top of trends in order to be successful. If you are not aware of what is happening in your industry, you might find yourself out of the loop and vulnerable to competitors.

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