8 Easy Ways to Stay on Top of Industry Trends

Successful people find ways to stay ahead of the curve. As a small business owner, you need to keep yourself informed to identify and then take advantage of new opportunities. Check out these easy things you can build into your schedule to stay relevant.

1. Update your news feed

It’s crucial to be on social media — every day. Make sure you customize your business’s feeds on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram so that you can easily scan the relevant and trending topics that day. If you don’t have time to click through and read an article that sounds interesting, use a “save for later” app like Pocket so you can revisit it when you have more time.

2. Leverage your team

Your team (if they’re good) should have their eyes and ears to the ground, too. Start a company-wide email alias where team members can share interesting findings or articles. A Slack channel for sharing this sort of information is also helpful.

3. Use SEO

If a lot of people are searching for something on Google, it’s likely to be popular. Try using a relatively inexpensive SEO tool like Moz to enter keywords in your industry to identify emerging patterns in people’s searching behavior. One strategy is to go after terms that are niche. Certain topics may not have a ton of search volume, but if they’re picking up steam, it’s likely they will soon. Identifying these gems is a great way to find places where your business could fill a market gap.

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4. Subscribe to trade journals

This may sound antiquated, but trade journals are still one of the best ways to stay in the know about specific issues in your industry. Do some research to figure out which ones you should subscribe to. Then read those journals in print or online. Block out a regular time in your weekly calendar to go through these publications.

5. Subscribe to magazines

The same can be said for consumer magazines, whether they’re industry-specific or just for fun. Often, you’ll find something that’s either relevant to your line of work or that might spark an idea or insight.

6. Remember to network

Conferences, local networking events, training, and Facebook groups are dedicated to getting you in front of both colleagues and experts. Whether it’s a monthly salon owner’s happy hour or big trade shows, the face time you get from networking is always beneficial to your business.

7. Engage with your customers

Soliciting feedback in the form of surveys or simply replying to customers’ posts on your social channels are good ways to see your industry from your audience’s perspective. Don’t ever underestimate the power of customer insight.

8. Keep an eye on your competitors

Think you spotted a trend, but aren’t sure if it’s anything that will catch on? By observing what your competitors are doing, you can capitalize on emerging news, trends, and opportunities. Sure, staying ahead of the competition is key, but knowing what they’re up to is a vital part of coming out on top.