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  • Writer's pictureAngela Rakis

trendspotting

A Guide for Small Businesses




Do you ever feel like you’re just catching up to a trend? Or maybe you feel like you’re behind but you aren’t even sure what you’re trying to get ahead of? Talk to teenagers and you’ll feel out of touch pretty quickly! It can often be overwhelming in the era of TikTok to keep up. 


In the ever-evolving world of small business, staying ahead of trends can be a part of your strategy.  Consumers' tastes and preferences are constantly changing, and businesses that can spot and adapt to these shifts have a better chance of attracting and retaining customers. In this blog post, we'll explore the art of trendspotting and discuss whether following trends is truly important for small businesses.


If you know your values as a business and are true to your mission, you’re doing great. And, if trends have you stumped, check out these tips. 


Trendspotting involves identifying emerging patterns in consumer behavior, preferences, and market dynamics.

For small businesses, staying attuned to trends is a proactive way to anticipate customer needs and adapt strategies accordingly.


3 Strategies for Effective Trendspotting:


Monitor Social Media:

Social media platforms are treasure troves of consumer insights. Keep an eye on trending hashtags, popular influencers, and customer discussions to gauge what's capturing the public's attention. This doesn’t mean staying online for hours. Add this to your marketing work - to research what’s happening. 


Attend Industry Events:

Participate in industry events, trade shows, and conferences. These gatherings provide opportunities to network, observe competitors, and gain firsthand knowledge of emerging products and concepts.


Stay Informed:

Subscribe to industry publications, blogs, and newsletters. Staying informed about the latest innovations, consumer preferences, and market trends will help you stay ahead of the curve. People often ask me how I know what restaurants to try in cities that I visit - I do not use Yelp. I follow people on social media who are in the food world, I watch where they are eating. 


Are Trends REALLY Important for Small Businesses?


While keeping an eye on trends is valuable, blindly following every fad may not be the best strategy for every small business. Here's a closer look at the importance of trends:


Relevance to Your Brand:

Evaluate whether a trend aligns with your brand identity and target audience. If a trend doesn't resonate with your business values, it is not the right fit.


Sustainability:

Consider the long-term sustainability of a trend. Some trends may be fleeting, while others have the potential to become long-lasting. Investing in sustainable trends ensures ongoing customer interest.


Differentiation:

Use trends as inspiration to differentiate your business. Instead of copying what others are doing, find unique ways to incorporate popular elements into your offerings.


Customer Engagement:

Being aware of trends allows you to engage with your customers on a deeper level. Showing that you understand and cater to their preferences can foster loyalty and trust.


It's important to note that trends often emerge from a combination of factors, and they can evolve rapidly. Successful businesses are those that stay attuned to these influences, adapt to changing landscapes, and balance innovation with consumer preferences.


Trendspotting is a valuable skill for small businesses. While trends can provide insights and opportunities, it's essential to approach them strategically. Evaluate trends in the context of your brand and use them as a springboard for innovation. By striking the right balance between staying current and maintaining your business identity, you can position your small business for sustained success in a dynamic market.


PS: 


And a comprehensive overview of food in 2023 from Elly Truesdell at New Fare


And brand trends from Lee Rafkin 

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