As a big or small business owner, you need to keep yourself informed to identify and take advantage of new opportunities.
Staying informed on trends is important to help you build credibility and value and to show that you know where your field is heading in the future.
Check out these easy things you can build into your schedule to stay relevant.
Update your news feed
It’s crucial to be on social media almost 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 so you can revisit it when you have more time.
Scan and engage in forums and discussion boards
Oftentimes, engaging in discussions in a relevant group or a private forum from a professional group can be more enlightening. Discussion boards can be difficult to sort through unless they’re heavily moderated. 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.
Leverage your team
Your team should have their eyes and ears to the ground. Start a companywide email alias where team members can share interesting findings or articles. A channel for sharing this sort of information is also helpful.
Scour websites and blogs
Although the quality of blogs can vary, many are a great source of current information. If you see the same topic on every site in your industry, then yes it’s a trend you’ll want to follow closely. Blogs and news sites like this one often analyze statistics that’s relevant for your industry, and break it down in a form you can understand.
Try using inexpensive SEO tool to enter keywords in your industry to identify emerging patterns in people’s searching behavior. 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.
Listen to/watch podcasts and videos
Listen to podcasts and you’ll have a deeper understanding of the topic at hand. Video and audio interviews with industry leaders can be especially enlightening. Even if you find yourself disagreeing with the information being presented, having a common vocabulary can help you better communicate with others in your field, and express your reasoning in a way they’ll be able to understand.
Subscribe to trade journals
Trade journals are 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 and get on their lists. Then read those journals in print or online.
Subscribe to magazines
Often, you’ll find something that’s either relevant to your line of work or that might spark an idea or insight.
Remember to network
Conferences, local networking events, trainings, and Facebook groups are dedicated to getting you in front of both colleagues and experts. Whether it’s a big trade show, the face time you get from networking is always beneficial to your business.
Engage with your customers
Although scanning social networks and sending out surveys can be insightful, talking to people one-on-one is invaluable. Discussing concerns with prospects can be equally enlightening especially 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 underestimate the power of customer insight.
Keep an eye on your competitors
By observing what your competitors are doing, you can capitalize on emerging news, trends, and opportunities. Staying ahead of the competition is key, but knowing what they’re up to is one part of coming out on top.
Professional organizations and conferences are invaluable resources for keeping up-to-date and learning what’s coming down the pike. They are also great places to network and build connections.
Successful people spend time every day keeping up with the latest news and developments in their field, so make time in your day for these strategies.