Trends exist whether you see them or not, and one of the best ways to see the importance of trends has to do with something Steve Jobs once said: “You can’t connect the dots by looking up. ‘coming ; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. The interpretation could be to look at past trends, add people and market variables and future trends, and you might be able to create an innovative product or service. As current or future entrepreneurs, you really need to research and follow trends because you could raise money, hire people, and build a business that has the potential to grow with the trends.
The key is to understand that there are multiple trends happening at the same time. Some are macro trends that can affect entire industries, markets, or even people. Some are micro-trends. An example would be electric vehicles. A micro-trend within this industry could be the rise of stand-alone software. The pet care industry is selling more dogs to a millennial market waiting to have kids and here comes organic dog food and pet insurance. And so on. The good news is that you can learn to spot trends and create your own “point set” that gives you insight into growing macro trends and possible micro opportunities for building next-gen startups.
Here is some information to help you better spot and analyze trends.
Understand the difference between trends and fads. Trends have long deep legs and can last for a long time. Think smartphones and laptops, maybe even farm-to-table food. Fads appear for short periods of time and then disappear. They can actually reappear many years later for another generation. Think tie-dye tees and bell bottom jeans. Don’t confuse the two. It is very difficult to build a business on a fad.
Macro trends can be global. If you see macro trends in IT, healthcare, weather, food, or even entertainment in the United States, chances are those macro trends exist all over the world in varying degrees. What’s interesting for entrepreneurs is that it might actually be easier to build the start-up in a place where the trend is moving early and fast with little competition. So pay attention to where the trends are happening and if that region can provide a competitive advantage.
For each macro-trend, there are several micro-trends. While the pandemic hasn’t really been a trend, it has created a huge working-from-home macro trend that has fueled several micro-trends like buying more webcams for Zoom meetings and chairs for desks. home. It also accelerated the food delivery trend. Believe it or not, masks were actually a fad as they have now gone way back. If you invested and built a mask factory in 2020, you probably made significant short-term revenue, but that factory is idle today.
Follow real leaders, not influencers. This one will be a challenge for Millennials and Gen Z, who seem to get their “news and ideas” from social media and influencers. The problem with this is that the information is only new for a brief period of time in the present and is not really forward-looking. Also, most influencers are not experts. You need to cultivate better sources of information and start building a list of “leaders” of the people you follow (not as influencers but as experts) because they are building forward-looking businesses or have always knew when to pivot their business for success. And when you build your list of leaders, read all about them, read all their interviews, read all the books about them, listen to them in earnings reports, set up Google alerts on them and their companies, even their competitors.
Everyone has an opinion, so follow the data. They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything. One thing you can do is surround yourself with experts in an industry you care about. Do you care about dogs? Then, grow business leaders from pet food, pet care, pet health care, pet kennels, and even a vet or two. Know what’s happening in the industry from multiple sources to give you insight into what’s coming next. Second, no matter what anyone says, follow the data. If somebody says something, don’t believe him; check it yourself. The cool thing about data is that it doesn’t lie. It’s just.
Listen to what customers are saying. Many entrepreneurs who get too close to their product or service like to think they are the customer. In other words, they think they know exactly what the customer wants. Know this, you are not the customer and even if the customer is not always right, he is never wrong. Never fool yourself into not buying your product or service if they are not convinced of the benefits. So spend time in online customer forums, listen to discussions and complaints on social media, read reviews and, if you can, visit customer environments and observe them as they buy or test products. You can never have too much personal information about your customers.
Read lots of trend reports. internet is a beautiful thing. Search “Gen Z” and you might get industry or trend reports from McKinsey, Deloitte, E&Y, Statista, etc. Why would you want to create your own data or shout your opinion when these powerful reports contain so much good data, trending information, and future projections? These types of reports are your friends. They don’t always have the exact answer you’re looking for, but they do corroborate or eliminate any noise you might hear. And by linking several reliable sources of information, you could connect your own dots to give you valuable insights that could lead to an amazing startup.