Despite the pressure to find success in our youth, most of us will spend around 70 years working. And for entrepreneurs, that means future-proofing what we do. Whether that’s a business we wish to sell or pass through the family, or whether it’s our personal brand that allows us to continue working as consultants, freelancers or coaches – the responsibility of staying on top of industry trends, knowledge and skills lies solely with us. So how do we get longevity from our entrepreneurial careers?
What follows are three ways that you can find new ideas, but the common theme is how you think. Being ahead of the curve often comes down to thinking analytically, to being endlessly curious and willing to take a risk.
Be open to new platforms and ideas
In the age of tech, new platforms are hitting the market all the time. While businesses don’t need to be on every social media platform out there, having an understanding of each will serve you well. Spending intentional time on apps that appear to be taking the market by storm can help you develop an intuition for what is gaining popularity. Build the habit of being analytical when on these platforms – take note of what works for accounts with a similar audience to yours. What kind of content do they post? How often do they post? What is their audience asking for in the comments?
Keep your eyes (and ears) peeled for content that’s starting to gain popularity – being amongst the first to adapt trending ideas to your audience establishes your brand as a leader.
Word of warning: These platforms have algorithms that adapt to YOUR behaviour. That means what you see is unique to you. For research to be effective, you need to browse as your ideal client, not yourself. That means no stalking of profiles that your target audience wouldn’t also hang out on… Do not underestimate how the algorithm caters to you.
Stay on top of what people are talking about
New ideas can come from what people are already talking about – as long as you’re listening.
Sites like Exploding Topics and Google Trends provide roundups of popular consumer searches. A little time on these platforms could result in you coming up with a solution to a common problem, being one of the first to enter a new market or allow you to capitalise on what consumers are talking about, by applying trends to your speciality.
To get the most benefit out of staying up to date, you want to go outside of your target market. Great ideas often come from adapting an existing product or service for your target audience, or by offering a slicker solution to an existing market. That means a broad understanding across business landscapes. Dedicate time each day to staying up to date with news and trends using some of the sites I’ve mentioned already, and by reading articles from a range of writers and publications. Pocket is great for not only collating your reading, but for discovering new stories.
Finally, when researching news and trends, pay attention to consumer reaction. Social networking sites can provide an insight into consumer response, how your audience may respond to the introduction of new products, services or ideas and what is most important to them to be included in messaging.
Expand your social circle
It’s all too easy to stay where we’re comfortable – which often means amongst people of a similar age, doing similar things and with similar beliefs. Unsurprisingly, this can be restrictive. Start expanding that circle – socialise cross-generationally, with professionals from a range of sectors and areas. Network, network, network!
Business is all about developing relationships, whether through social media, networking events or referrals. And we can learn a lot from each other, especially when we build relationships across industries. It allows us to explore new ideas, access different resources and be creative with solutions. Set up those coffee dates, attend a networking event outside of your usual comfort zone, mentor those starting out and develop relationships with professionals that have skills different to yours.
An attitude of curiosity helps to cultivate innovation, which can be used in all areas of your business. Whether that’s introducing something new, effective ways to communicate with clients, a new product or service for your audience or being ahead of the curve with your approach to marketing.
Keeping up to date with trends and news in the world of business can feel like a mammoth task, and it’s hard to find actionable and accessible information. It’s why I’m launching a new media platform for entrepreneurs without a business degree at the end of this month. Dayrise aims to blend trends and education to provide entrepreneurs with what they need to stay ahead and build businesses of the future.
Where to find me
About your author
For the past 3 years, Charlotte has worked with a variety of small and growing businesses, supporting marketing campaigns and business strategy. She is currently working on her latest launch – Dayrise, a media platform for entrepreneurs who haven’t gone to business school. Dayrise blends trends and education to equip the leaders of tomorrow with everything they need to know!
You can find out more about Charlotte and her business here.
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I truly believe in the power of stories to change minds. To change the world around us.
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