Anticipate Trends to Capture New Business
This article is provided by the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.
Owners of new and growing small businesses today know one thing for sure: conditions on the business playing field can change rapidly. The technology that seemed cutting edge last year is now outdated; or worse, obsolete. Buyer moods can swing dramatically, and marketing strategies are in constant flux.
Anticipating trends can be extremely valuable in keeping you current on everything from sales strategies and customer desires to technology tools and the general economy. As your business grows, change will be inevitable and small business owners should constantly look ahead and seek out ways to shake things up. The more you test the winds of change, the better your chances of success down the road.
But how can you tell the difference between a fleeting fad and a true trend? Louis Patler, a market research guru for companies such as American Express and Dell, has spent decades tracking emerging trends and studying their impact on business. He says the key to successfully piloting a business in the years ahead will be embracing new ways of thinking.
For example, Patler says that truisms like “stick to what your business does best” are outmoded. If you want your business to grow, consider that past business traditions and processes might only hold you back. Trying new approaches is vital.
Not all customers are created equal. Some are more valuable and loyal than others, and those are the ones you should lavish the most attention on with special savings and service offers. And don’t expect loyalty from employees. As American society becomes ever more mobile and labor shortages worsen, workers won’t stay on a job for more than three years.
Advances in technology will continue to radically change how small companies do business. You will need to keep up. Small business owners who know how to acquire and manage information will achieve the most success. Capturing and analyzing data about customer needs, wants, behavior and how they use your product or service will become increasingly critical.
For additional planning help for your small business, contact SCORE “Counselors to America’s Small Business.” SCORE is a nonprofit organization of more than 10,500 volunteer business counselors who provide free, confidential business counseling and training workshops to small business owners. Call (570) 851.1608 or visit www.scorescranton.org to contact the Greater Scranton Area SCORE Chapter.