Why be a trend-spotter?

business trends

Trend-spotting — anticipating dynamic changes in our society, our economy, in technology and in our daily lives — can help your search for a unique business idea. What does the future hold for us? What are the key trends impacting our lives, our world and our plans for the future?

Two examples of business trends

Fashion blogs/influencers

The internet has changed the way many businesses operate – including fashion-related small businesses. Over the past few years, hundreds of fashion blogs and YouTube and Instagram accounts have popped up online. These blogs are focused on posting daily outfits and news from the fashion industry. It may seem like a cute hobby, but many designers are taking note.

Fashion bloggers have powerful influence over their readers – anywhere from a few dozen to a few thousand people. Some of these influencers partner with designers, who offer them free or discounted product to style in an outfit and review on their blogs, YouTube, or Instagram. With the addition of affiliate links, the blogger can make some money too. This can be an effective and reasonably inexpensive way for lesser-known designers and fashion businesses to get their name out there, to a captive audience.

(One caveat – no matter your business, partnering with bloggers is no different than any other social media practice. For the greatest odds of success, keep it professional, non-spammy, and well-targeted.)

Rural business tech

Rural businesses need to pay attention to technological trends just as much as other businesses. Tourism is one industry where rural businesses operate, and tablets, smartphones and the internet are changing the way customers think.

On websites like Expedia and Yelp!, guests can shop for discounted rates and/or leave reviews about their experiences. And your business’ website is as important as ever. In fact, many customers also want mobile websites, and get frustrated by browsing a regular website that’s not optimized to work properly on their devices. Rural businesses have to adapt to these changes to stay competitive.

What business trends have you noticed in your industry? Are there opportunities for you to meet a need that’s only recently been identified?

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Small business lessons from Generation Y

Yesterday’s Globe and Mail had an interesting feature entitled, “Why Gen Y prefers to patronize small businesses.” It’s the first of a three-part series at the Globe’s website outlining the effect Generation Y is having on business.

The boundaries of Generation Y are loosely defined, but it’s commonly considered to have begun in the mid ’70s and ended in the late ’90s. The Globe featured an book excerpt by author – and Generation Y member – Aiden Livingston. In the excerpt, Livingston outlines some reasons Generation Y is turning to small business rather than corporations. According to Livingston, Generation Y prefers small business because:

  • They feel corporations adapt to new trends in business too slowly;
  • They feel corporations are out of touch with their customers; and
  • They feel corporations are stuck in the past.

At GoForth Institute, we can certainly say that the need for adaptability and newness in business is strong. Entrepreneurs told us themselves that they wanted small business education via streaming HD online learning – and that’s what we gave them!

Our advice for entrepreneurs? Take heart – you’re reading this blog, which means you have adapted to a new trend in business and are not stuck in the past! Just keep listening to what your customers want, embrace innovation and keep adapting – these are just a few of the great small business lessons Generation Y can teach us.

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