Is your 2019 strategic plan positioning you to capitalize on emerging trends?

Are you set to ride the waves of change, or are you at risk for being swamped in the undertow? Have you accounted for dynamic changes in your industry, and the marketplace, and the world? And have you compensated for their impact on your business?

Change is constant, and the rate of change is accelerating. What worked yesterday in business might be a disaster tomorrow. Think strategically. Anticipate change and position proactively with products and services to meet emerging needs.

All of which is easier said than done.

So how can we get a handle on the future? Consider the following practical steps you can take now.

  • Look at your track record. What was harder to sell this year, compared to last year? What changed? What made this product less appealing to customers? What do they want now, that you didn’t offer? What new product can you create that will be irresistible?
  • Flip it around. What products were successful for you? Why? Are customers seeking things which are larger or smaller, upscale or economy? What is the trend? Is it likely to continue, or has it run its course? Is it time to double down, or set off in a new direction?
  • Nose around other industries. Ask your friends and acquaintances what trends they see. Touch base with your associates in professional associations and mastermind groups. If you don’t have a diverse circle of business associates, look for new opportunities to make connections. A range of perspectives can be invaluable in dealing with change. Poll your group. How do their observations compare with yours, and what inferences can you draw?
  • Check out business publications and online newsletters. What do the gurus say? You don’t have to believe everything you hear, but do take their larger world view into consideration.
  • Look around. What businesses in your community are opening, and which ones are closing? Why? What changes are the big companies making? Piggyback on their market research.

Take Action:

Customers in virtually every industry are attracted to the newest sparkly things. Restaurants routinely redo their menus, car models change every year, and fashions change with the seasons. Every change is based on projections of what customers want, (or sometimes, what customers will want, but they just don’t know it yet!)

Take a look at your market research, make your projections and move to capitalize on emerging trends. Strive to get and stay ahead of the curve. What new things have you introduced in the past six months? What can you offer? Innovate; take chances. Not everything will be a winner. Launch and see. Assess, adjust and try again.

Get strategic in your strategic planning. Aim for the future, not the past. Be observant, take action, and capitalize on emerging trends.