It seems like every day there is an explosion of new trends.
New social media platforms, new style trends, new business and technology trends…
It can get overwhelming very quickly.
How do you know which trends to follow and which to ignore? How can you tell which will fade out before it gets any traction and which trend is here to stay?
These are the types of small business challenges that can drive an entrepreneur crazy.
Ask yourself these four questions to determine which trends you should hop on board with, and which to bypass.
Question #1: “Is This Trend Important to My Industry?”
Trends come and go. But the industry you serve remains the same. So it serves you well to question whether the trend is important within your industry.
There are two important facets of this question:
1) Is this trend specific to my industry?
For instance, as a hair stylist the answer to this question would “yes” during the ombre hair trend. The answer to this question may be “no” to yet another social media platform that’s cropped up.
2) Is this trend important to my industry?
This is different from the first question. Just because a trend isn’t specific to your industry doesn’t mean that it’s not important to it.
For instance, if you’re an interior decorator, the up rise of Pinterest may not have been specific to your industry, but it sure is important to it.
If the answer is “yes” to either of these questions, it’s a good indication that you should pay attention to the trend.
Question #2: “Would This Trend Serve My Clients?”
In the Relational Economy, nothing is more important that your relationships with your clients.
Your whole business is centered around that crucial relationship. So, the last thing you want to do is engage in anything that would draw your attention away from that.
An uber-important question to ask yourself, then, is this:
Would I be able to serve my clients better if I pay attention to this trend?
If the answer to this is no, then avoid it at all costs. But if the answer is yes, then as a service based small business owner, it would be detrimental if you didn’t pay attention.
For instance, as mobile payments become more of a trend, and you have a client base that you think would appreciate the ability to pay on the go, that’s a trend you should be tuning in to, because it would serve your clients better.
Question #3: “Will This Trend Compromise My Brand?”
Have you ever seen the documentary Jiro Dreams of Sushi?
The documentary follows the owner of a tiny but incredibly popular sushi restaurant in Japan, run by a man by the name of – you guessed it! – Jiro Ono.
Jiro is very much a specialist in his field. He specializes in simplicity—in the basic art of amazing, fresh sushi. He doesn’t pay attention to trends. He focuses in on exactly what he does best: sushi.
He doesn’t worry about customer service. He doesn’t obsess over squeezing every last table into the square footage of his restaurant to shake extra pennies out of his business. He focuses just on the one thing.
This is Jiro Ono’s brand. Focusing on trends would compromise his brand.
Chances are, your business isn’t run as tightly as Jiro Ono’s, but surely you have some branding that wouldn’t lend itself well to some of the trends that crop up.
So ask yourself this question when you’re assessing whether to pay attention to a trend: will the trend compromise the brand I’ve worked hard to maintain?
Question #4: “Do I Have the Capacity for Another Trend?”
No matter how compelling a trend seems, if you don’t have the bandwidth to tune in to yet another up-and-coming craze, then it’s not worth tuning in.
If you pay attention to too many trends, you end up dividing your focus and trend-chasing, rather than focusing on doing the best work you can possibly do for your clients.
If there aren’t many trends that crop up in your industry and you need a breath of fresh air, maybe you do have the capacity. Just don’t overwhelm yourself with trends.
It can be difficult to figure out exactly what trends are worth your time. The last thing you want to do as an entrepreneur is to follow pointless trends and ignore those that would be important for your business.
So ask yourself these four questions when assessing and trend that comes your way. They’ll help you weed out the important from the frivolous, so you can remain at the top.