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by Paul Dughi, a contributing writer on the Opterre team.

Key Takeaways

  • The only constant is “change.”
  • Check out the ways to research trends impacting your industry below
  • Informing your clients of upcoming trends will enhance their trust in you
  • And gain additional business if you create innovative solutions to this new trend

For me, as an old(er) person, it’s hard to believe that The Matrix movie is nearly 20 years old.  I thought having that Nokia 8110 phone that the character Neo uses would be super cool.  Now, they’re useless – despite Nokia bringing it back.

Similarly, it’s your duty to know what may make your clients obsolete, before they do.

Delivering great solutions and service is not enough.  

For example, just about everywhere “blockchain” technology is popping up.  Just enter in the following text, “blockchain in” into your favorite search engine. Watch how the search engines prefill it for you.  Does it impact your specialty or industry?

If you can spot how this technology and other trends will impact your clients, then you have a distinct advantage over your competitors, as well as have the gratitude and increased trust from your client.

The world is changing at an unprecedented level.  How much change is ahead? The Harvard Business Journal says 50% of the world economy will be affected by a significant change.

Thomas Friedman, author of The World Is Flat, argues that when it comes to technology, it is accelerating faster than the human capacity to adapt to it.

How Do You Find Trends?

Every industry is undergoing rapid change.  Your ability to navigate that change for your clients is critical.  Here are some ways to keep current:

  • Identify the websites in your industry or market that focus on emerging trends and visit regularly to identify new trends
  • Connect with industry influencers and thought-leaders on social media
  • Commit to spending time every day to examining what’s happening in your industry
  • Check on your competitors. How are they positioning their business?
  • Check on your clients’ competitors. Are they exploiting trends or launching new products or services?
  • Take advantage of free online resources. For example, Google’s Keyword Planner and Buzzsumo can help identify what people are searching for in particular industries
  • Listen to your clients and their customers.  Ask them to identify emerging changes in their industry
  • Pay attention to general news and business websites. Often, trends in one industry will impact others.  The Wall Street Journal, Business Insider, Bloomberg,  The Guardian, and The New York Times all have extensive business sections that identify emerging trends and practices.
  • Consider purchasing access to business research data. You can also visit business research companies’ free blogs for ideas, such as Forrester Research or  Gartner.
  • Network with peers and colleagues in your industry.  It can mean time away from work and some expense, but attending conferences gives you the opportunity to see the latest innovations.
  • Examine new entrants to the market and see what startups are doing.  Have they identified a market opportunity or unfilled need?
  • Look at innovations from other industries, or countries, and see if they can apply to your field of expertise.

When you see something new, research it.

While you can do an online search and read articles, reports, and research, social media is also a great tool. On social, you often have direct access to thought-leaders who will engage with interested parties on social media. If you see something of interest, connect and ask questions. You will be amazed at how often you will get a thoughtful response.

Just be careful not to focus on fads that have a short shelf-life.  Even the big guys miss once in a while. Imagine if you had advised clients they needed to jump on board with Google Glass?

Also, be aware that trends affecting your clients may not be industry specific.  When economic factors shift, it impacts nearly every business.

Economic Factors That Affect Businesses

  • The job market and unemployment levels
  • The economy
  • Consumer spending
  • Inflation
  • Interest Rates
  • Taxes
  • Market supply and demand

Now What?

It is not enough to recognize a significant trend.  You have to anticipate the impact it will have and position yourself to take advantage of it.

Once you have identified trends and understood how they make affect your clients’ business or industry, you need to craft your unique value proposition. By reframing what you do in the context of these new trends, you can position yourself as forward-thinking.

Providing information to your clients before they ask is an effective way to showcase that you are on top of emerging trends. Writing blog posts or guest columns can highlight your expertise and establish you as an industry expert. This writing helps reinforce your reputation as a consultant and may attract inquiries for a new position.

Creating Opportunities

Nearly every day you will hear someone in the workplace say they are having trouble keeping up with all the changes in their industry.  Uncertainty creates opportunities. As disruption continues, companies and client will be forced to rely more on subject matter experts to educate and advise.

By identifying trends and incorporating them into your work more quickly than others, you will create new opportunities. A potential service you might offer would be to identify trends and provide early notice to your clients. Even if it doesn’t represent a new revenue stream, it does maintain your position as an industry expert and gives you a VBR (Valid Business Reason) for a contact to help cement the relationship.

Can you adapt your services to new technologies and emerging trends to stay current, meet client needs, and grow your business?

Perhaps this quote sums it up best.  Attributed to Charles Darwin, but in reality, came from Leon C. Megginson, a Professor of Management and Marketing at Louisiana State University in discussing Darwin.  Either way, it has stood the test of time.

“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

Use change and emerging trends to your advantage.

Opterre consulting business helps new consultants become successful in their industries. We do this by providing you with insights, knowledge and practical steps to help you understand the services to offer for your own practice. It’s this valuable knowledge that can help to get started on the right foot,

If you’d like to get started, then contact us here for a free, no-strings-attached consultation.

About Paul Dughi

VP/General Manager at WAAY-TV (ABC 31 Huntsville, AL) | Named one of Local Media Association’s Media Influencers | Named one of Broadcast & Cable’s Digital All-Stars “on the front lines of transforming the broadcast industry.”