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You watch the marketplace carefully. You know that it can change quickly. You must keep up.
Spotting a trend in the marketplace can be easy or it can be not so easy. Women's dresses can be longer or shorter than last year. Men's ties can suddenly grow wider or narrower than those dad wore.
Every business targets a segment of the marketplace. And the marketplace is on the move--in what it wants and how it buys.
Example: Tashira is a trained and certified acupuncturist. Her business was growing slowly as she attracted more clients to the value of acupuncture. She noticed the current trend of people wanting quick and easy solutions to their problems. One of these problems was the stress of everyday living--juggling work with kids and everything else. Putting the two observations together, she established a community acupuncture room. The room was quiet and dimly lit with padded tables. For $20, anyone could walk in, take a table, get a quick acupuncture session and leaved refreshed and ready for the rest of their day. It was a new focus for Tashira's practice, and it resulted in new clients for more extensive sessions.
Example: Jon specializes in raising native plants. He began offering them to locals for their gardens. It got his business off the ground but he knew he could do better. To serve a wider area and generate additional interest in native plants, Jon began taking pictures of the plants he grew. Pictures showed seedlings, growing plants, and blooms. The idea was to show native plants in drifts and groupings--emphasizing how easily native plants could solve landscaping problems. He posted the pictures on social media, generating lots of additional interest and referrals, and driving more eyeballs to his website. The change in focus in the way he promoted resulted in growing into a bigger business.
Example: Della is a personal trainer. She has clients but she still could do more. Noticing the trend in food awareness on the part of the general public, she underwent training in nutrition. This expanded her focus and extended the range of services to people interested in losing weight, training, food and nutrition. Now she has a waiting list of clients.
By watching the marketplace, people in small business can expand their business by focusing on trends. Of course, trends come and go, so be ready to change directions at any time.
Your business environment is always changing. Sometimes it's readily apparent. Other times, it's more subtle. Some are short term changes. Others are longer term and take time to play out. Stay on top of your game and be ready to change your focus.