I picked my mom up from the airport yesterday and we started talking about a past trip, when she flew in and surprised me with a much slimmer version of her body than I had seen the last time we´d visited. She´d lost weight on a low carb diet, one that was quite popular several years ago. She bought a few books and then began purchasing grocery products that followed the low carb rules. Since that time, the diet trend has changed somewhat and she says that nowadays it is very difficult to find all of the products she could once buy. Granted she lives in a smallish-sized town and, unlike LA where you can find just about anything at anytime, there is not a great variety in shopping. She could use the Internet to search for the products she really misses purchasing and can´t find, but this isn´t always as convenient as picking them up while doing her weekly grocery shopping.
Which leads me to my post of the day-keeping up with the trends. Yesterday after my mom´s plane landed we took a walk to Vroman´s bookstore and I picked up the latest copy of a fashion magazine that had run a feature on the best handbags. I´ve also glanced through other magazines, scanning advertisements and the small fashion blurbs that review products or features those that the editors of the magazine consider must-haves. I look for certain details when I search these ads: the size of the handbags, the length of the straps, the colors of the fabric, and the most common design.
As a small business owner, it is very important that you keep up with what is going on in your field. To be successful, you must provide products and services that consumers need or desire. Consider clothing fashions, which rotate in a circle. Bell bottoms are hot and then they are not; orange is in for a while and then, with a snap of the fingers, it is out again. If you open a boutique and don´t keep up with what is selling, you´re sales will drop.
While clothing and accessory trends change constantly, other fields do as well. Consider the medical field: illnesses are discovered or cured, devices and techniques are invented or replaced with new ones. If you are the owner of a medical supply business, you need to keep up with what is in and what is out so you know how to stock your shelves. Same with salon owners: They must understand what colors and cuts are most popular and which ones have been swept away.
I keep up with trends by glancing through magazines each month as they hit the stand. I also watch the entertainment shows and observe women out in public. I also read through trade magazines, which I believe is something that every small business owner should do regularly. Trade shows are a great way to find out what is going on in your area as is networking with other professionals in your field. Also, join at least one professional organization, which generally supply a newsletter with the latest industry news as well as offering conferences and shows in which professionals can gather to meet and learn.
While you don´t have to constantly change the products and services that you are selling, you do need to keep an eye and ear out on the latest trends if you want to stay competitive in your field.
Listing of Trade Magazines: