Following Business Trends To Grow Your Business

Following business trends (both general trends and trends in your particular industry) is important to the health and long-term success of your business. Staying aware of trends does not mean that you need to be on the “cutting edge” of every trend. But, you need to watch those trends so that your business does not become obsolete as your competitors leverage those trends to their advantage.

There are many examples of businesses that failed, at least in part, because they did not recognize trends in their own industry. Blockbuster Video is one example. There are many stories and theories regarding the reasons for the downfall of Blockbuster. But, most business analysts agree that the company waited too long to revise its business model of renting DVDs from retail stores. By the time the company began offering DVDs by mail, the strongest competitor offering that service (Netflix) already had a big lead. Netflix has gone on to offer instant downloads as well – following the trend of growing Internet access and increased download capacities.

There are many factors that cause a particular company to experience problems, but it appears that Blockbuster’s failure to take action on industry trends was a significant part of its current problems.

When was the last time you looked at trends in your own industry? What about general trends, such as increased mobile phone usage, mobile advertising and point-of-sale purchases using mobile phones?

You do not need to be on the very leading edge of these trends, but you cannot ignore trends that affect your business. Social media is a good example. Certain groups of people rely heavily on social media as their primary means of communication. If your customers are in these groups, you need to have a social media presence if you want to reach these customers.

Keep an eye on others in your industry to see how they are adjusting to certain trends. Don’t just copy what they are doing. Be innovative and develop your own procedures or systems that leverage those trends to strengthen your business.

Many trends move quickly – spend some time this week studying current trends and looking for ways to leverage those trends to grow your business.

Senior Service Business Trends

The baby boomers comprise a large portion of the market. According to Entrepreneur Media, by the year 2020, twenty five percent of people in the USA will be over the age of 65. As they age, the business opportunities in elderly care are expanding and are expected to increase. Although the number of in-home care and assisted living businesses are increasing, these are not the only areas of growth.

Many baby boomers are still active, and they want to keep it that way. Insightful entrepreneurs are looking at what this mature crowd wants, and they are creating anti-aging and health products to meet the needs of the market. There are also companies sprouting up that provide services like organized senior travel and tour groups, active health clubs for seniors and more.

Concierge services, bookkeepers and financial planners are also providing much-needed amenities to those who want assistance in making life easier as they grow older. Here are some of the business trends that we are seeing now.

In Home Care

Many seniors would prefer to remain in their homes than move to an assisted living facility. To meet this growing need, there are lots of in home care businesses and franchises starting up. Some home care services provide medical aid, but many other businesses offer a wide variety of non-medical care assistance instead. Some examples of non-medical care include bathing, grooming, meal preparation, transportation, companionship, chore services, housekeeping and more.

Seniors can continue to live in an environment that makes them happy, while family members can rest assured that they are receiving the care and attention they need. If this isn’t enough of a selling point, companies that offer multiple services are additionally attractive simply for the added convenience that they provide.

Money and Tax Services for Seniors

Bookkeepers, tax consultants and estate planners are also finding opportunities in the senior market. By offering their services to this specific niche market, these professionals can free retirees from having to manage complicated financial tasks themselves. At the same time, they can be helping them save money and spend their savings wisely.

Travel and Recreation for Seniors

Travel businesses that offer tours and vacations specifically for seniors are becoming more popular for aging travelers. Not only is the trip planning taken care of for customers, but the specialized travel service caters to the needs of seniors.

Although recreation for seniors is nothing new, a growing number of services are being offered, especially for those who want to live an active lifestyle. For example, a fairly new senior health club franchise called Club 50 is designed for people age 50 and over. In addition, more spas are offering services that seniors want, such as hydrotherapy services and cooking classes.

Whether you want to start a senior service business or you want to expand your current product or service offering to the senior market, there are opportunities to be had. Publications like Senior Citizens Magazine and Modern Senior Living Magazine can provide clues as to what the market wants. All you need to do is provide the solution.

Stay on Top With Business Trends With an Acclaimed Mailing List

Trends or fads are what keeps certain products and services moving from their shelves and into the hands of clients. Following certain business trends means that the firm always keeps a certain advantage over their competition.

Take marketing for instance; if a company does not to follow the current marketing craze, they can expect to fall far behind the pack as their competition takes the lead in terms of generating income. As of late, there is a large amount of companies around the globe that employ the marketing strategy of lead generation as part of their in-house operations. Generating business leads is all the rage for many company owners. They have found this highly effective strategy and has deemed it as the light at the end of the tunnel.

Generating b2b leads has already been tried and tested as one of the most effective marketing plans of action ever to be implemented. Many businesses implement this strategy as it is totally different from hardcore selling. When generating quality leads, the entire process may take a while before the prospect becomes a dignified client for the business. Nonetheless, the results are far from disappointing; in fact, it is downright satisfying. Many business owners have found that generating quality leads and converting them into top-class clients makes for a very long-term business relationship.

With the right strategy in place, the next thing to take into consideration is the marketing tactic. If there is a current trend in marketing strategies, there is also a fad in terms of marketing tactics. Sending advertising mail to potential clients has been chosen by many as a route to achieve quality leads for their business. This tactic’s current popularity has been seen due to its effectiveness in keeping high costs at bay.

Currently, direct mail has been deemed as one of the most cost efficient marketing means known to man. Business owners need only to pay for a few things to initiate and maintain the campaign such as the printing of the advertising material and for the payment of the of the mailing service.

However, employing this marketing method does not make businesses instantly be on easy street. There are some challenges that comes with the cost efficiency of the campaign. For instance, costs can double, triple, and worse, even quadruple in size if the potential clients are not targeted with pinpoint accuracy. Aiming for the leads aimlessly or at random lets the company waste more money than usual. The most common scenario will be that the prospect will just throw out the advertising material into their trashcan as soon as they receive it. There are even those contacts that have been seen to throw the material out without giving it a second look.

To negate this travesty from happening, business owners can purchase a reputable mailing list from trustworthy database providers. Business owners can purchase such a list when they are in need of precision targeting of their targeted market.

Providers of these lists make sure that it is up-to-date at all times to provide the purchasers of said list to be well-satisfied of their campaign’s results. They scrub their lists of any errors and corrections that need to be made so that the business that purchases the list can make the most out of their direct mail campaign.

Purchasing a mailing list will keep the business to maintain its competitive edge over their competition.

Top 5 Business Trends in 2011

By now, most entrepreneurs have their  business goals written down with specific measurements as to how they’re going to accomplish them in 2011. Prior to the end of the 2010, these same entrepreneurs took time to take note of all the mistakes made in the previous year and determine what can be done differently in the following year. Depending on the type of year you had, rough times may call for drastic measures. Therefore, it’s necessary to understand and be in “the know” by asking yourself how you measure up with other business competitors by learning the latest and greatest business trends. Take a look at Futurepreneur’s Top 5 Business Trends to investigate and see how your business measures up.

Social Media Marketing 

Social Media Marketing will continue to rock! Operating a small business can be challenging, but  joining the social media revolution is well worth it. Social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn and don’t forget YouTube are becoming standard operating procedures as real time marketing strategies for many companies. Theres no way you can deny not having the opportunity to market your business through to Facebook with over 500 million  and 200 million mobile active users strong. Believe it or not, small businesses are catching on too by using blogging, tweeting, and Facebook as their key presence on the web. In fact, companies are hiring social media consultants and social media experts to their personnel roster. So what’s next, adding social media marketing as a major in college?

Hand Held Treasures (Mobile Devices)

Are you addicted to your iPhone or your iPad? Nowadays, carrying a laptop is obsolete, especially when you can do everything on your mobile device (email, search the web, and update your tweets and FB status). In fact, a Forrester study shows that 49% small business owners use smartphones. Using mobile advertisements, creating mobile applications and offering mobile payment options are just a few ways that mobile devices are changing the way that companies are doing business.

Bootstrap Financial Strategies

Doing more with less is evident in today’s economy. Everybody’s feeling the crunch. So downsizing the budget and realizing that “hey we survived just fine” provides ongoing incentives to continue with bootstrapping your way through as a viable financial management strategy. So what helps? Finding ways to cut cost and doing it for less, so when the economy picks up, you’ve already adopted good cost containment solutions to maintain a steady cash flow. Start-ups aren’t going to banks…because they can’t. Asking friends and relatives to fund your small business instead of using traditional lending options are great alternatives.

Go Green!

“Go Green!” To know what that means is a step up from last year. If you want to get ahead, start educating yourself on the efforts involved in the “going green” phenomenon. Whether it’s providing energy efficient solutions for your clients or including energy efficient mechanisms inside your business, either way, don’t miss out on the growing epidemic. There are all kinds of creative ways to include green initiatives for your products and services. For example, I use hair products owned by a local hair salon. When I run low in consumption, I simply take back my empty bottles and get them refilled. Doing so allows me to receive a discount (which is more cost effective than buying a whole new set of products) and it allows the company to decrease the number of plastic bottles used to distribute their product to their customer. It’s also no secret that the federal government will spend an estimated $19 billion by 2015 on green hardware and cloud computing to reduce energy consumption.

Health and Fitness

While most of us have cut back on expenses, many of us haven’t canceled our gym memberships. The fitness industry is continuing to explode and with the new healthcare initiative, health and wellness will continue to grow with enormous business opportunities. Fitness clubs and health stores are now a $14.4 billion industry. WOW! Take a look around and take notice of how health conscious our country is becoming (i.e., TV infomercials, low-fat items on fast-food restaurants, low-cost gym memberships, child obesity programs, etc.) Even the video game industry has tapped into this industry with fitness videos available to play on your Xbox 360 Kinect or Nintendo Wii consoles.