The business world moves faster than ever these days, and with the rapid advancements in technology, it can feel like a constant struggle to keep up. But there’s a difference between barely keeping pace with your competitors in the latest tech adoption and being so far behind that you’re completely left in the dust.
What do you do if you’re in the latter camp? It might require a good, hard look at your operations and change the way you do things. Follow the advice of these 12 Young Entrepreneur Council members to adjust your approach and catch up with your industry’s trends.
When industry trends are leaving your company in the dust, what’s the best way to catch up?
1. Understand why the trend exists.
Understanding why everyone is adopting a new technology is the first step in not staying behind. Be curious enough to search Google and browse around forums conducting your own market research. When you understand why, you are able to plan steps ahead and anticipate the next move. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
2. Acquire a company or team on the cutting edge.
The best way to catch up to industry trends is through the acquisition of companies or teams who are leading those trends. By acquiring an innovative company or team, an organization is making a conscious investment in future industry opportunities. – Brett Farmiloe, Markitors Website Development
3. Bring in an outside consultant.
When it feels like the future is leaving your company behind, the best strategy is to tap into talent in the form of coaches, consultants and vendors. Companies built to build you. The right partners can short-cut the process of bringing you up to speed. Their outside perspective and your participation in the process will be invaluable in terms of actually capitalizing on industry trends. – Robby Berthume, Bull & Beard
4. Hire someone focused solely on trends.
If you’re already falling behind, it’s important to hire someone on your team who can focus on R&D and innovative new solutions. You can’t afford to avoid innovation. Hire a vendor or a person on your team who can be dedicated to following these industry trends, and making sure your company isn’t just catching up, but surges ahead. – Marcela De Vivo, Mulligan Funding
5. Continuously educate yourself.
Focus on creating a continuous learning environment for your organization. Promote and reward teams that are exploring and tinkering with new technology. A simple way of doing this is to promote tech talks on lunch hours. If you are already behind, make sure to understand what are the areas you want to catch up to and bring in new talent with these skills. – Felipe Cornejo, Devsu LLC
6. Change your marketing strategy.
Oftentimes, it’s not the trend that’s leaving your company in the dust. It’s the marketing strategy that competitors are using. We’ve seen it too many times. An inferior product with a ridiculous selling margin because it’s backed by a good marketing plan. Find out what that is and apply it to your own products and services. – Derek Broman, Discount Enterprises LLC deguns.net
7. Look at what your competitors are doing.
If you’re getting left behind, that’s a sign that you are in a mental rut and not exploring all of your options. Take a close look at your industry and notice who the leaders are. What are they doing that you aren’t? Identify strategies, tools and technologies that could help you grow. If necessary, get help by hiring a forward-thinking employee or consultant. – Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting
8. Ask your customers what they want.
Following trends for the sake of being trendy isn’t a good business strategy. If the industry is moving on without you, it is time to reassess how well your products are meeting the needs of your market. Go back to first principles: Has your market changed? How has it changed? What do your customers need today? The answers to these questions will guide you more profitably than trend-watching. – Vik Patel, Future Hosting
9. Create a SWAT team to address catch-up.
Take a handful of your smartest people in the company, give them the right incentives and set tough goals. Don’t be surprised that a small SWAT team does more to bring your company forward than a smaller effort from the entire company. – Amishi Takalkar, NAILBITER
10. Attend your niche’s industry conferences.
The best way to catch up, and then get ahead of the curve, is to attend conferences in your niche. Nothing beats being physically present to meet the thought leaders and tastemakers in your niche. When you’re in front of people, you’ll share meals and drinks with them, you’ll have fun and gain their trust. In the process, you’ll learn the latest trends on how to get ahead. – Kevin Tao, NeuEve
11. Get ahead of the next big trend.
If everyone is doing 3D VR sets, then I’m doing social vending. When I have missed the curve on a product or offering I use that time to get ahead of the next one or offer something unique. – Jessica Gonzalez, InCharged
12. Set the next trend yourself.
You do not have to be left in the dust. Why not work as hard as you can at being the one setting the trends? If you are going to put in the work, might as well be on the front end, establishing new trends, instead of playing from behind. – Abhilash Patel, Abhilash.co
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.