Never in the history of the world has technology iterated and evolved at such a rapid pace as it does today. We live in a world of rapid innovation and improvement.
Cutting-edge software can become obsolete in days, and new devices can change the way the world communicates and functions within a matter of months. While it’s an undeniably exciting time to be alive, this can also be an intimidating time for business owners.
If you look away for too long, you could find yourself obsolete and out of touch. The question is, what can you do to stay up to date with current trends?
Six Tips for Keeping Your Business Current
Every firm will have to develop its own systems and processes for staying with the times, perhaps, but here are six suggestions that should at least keep you moving in a positive direction.
- Surround Yourself With Other Business Leaders
Motivational speaker Jim Rohn spent much of his career helping people understand how their habits can adversely affect their potential. One of his defining notions was that every person is the average of the five people he or she spends the most time with.
In other words, the people you hang around are the ones who shape your thoughts, actions, and beliefs. This is true in both your personal and professional life.
If you want to be up to date and current in the business world, you need to surround yourself with other business leaders who are “in the know.” The conversations and exchanges you have with these people should keep you on the cutting edge.
- Subscribe to Trade Journals and Industry Publications
What’s something you care deeply about in your personal life? It might be a hobby, type of music, or a sport.
Whatever it is, you instinctively stay current on the trends that connect to your area of interest by reading blogs, watching videos, following the relevant social media, etc. In order to stay up to date on what’s happening in your industry, you need to apply the same practices.
You should spend time each week reading industry blogs, following the influencers and thought leaders in the industry, and seeking out information. Not all the information will be worth applying, but it’s worth trying to maintain a big-picture view of what’s happening in real time.
- Conduct Regular Assessments
Staying on the cutting edge isn’t all about looking out and studying what others are doing. It’s just as important to look inward and assess how your business is performing in different functions.
“Assessments provide feedback and allow you to measure your programs against best-in-class industry standards to see where your performance ranks,” PinnacleART asserts. “They are aimed at continuous improvement. By looking at key focal points, you can develop a strong understanding of how your program performance addresses the areas of risk, cost, and compliance.”
- Listen to Your Employees and Customers
Sometimes your best shot at understanding what’s happening around you is to stop talking and start listening. In particular, you should pay attention to what your employees and customers are saying.
Often, those people are more in touch with reality than you are. Rather than focus on any one thing that someone tells you, look for the broad trends. Which ideas surface over and over? This is usually where the greatest potentials lie.
- Observe the Competition
You never want to copy exactly what your competition is doing, but you can learn a lot by keeping an eye on competitors and taking note when they do something new. If nothing else, this will make you aware of which opportunities are being leveraged.
- Remain Agile
Large businesses may have bigger budgets and more resources, but it’s typically the smaller companies and startups that are the most agile and capable of pivoting. If you want to stay current, it’s critical to remain agile no matter how much growth and expansion your operation undergoes.
Final Thought: Never Get Comfortable
One of the worst things a business owner can do is to become complacent. The moment you feel as if you have everything together could the very moment when everything begins to fall apart.
Your firm doesn’t have to jump on every trend or invest in every new technology. You do need to be aware of the bigger movements, however, so you understand when it’s time for your team to shift. Embrace the challenges and your business will benefit directly.