Specializing in one of the latest trends can be a lucrative strategy for a freelancer, especially if it’s part of an underserved niche in the market. But some of today’s “hot” concepts can quickly turn into tomorrow’s old news, leaving a small business owner struggling to stay afloat. How do you decide if the next big thing is worth pursuing, or if it’s more likely to leave you high and dry?
These three tips show you how to spot a hot trend with staying power and how to avoid those fleeting fads!
Get the facts to backup the claims.
Whether the information is coming from a “Top 10” list in a magazine, or was the topic at an industry meeting, don’t take any of it at face value. Instead, research current trend reports; hunt down economic data; look at employment indicators; and review any other verifiable third-party resources that back up what you’re hearing on the street. You want to look for data that indicates the potential for significant growth over the next five to seven years in the market or industry in which the trend fits. For instance, if the trend involves a service for Baby Boomers, the data is likely to validate what you are hearing. Research indicates that this customer base will continue to grow in record numbers as that population ages and that’s a trend with real data to back it up.
Do your research and check the market’s pulse.
One way to distinguish between a fad and a trend is to look at the size of the prospective customer base. Typically, a short-term craze appeals to a very limited number and type of people. As a freelancer, if the product or service appeals to a small amount of customers that means limited market share. Alternatively, a trend with staying power is more likely to attract interest from a large number of prospective customers. In other words, the broader the appeal, the better chance you have for lasting success.
Use the age barometer to factor longevity.
Believe it or not, many of the franchises touted as “hot” have been around a long time before making the trendsetters list. This is usually an indication that the concept has seen steady growth for quite some time. Showing up as new trend now, simply means it’s enjoying an extra surge of attention from the market and that the customer base is expanding.