All business owner know that one of the secrets to success is to anticipate what their customers will need before they know themselves. And since none of us have a crystal ball, you must become good at becoming a trend spotter.
Now, you can spend big money for someone to formulate reports and monitor your business for growth and changes within your industry.
However, there are ways to do this that will not only save you money but it will give you great insight into spotting these patterns and trends, so you can be on the cutting edge for your company.
Identifying trends helps you spot strengths and weaknesses so you can improve your performance and tackle potential problems and opportunities…
- Past: Go ahead and gather data from the past several years and sort it by year, quarter and month. Enter your data on a spreadsheet so you are able to compare sales, expenses, revenue, employee turnover and production output. You can do this by month, quarter, territory or department, however you want to examine the data. This will help you spot patterns, productions delays, or even decreased cash flow.
- Current: Analyze the recent trends within your company. Concentrate on departments that you can control, such as, sales, marketing, production or technology. You can study them by territory, representative, product or distribution. They can include overhead and production expenses. Other internal trends can occur in employee costs and turnover, debt, profit margins and gross profits.
- External: While you are keeping track of your internal trends, you need to be on top of what is happening in the larger arena. There are trade organizations, government agencies, business publications, all great resources for information on the newest business trends. You can track trends with your competitors, new technology, and what your customers are interested in.
Trends can be a very dependable source of changes for your business. They will give you timely indications about what is right and what is wrong within your company.
As you study and watch the trends within your own company and out in the marketplace, you will find you begin to gather a lot of information. This will help you make observations and connections that will lead you to have new insights regarding your business.
One last thought, many years ago I worked as a manager of a Burger King restaurant, the gentleman that delivered buns to my restaurant also delivered buns to the McDonald’s as well as Wendy’s down the street from me.
I used to ask the bread man how many trays of buns he delivered to each of them each week. This give me a weekly comparative of their use of buns and therefore an approximation of their sales.
Who is your bread man?
How do you keep track of trends in your company?
Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC and author of "The 3x5 Coach: A Practical Guide to Coaching Your Team for Greater Results and Happier People", which is now available in Paperback or a Kindle version at https://tinyurl.com/y8ecykfy