This topic is important to everyone. Regardless if you have an existing business and want to increase your business’s financial portfolio (i.e., expansion or investing) or you want to start your first business and don’t currently have any solid ideas that leave you with the confidence required to make that first step.
The ability to research the direction the product and services industry is going is a skill that few are ever able to develop. Contrary to what you might think, innovators in business and marketing aren’t just people who’re able to create a new product or service. At their base, innovators are people who identify what it is that people want, and then take the necessary strides to give it to them.
Spotting such opportunities can give you the means to create a new business when you don’t have an existing skill or background. It also opens the door for you to become a “bridger”: someone who “bridges the gap” between skilled creators with a great idea, but who have no capital to make it a reality (I.e., an investor, coordinator, or facilitator of sorts.)
Following is a nice list of online resources you can use to find both potential future, and recently emerging trends. If you’re brave, you can even learn how past trends did to learn about what you missed out on!
Free sites you can use to find new opportunities:
Trendwatching is a site that many of you likely haven’t heard of; particularly if you’re not one to actively look for new business and marketing ideas. They give up-to-date analysis of current, future, and even past trends. Telling you what the buying public is looking for and discussing the emotional triggers that will be driving those markets. Food, technology, fun, travel, education, and many other markets are all discussed at length. Many free planning and a variety of implementation tools are offered, and the links to other business blogs and websites are worth their weight in gold!
You won’t find a better source for what people are looking for. You can filter by country, plug in keywords and have a list of search items served up with helpful graphs and links. You should have a basic idea of what you’re interested in, such as “marketing”, “technology”, “how can I…”, etc. The reason being because the tool bases its info off of what keyword(s) you plug into it. Google Trends is often looked at by people who work in the online space, but you’re looking for what people want and this is a great way to find that information; whether you’re going online or brick-and-mortar.
If you’ve never heard of it, it might be hard to guess what type of trends you’ll glean from here. Technology, technology, technology folks! They have a fairly apt, intuitive on-site search function, up-to-date tech-focused stories from across the globe, and the very best list of world events happening within the world of technology. Can you guess any limitations of using this site? You guessed it: only use techmeme if you’re interested in electronics, applied science, and engineering!
I won’t spend too much space explaining this one. It offers similar information to techmeme, but it’s very unique as well. You’ll find everything from what’s going on in the smartphone and app space, to tips on how to keep your computer up and running. This is great for finding emerging needs that people want filled that you can build a business for, but also a wonderful resource if you’re looking to invest in ideas or like to play the stock market.
You didn’t think I was going to leave Twitter out of the mix, did you? Trendsmap is everything Twitter, detailing all the latest tweets and trends all across the globe. They also have paid versions in varying levels that offer more detailed information, such as user info and detailed historical data. For someone like you, who’s looking for trending info, the free works just fine.
This isn’t so much a site where trends are discussed. Squidoo really tells you what people are interested in writing, reading and learning about. If you’re a marketer, product creator, or investor, this site will help you identify what’s on the minds of the buying public and help you find areas you enjoy and think you could be successful in. Great for business and equally good if you’re a writer looking for your next book idea to market.
Yeah, yeah. This is another Google product. When you got it, you got it! And Google certainly has it. Videos are akin to written content these days, and you won’t find a more reliable source to tell you what people are interested. The days of relying on the Nielsen Ratings for demographic video info is long past. Use the trends dashboard to see what people are watching, where they live, and how old they are.