Trend Spotting with the Experts

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This story appears in the March 2009 issue of Startups. Subscribe »

We asked three pros where they go dig up the latest industry trends. Here's their advice:

  • 17%

    of businesses started with $5,000 or less, while about 11% started with $100,000 or more.

    (Source: Kauffman Foundation)

    Richard Laermer, author of 2011: Trendspotting, says he likes to "look at industries that have nothing to do with my business. If I look at sports marketers, paper companies, and farmers and they're all looking for the same thing, I know there's something there."
  • Ann Mack, advertising giant JWT's director of trend spotting, says, "If you have a number of constituents and they gravitate to and consume as much media to reflect their media patterns, create a watch list. Look at the media they're taking in."
  • Jeremy Gutsche looks for similar observations posted by his group of 20,000 trend spotters on his website, Trendhunter.com, which logs about 7.5 million views per month. He calls these similar observations "clusters of innovation." Gutsche recommends you also keep an eye on cutting-edge industries, such as technology, music and fashion, for emerging trends that may benefit your business.

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