The Minute You Stop Chasing Trends Is When You Will Start Building a Real Business Being the first to hop on the latest thing gets you nowhere unless you have a plan.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
If you've been paying attention to the entrepreneur space, you may have noticed something in the last three months. It's a common trend that's not so common in entrepreneurship. You've seen the same entrepreneurs chasing the newest "hot" trends. They started their business with a core topic and industry but maybe the income wasn't there. In their desire to generate revenue, they were tempted by the allure of what's working in entrepreneurship right now.
In a three-month span, they were Facebook ad experts until that became saturated, then they became "funnel" experts. After that, Facebook Messenger bots started to become popular, so they became Messenger bot experts. And now, everybody is talking about Bitcoin, so there's a whole new wave of Bitcoin experts. This cycle will keep repeating itself as new trends emerge and entrepreneurs share the results they get with a new trend.
Build a foundation.
If you're jumping from trend to trend, you might want to sit down and get clear about what your values are and what kind of business would match those values. You should know and understand your ultimate life goals. Your values, goals and a great idea make up the foundation of your business. We all know what happens to a house that's not built on a solid foundation. To build a successful business, you need a deep foundation in an industry/topic that you could see yourself spending years in. You may not hold onto the business forever, but it will take time to build it to where it could be sold.
I understand the appeal of being first to the market on something, but that only works when you're first to a market with a foundation to build on. First to the market only works when you start out and continue to build. You're then seen as an industry leader in that market. Creating a foundation in a common industry or going deep with a trend isn't sexy, but it's how you will build something sustainable.
Related: 25 Common Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs
Evaluate your marketing and lead generation.
A lot of the reason why entrepreneurs can't generate consistent revenue is that they have no marketing plan and aren't generating new leads. A lack of marketing ruins businesses. Luckily, for us as entrepreneurs today, marketing is easier and more cost-effective. Facebook ads are highly effective and you can target them to your ideal prospect. Besides Facebook, you can now run ads on all social media networks. According to Gallup, 62 percent of people worldwide use social media daily. The stats are in our favor.
Once you've paid for ads, the stats tell us that for every $92 spent acquiring customers, only $1 is spent converting them (Econsultancy, 2016). Besides paid ads, there's SEO, content and email marketing, organic social media marketing, podcasting, launches and lots more ways to market your business and create leads.
Creating content for large publications (such as this one) is a great lead generator. A few entrepreneurs who read this article and vibe with it will wonder what else I do and click back to my website. If they like what they see, they'll sign up for my email list. As I send good content to the list, a few will want to go deeper and spend money on my premium content. It's lead generation 101. Create a good marketing plan through all the available channels and consistently build leads. That's how you grow your foundation.
Related: How to Become a Millionaire by Age 30
If you have been in entrepreneurship for any amount of time, you understand the power and value of the right business relationships. A strong business connection can help you take your business to its next growth level. You can form partnerships, affiliate relationships or short-term arrangements on business deals. Leveraging relationships along with a strong foundation and marketing will help you much more than chasing trends.
We all have been guilty of falling for "shiny object syndrome" at one point in our business-building journey. When you see an entrepreneur get an incredible result with a trend, you take notice and are curious. Take a step back and get honest with yourself. Determine where chasing that trend would fit with your goals and value. Don't chase anything that will ultimately hurt your progress.
Related: 7 Mental Shifts That Allowed Me to Become a Millionaire at 22