Small and medium-size businesses are often in the dark about key developments in their industries. They lack the time, money, and expertise to gather and evaluate that information. But that doesn't mean it isn't important. Consider the prices they pay for the goods or services they buy. Advance word of radical price shifts, or new products that will make others obsolete, can save them from missing a buying opportunity, or from laying in inventory that will soon become obsolete.
Keeping your customers informed of trends can only make them healthier, and in turn create more business for you. Word of mouth from your sales force is one time-honored way to accomplish this. But in this age of the Internet there are other effective ways, too, from e-mail to Web sites that keep clients posted on prices and other industry developments.
One of my former clients, the Institute for Trend Research, in Concord, New Hampshire, analyzes market and economic trends and makes accurate predictions as to when those trends will change. Its business is its forecasting expertise in a wide range of sectors, from industrial construction and agricultural market movement to interest rates, commodity prices, and inflation.