• Stay Ahead of the Curve

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    "You can't just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they'll want something new.
    ~Steve Jobs
    Sound about right?  The speed at which consumerism is moving makes it necessary for businesses to anticipate what their customers will be looking for, long before the customer even knows what he wants.  Wise entrepreneurs need to figure this out, and this is something that is easier said than done. 
    Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers, would say encouraging employees to think freely, and to use their imagination is critical to being on the cutting edge.  Too often we put people into positions, give them a job description, and unintentionally squash their creativity.
    Some will tell you that success lies in simplicity.  Make the product simple to use, simple to access, and people will find a way to own it.
    Many will say the key lies in identifying trends or changes that are occurring.  Then thinking about how these might develop over time. Make links between present habits or actions, and the future.
    According to a recent report from Business Development Bank (BDC), there are five consumer trends emerging that will affect Canadians' buying habits in the future.
    1. The Buy Local movement is considered to be the most powerful consumer trend today, according to this study.  They say close to two-thirds of Canadians say they have made an effort to buy local or Canadian-made products this past year, and two in five consider local production an important factor in the buying decision.
    2. Fifty percent of Canadians consider the health impact of a product when making a purchase, and one-third are willing to pay a premium for health products.
    3. Consumers are looking for customized products, and increasingly want to be part of the process of creating their product or service. At the same time, they are still looking for the same price as a mass-produced product.
    4. The internet is much more than an online purchasing tool. Entrepreneurs will need to have more than just a website to reach out to consumers.They should be looking at numerous and varied online options to get the attention of their customer.
    5. Seven out of ten consumers have reduced their spending since the recession, and two-thirds consider the lowest cost the main factor in their purchasing decisions. More consumers will search for competitive prices.
    This is a challenge indeed for entrepreneurs.  But it is a challenge that the successful business owners of tomorrow will embrace as an opportunity!
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