How Entrepreneurs Predict Trends & Take Risks

One entrepreneurs story of how they predict trends and take risks.

Predicting trends, not to be confused with market research.  In fact, it’s probably the complete opposite.  The majority of entrepreneurs have the ability to predict trends years before they come out, without relying on past data.  As entrepreneurs, we like to call this “not following the herd”.

What is important about predicting trends anyway for entrepreneurs?  Well for starters, it’s the only way to make a good risk for yourself when wanting to do something different.  Contrary to popular belief, we don’t just “jump” when we feel like it.  That’s how your entrepreneur decides whether or not to take a risk.  They predict the trend first.

Here’s how I predict trends:

1. Entrepreneurs watch markets.

The majority of your entrepreneurs & ceo’s have very specific things they wish to do with the company.  We can sometimes step on the CTO’s toes with product development.  It’s because your entrepreneurs are externally focused (but not to be mistaken with being extroverted vs introverted, in fact half of all CEO’s are introverts), watching markets to identify what products the company needs to develop.  That’s our job.  We’re predicting trends, and tying all the pieces together into a bigger strategy that will ensure success for the company.

2.  Entrepreneurs watch customers.

Probably more important then watching the market, is watching the customer.  It takes a certain level of understanding human behavior to do it.  And I don’t know any successful entrepreneurs that ask customers through surveys when they’re making trend predictions.  That’s the truth.

You have to be very open minded.  Any time you get stuck in placing a judgement on what your customer wants, you screw up.

3.  Entrepreneurs watch money.

“Money” is not CNN.  Money is not the IPO that took place 3 months ago.  Think about investors, entrepreneurs spot trends before anyone else.  Where does the entrepreneur go with that opportunity?  Who sees those trends next?  That’s right.  Seed stage investors.  They are often at the front of trend prediction, seeing hundreds of ideas within a day at times.  And they pay attention, because it’s critical in their investments to identify the big exits that will be taking place in 5-10 years down the road.

Be careful with investors though.  It’s becoming increasingly popular for investors to take a piece of each pitch they see, and just tell someone to build it for them in order to get an investment.  There is a really good example of this I’ll show you guys one day, where the founder actually says, right there, on his About Us page: “I was approached by ‘x investor’ who asked me to build this for him”.  What a wonderful story of persistence and overcoming obstacles that defines entrepreneurs everywhere.  If you want to know why entrepreneurs are saying “the playing field is uneven in technology”, this is why.  And thanks to the person who sent that to me.

4.  Entrepreneurs watch pitches.

Pitching in open forums is ridiculous.  No one there is there to invest, 99% of the time.  Who is there?  Other entrepreneurs watching.  You pay money for competitors to trend spot you.  Remember- sit in the audience, never be the one pitching unless you are well on your way to success to the point where no one can beat you.

Here’s another thing: most entrepreneurs get the same ideas, at the same time.  It’s because they are all predicting the trend.  That means no, everyone is not stealing your idea.  If anything, look at it as a validator that your prediction was correct.  Next time, trust your gut faster.

5.  Entrepreneurs make intuitive assumptions.

You can never judge a trend based on watching one single person.  Entrepreneurs look at everything- as a big picture.  At the end of the day your entrepreneur gathers up all that information & archives it into their head and for processing & daydreaming.  One thought leads to the next.  For example: “if a is happening, then b will come come next as a result of a”.  And before you know it, your entrepreneur is all the way down to Z, predicting a trend that won’t happen for another 3-10 years.  This is probably why we never sleep.

Most people don’t predict trends past A (what is happening now), you’ve got to take it beyond that.

6.  Entrepreneurs match it with an opportunity.

All the trend spotting & customer watching in the world don’t do an ounce of good, without an opportunity to match it to.  Sometimes, you’ll have over 100 trends & problems revolved around your customers.  All written down in your entrepreneur “top secret black book of company strategies”.  But what determines your one trend or strategy that you will end up pursuing, is the opportunity that will present itself.  This is the trigger for the entrepreneur to take the risk.

How do you predict trends & take risks?  Is it like me, or do you do it differently?


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