Keeping pace with the latest trends in your industry can be challenging, but it's an essential part of business success. By staying on top of, and ideally, anticipating trends and future directions, you can gain considerable strategic advantages.
Yet, as described at Huffington Post, knowing how to keep up with emerging technology is not always easy, especially for small business owners. Here are 6 tips for staying up to date with technology news you need.
1. Use RSS feeds
Most industries today have most of their information available online. Whether it's newspapers, magazines or trade journals, most publications and pundits provide easy-to-follow RSS feeds of headlines, articles, and breaking news.
Instead of surfing multiple sites to track down the latest news, subscribe to an RSS feed using an RSS reader, and let the news and insights come to you. Readers, which are free to use, condense all the information and send it to you directly, eliminating the need to hunt it down.
2. Organize and share the information using the cloud
For many small-business owners, finding the key information is only the first part of the equation. The second is making sure the right employees in your organization can find, access and use the information you find.
Fortunately, there are any number of cloud-based storage solutions, free to use, that allow you to share collected articles, podcasts, training webinars and white papers. Rather than doling out paper copies, instead, send your employees to a shared file folder using a cloud-based service.
3. Leverage social media, Part 1
There is abundant information being shared on social media. Instead of just subscribing to various Twitter feeds, use a tool like TweetDeck, Hootsuite or Followerwonk to manage, filter and sort to find the posts you need and can use.
4. Leverage social media, Part 2
Are you concerned that your social media posts are getting lost in the volume of posts, tweets, and trending articles? Make sure you're posting at the right time and schedule your posts for when they're most likely to be read. Using some of the aforementioned tools, or others such as Buffer, lets you time your interactions and measure their impact.
5. Look outside your industry
Sometimes the best place to find emerging technologies is not in your own backyard. Think about other industries where there might be crossover with yours. Subscribe to some of the newsletters put out by large consulting firms.
If you're in a B2B field, for example, look at what's happening in the B2C space and whether there's any crossover potential. Trends that are big in one industry but have not shown up in yours could give you a significant competitive advantage.
6. Find an expert
Sometimes, it makes sense to pay someone else to be on the lookout for the bleeding edge. Find a consultant who specializes in staying ahead of the latest technological trends (make sure he/she is not trying to sell you a specific product) and leverage that knowledge and insight for your own business.
The challenge of staying current on technological change needn't be overwhelming. With some planning and strategic insight, you can stay ahead and use the news you need.