Thursday, July 7, 2011

Which Way Is The Trend Going?

I frequently have conversations (often debates) with people about companies and industries where I have to ask the question "which way is the trend going?  Up or down?".  I may be talking about sales, market size, competition or even more broader trends like consumer behaviour. 

I believe that people often forget to think about the past, present and future in this manner when thinking about what is going to happen in the future.  Sometimes the trend is moving slowly (although I might argue the pace of change is increasing)
 and it is hard to see the forest for the trees. 

When I think about Research in Motion (RIM) I like to think about the direction of their consumer product sales and their market share in enterprise sales.  I see more and more C-level executives on Apple products and I find it hard to be positive about their future.

I once spent some time selling into the travel accessory and luggage industry.  I thought whether in-store sales of luggage was going up or down compared to online sales of these products.

I believe that, more often than not, a business or an industry is on a slow decline and that decline is often a slow leak like a dripping faucet.  It's so slow in fact, that leaders don't see or are not willing to see where things are going and for this reason, they are slow to react.

It's a shame, because I think you can get hip to where things are going by asking yourself one simple question:

Which way is the trend going?

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