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Random Acts of Kindness

Before, during and after you start a business, watching trends of all kinds, not least those in the consumer field is a vital, though not necessarily time consuming activity.

Without watching, you may miss the boat, or caught with your panties down – so it could be embarrassing–or worse!

There are many ways to trendwatch, apart from simply keeping your eyes and ears open. One I use is an independent and opinionated trend firm, scanning the globe for the most promising consumer trends, insights and related hands-on business ideas.

Top of their list for 2011 is Random Acts of Kindness. My feeling is that the cultural/spiritual underpinning of RAKs also underpin many aspects of social and cultural change that are happening right now. Generosity replaces greed, ‘what works’ is tempered by ‘what matters’, collaboration is the new competition, seeking shared value is the strategic imperative for sustainability.

Trends for 2011

Trendwatching: their 11 Crucial Consumer Trends for 2011 is a good place to start. You can subscribe for free or pay for the premium service. For this year, they list:

  1. Random Acts of Kindness,
  2. Urbanomics,
  3. Pricing Pandemonium,
  4. Made for China (if not BRIC),
  5. Online Status Symbols,
  6. Wellthy,
  7. Social-Lites and Twinsumers,
  8. Emerging Generosity,
  9. Planned Spontaneity,
  10. Eco Superiority,
  11. Owner-Less.

Springwise: this is another source of my own trend watching. Their Top 20 Business Ideas for 2011 is very interesting in itself, but also when you see the ideas they have identified, you can map many of them onto the 11 Trends listed above. Springwise is another service you can get for free. Helped by a network of 8,000 spotters, their editors scan the globe for smart new business ideas, delivering instant inspiration to entrepreneurial minds.

If you are contemplating the idea of starting a business, this is an excellent place to go for inspiration. Even if you do not go for a me-too startup, the ideas they spot may lead you to your own unique business idea.

Inc. Small Business Success: you should be reading Inc. magazine anyway, but you can also subscribe to their newsletter–I do. A recent issue identified 11 Big Ideas to Watch in 2011. They are:

  1. Rethinking Retail
  2. Paranoia, Inc
  3. The Return of Hiring
  4. Cash, Credit, or iPhone?
  5. Resuscitating Electric Cars
  6. An IPO Comeback
  7. The Battle for Your Living Room
  8. Bespoke Everything
  9. A Facebook Backlash
  10. Adding Bottom Lines
  11. More Uncertainty.

150,000+ Sets of Trends for 2011

If you can’t find what you’re looking for heree, just search the Internet for ’11 trends for 2011′ and you’ll get more than 150K of the lists identified, so if you want to start a business, don’t tell me you are short on data on the sector you’ve chosen. There are lists for branding, cocktails, customer loyalty, digital marketing, family, fashion, film-making, food, IT, kids, liberty, mobile apps, non-profit marketing, recipes, restaurants, prisons, public relations, social media, sports medicine, tech, weddings–to name but a few.

What’s great about this is that it costs you nothing to tap into the combined wisdom of experts in different fields of every aspect of of life: economics, society and politics. It has never been so cost so little to do market research for anyone who wants to start a business.

PLEASE NOTE: There is tons of useful stuff on Startup Owl, a site that’s been going for a dozen years. So keep browsing, but know that the founder, Will, now devotes most of his time and energy to his new website that you should definitely visit:

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