As a small business working in the online environment, it can be difficult to keep up with all the relevant information and development in your industry. The fact is that we are facing an ever-changing business environment regardless of the industry we focus on, and in the digital age, things are changing at a much more rapid pace than ever in the past!
It’s difficult to keep up for companies with large teams, but SMBs are in an even greater pinch. They, seemingly, don’t have enough resources to sift through all the static and find relevant and reliable information that they can rely on.
We say “seemingly” because if you organize things properly and take your time in building a “reconnaissance” network, you’ll have much better insight into the situation. Whether you’re using a Helm repository to manage DevOps pipeline using cloud computing to streamline the collaboration abilities of a small business team, these approaches deepen information gathering for teams of all sizes.
We’re here to discuss how to go about doing this and how to do it without having to dedicate a lot of resources to achieve success.
Social Media is Your Ally
We have the privilege of having access to Tweets and posts from industry leaders across the board, no matter which industry you focus on (check out Mastadon, a massive open-source social media platform). Many high-level professionals around the globe cherish the ability to share insights and projections with the broader public, and all you need to do is find who they are and which networks they frequent.
Sure, Twitter can be pure chaos if you don’t curate it properly, but the goal is to prune your lot and keep only those influencers that provide you with good insight into your industry’s machinations. Furthermore, LinkedIn has managed to keep professional etiquette in the interaction between the users, so it is a natural choice for business reconnaissance.
Reddit is also a place where toxic behavior is shut down in most cases, and the format of the platform is suitable for complex discussion through the best answers, always reaching the top of the thread.
Podcasts have become a very popular media format recently for a number of reasons. Fist of all, they are a format that promotes freeflow conversations and tends to last anywhere between an hour and three hours (sometimes even longer).
The second reason is that they are mostly an audio medium. Sure, there are exceptions, but the video aspect of a podcast isn’t essential to fully enjoy one – they’re the closest thing we have to an internet radio format. It means that you can listen to a podcast while doing repetitive tasks and listen to a highly intellectual and stimulating conversation on complex subjects.
Being that there are now podcasts focused on literally anything and everything, you can always find those that help you deepen your knowledge of a particular industry. On top of that, many big names in business are willing to participate in these as they have the time to discuss complex subjects at length – something regular TV interviews and talk shows can’t compete with.
Blogs and News Portals
This is a bit tricky as there are hundreds of thousands of blogs and news portals out there, and they all have a varying degree of reliability on things they are reporting on. As with social media, you’ll have to give it some time and decide on those you believe are the most trustworthy.
Still, you might think that there is still too much static here to extract valuable info, but you can automate the process of filtering out the information you don’t need. Apps like Webhose can help you automate the aggregation of news from different sources across the web. It can take time to set up and optimize, but once you have it, you’ll speed up the process quite a lot.
Open up To Your Network
Unlike in the past, competitors are no longer as afraid to engage with each other, especially if they are online businesses. The reason for this is that the chances of their target customers overlapping are quite slim. This means that they are more willing to connect and engage in deciphering the problems they collectively face by doing business in a particular industry.
Simply building a network of professionals and using it to ask questions that bother you may give you better insight into the state of things. I’m sure you’ve seen long threads on social media or in blog post comments where various people share experiences and solutions to problems.
Not everyone is going to be willing to engage in civil discourse, and that’s ok just don’t get baited into feeding the trolls.
These are not all the possible options, but if you utilize these approaches, you’ll be a lot more in touch with industry news, trends, and significant development that can impact the way your business operates. These approaches will not overburden you as a business owner and will keep you in the loop. Good luck!