Beware of the Trends

Now that all the paperwork should have gone out regarding 1099s, W2s, and so on, the real work here at the office is just beginning.  I wanted to spend a few minutes sharing some things that have come up in some articles I’ve recently read…

Specifically, all this “trendy” stuff.

No matter where you look, people who should know better are caught up in trends.  It’s become part of the parlance of our times, after all, things are “trending” on social media, and trends DO offer the chance to make a fast buck many times.

Unfortunately, trends also have a tendency to create bubbles and those bubbles have the tendency to pop at inappropriate times.  We’ll undoubtedly see the price trends in real estate collapse this year due to inflation and interest rates, but that’s nothing really new, is it?  There’s always something coming and going, whether it was Facebook’s IPO or the DotCom crash of the late nineties?  For the last year, the news is daily documenting the struggles of cryptocurrency and the collapse of this or that platform. 

These examples and thousands of others are always there to distract you as an entrepreneur. The problem is that bubbles are “sexy” distractions – a lot of people know a little bit about them, so when you mention you’re working on it, it still sounds like business.

It isn’t, of course; it’s a red herring … plus it sounds better than telling someone you were sitting on the back porch watching YouTube videos of your favorite band. 

The truth is, trends are distracting you from your core issues in your business. Most small business owners have never focused enough time in that one area to have ever made enough of a difference in their operations before being distracted … again.

On the other hand, sometimes these trends cross over directly into your core business then what?

Let’s look at real estate prices as an example. As of this writing, there is considerable talk about the drop in prices currently due to rising interest rates on the one hand, but on the other is the problem of how anyone can save enough in these times to afford the down payment on even a small home. 

For a business owner who advises clients on investing, he or she may have to acknowledge the elephant in the room – inflation – and then determine if it is a business strategy or a distraction, a trend or market-changer?

Here’s the real issue with trends – determining how they fit into your business model.  Can you leverage your core business to provide value to clients while you address coming fads in your own business?

Yes, even the world of tax preparation and filing isn’t immune to trends – many tax experts thought that the idea of the E-file would never catch on – just like DIY tax software, but QuickBooks and dozens of other accounting and tax programs can help business owners every day.  Now, the lion’s share of tax returns are prepared and filed digitally.  As time goes by, every trend will fall by the wayside or become critical to your business – the important thing is to never let them be a distraction to you.

The key, at least from my chair, is to not get lost in the conversations, but to learn how to quickly analyze how you’ll be impacted by the trend de jour in the news cycle.  Is there a profit in it?  Is there a loss? 

You’ve got to condition yourself to see the truth quickly, engage it or discard it. 

Warm regards-


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