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.  Remember Facebook’s IPO?  The DotCom crash of the late nineties?   How about the real estate, and subsequent economic bubble bursting in 2007?  Even the news today is documenting the struggles of the Bitcoin/cryptocurrency bubble.

Guess what?  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 distract you from core issues in your business.  Most business owners have never focused enough time in that area to make 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 Bitcoin as an example.  As of this writing, there is considerable talk about the benefits of blockchain technology on the one hand, but on the other is the problem of how a cryptocurrency can be regulated.

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

Here’s the real issue with trends – 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.  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.

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