Edmond Ip, Co-founder and Vice Chairman of Artyzen Hospitality Group, a hotel management company that creates hotels around the philosophy of respecting each locations local culture and traditions, discusses the importance of observations and life experiences in being an important source of ideas and inspiration.
How to Observe Trends
There is no hard and fast rule to observe trends in the industry or the world. The important thing is that everything helps, and there are no fixed rules to what you should or should not read. By reading everything and anything, you will start picking up trends that way. Do not just concentrated on a few topics, you are limiting the knowledge you have. Accessing and looking at different topics and different fields will give you all sorts of knowledge to better prime yourself for your business aspirations. While some of that knowledge may not be relevant now, but stay curious, as they may come in handy in the future, and you can tap into that knowledge.
How well you are able to observe trends do not stem from your years of experience with different circles. Experience only tells you what mistakes not to make. Past experiences do not allow you to predict the future. You do not need to have decades of experience with an industry; everybody can observe trends.
Product Development and Appeal
No matter what industry you wish to penetrate, you cannot make your business such that you cover everything and appeal to everyone. If you do so, not a single person would be fully satisfied. Instead, focus and build a business that you are good at. There is no point in investing a large amount of effort into developing a small and weak part of your market or your strength. Develop your product to target a large part of what you are good at, refine it to its very best - only then can you corner that market and prosper in it.
Finding the Strengths
You can evaluate what you are good at by focus on observing and understanding the customers within your industry; at the end of the day, the customer pays the bill and feeds your business. You cannot just do something and tell the world to take it or leave it. No one will be willing to accept such a mentality behind a product. You need to observe the customer trends, closely track what they want to have or want to buy. Cater to what they need and want; when they like it, they are willing to pay a premium for it. As such, you cannot just dismiss such observation and your customers’ wants.
However, keep in mind that whatever you do, go back to your passions. if you are passionate enough about what you do, you will come up with a new idea. You would be able to determine that you can do something better because you are passionate enough about it.
Passion is a factor to success; it is a form of energy and driving source for you to be successful. In order to fully succeed, you need to have passion and observation. See and understand what the people want for the next phase of life within that area or aspect. If there is a thing that you want to do, do it well; do not go about doing things or developing them half-heartedly, as you would get nowhere like that.
Survival and Your Target Group
You should not find a cookie cutter target group and develop your product that way. Think about the survival of your product; will it survive, how will it do so, and under what circumstances will it appeal to people, or which groups of people will enjoy it? If there is a trend in the elements which people enjoy, and appeal to a substantial amount of people, and such features are seen in your product, then it is viable. But you need to constantly improve it to survive, and do so via feedback.
You cannot just rely on feedback forms. You need to constantly observe their behaviour; observe the trends and see what the people need. Look at your customers, their habits, behavioural change, preference, how they think they want to spend their time; understand your market trends through observation. Trends constantly change, and if you do not follow the trend, your business will face a big challenge in surviving. Change and development in the world is always there, thus you need to adopt to the change to best serve your customers, instead of staying stagnant and stubborn in product development.
Markets will always be crowded: when there is money to be made, people will go there. But change is inevitable; as such, there will always be changes in the market’s demands, and somewhere along the way, the market will open up and give you an opportunity. Disruptors are a form of change, all you need to do to cause a change or flow with that change is to observe the trends.
There is always a different thing that you can develop to cater to different people. You need to have the integration of the customers into your service to better cater to them. Any market can be disrupted by you; it depends on the depth you dive into, instead of just scratching the surface with the product you deliver.
At the end of the day, observation is always the key. It is not always about knowledge you have beforehand. It is about observing what you want to do, and developing a product based on your belief. You just need to think through and work out what you want to do: no one will invest in 'trial and error'.
Watch the entire Arcadier Inspire Summit talk by Edmond Ip here