Like every other current or prospective entrepreneur, you've likely already read far too many blog posts discussing all the trends "experts" predict will impact your startup success in 2019.
Well, this isn't one of those posts.
It's not that trying to get a handle on industry trends is a waste of time or that you can't potentially benefit by researching that information. In fact, as long as you trust the source and don't get caught up in biased reporting, you should definitely stay up to date on what's going on in the larger business community and your own industrial niche, and let that information affect your decisions going forward.
However, there's another side to the entire trends topic that's always so saturated this time of year. It can sometimes overshadow the far more important aspects of starting and running a successful business, distracting and even misleading some entrepreneurs to the detriment of their startup success.
So, with that balanced view in mind, let's take a look at some commonly reported "trends" that you may need to ignore as 2019 progresses.
Industries that are "dead" or "on fire"
It's incredibly common for articles about business trends to boldly call out entire industries or business sectors as dead or dying while insisting others are set to explode. Like recommendations to buy and sell stock, these published "trends" can easily push prospective business owners toward or away from these industries based on bold predictions and often limited research.
Often, there's some truth to these predictions, and looking into the details can be beneficial, especially if you're already pursuing a business concept related to one or more of the sectors under discussion. Where it gets dangerous, though, is in taking these predicted trends as gospel and either halting plans or diving headfirst into a startup without fully evaluating the validity and accuracy of the prediction.
As an example, this 2019 trends article boldly proclaims that IoT is fading away. Now, if you have a spectacular, unique and innovative concept for an IoT product, service or app, you might read that prediction and assume you've already missed the boat. This could lead you to devalue your concept, lose steam on funding or development, or scrap the idea altogether. In reality, even if the basis of the article's prediction is sound, no industry is ever completely dead. There's no way a truly fantastic IoT concept that solves existing market problems can be called a guaranteed failure based on predictions and trends alone.
If you research the trend, objectively evaluate the situation, and decide your startup concept can and should still succeed, then you should pursue it, regardless of what the experts say.
Likewise, the prediction that a given industry is set to blow up shouldn't instantly chart your startup's course. Whether it means you feel obligated to develop a concept within a trending industry, or to unnaturally shoehorn your existing startup concept into it, you're bound to waste time, effort and money on what is likely to be misdirection.
What investors are currently flocking to or ignoring
The message here is very similar to the point made above, so let's not belabor it, but it's important to note that fear of missing out on necessary funding based on nothing more than a timing glitch can keep founders up at night. Realistically, however, it's an empty threat.
Any angel investors, venture capitalists or investment groups that make their decisions based on the same articles you're reading are likely not worth your time and effort. You want investors who are interested in evaluating your startup's worthiness based solely on your concept, roadmap and potential. Of course, they'll want to evaluate all that through the lens of what the market is doing, but no reputable investor is going to pass on a potential unicorn based on one "expert" opinion about what might happen over the next 12 months.
In conclusion, remember this: Successful startups and profitable businesses are built on good ideas that are executed well. They're built on unique and effective solutions to real problems customers face. So, if you're working on a business idea that checks all the right boxes except for the fact that it bucks some published trend, then you're probably best off ignoring that trend and moving forward.