When it comes to running a business most would think that the last thing you want to do is follow trends. Isn’t that the point of effective branding – to stand out? Of course, you want your business to be unique so that people ultimately choose you over the competition. But there are times when it’s ok to follow.

You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Learning when to follow the lead of others in business can be just as beneficial as paving your own way. This doesn’t mean copy or imitate, but rather attempt to make life easier by innovating what you can, and taking hints from others when necessary.

One example of this is when it comes to free branding resources. As small businesses grow in number, certain tools become more and more popular that save business owners time and money. This occurs commonly in visual branding, or how your business or brand comes across visually. Visual marketing material can be expensive so as of recent, there are numerous graphic design websites and apps that allow you to create your own branding and marketing visuals to promote your business. In this case, it doesn’t matter if everyone is using them, because often you can create custom designs tailored to your brand.

Another example of following trends can be seen when it comes to networking. It seems as if everywhere you look there’s a networking event. This is a good thing! Every event is an opportunity for you to connect with beneficial people, get sharper at presenting yourself and your business, and possibly gain business. There is nothing wrong with following this trend because generally, every event is different and the more people that follow this trend, the more beneficial it’ll be!

In theory, you always want to be as original as possible when it comes to your business, but running a business is hard enough, so you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t take advantage of the things others are doing to grow and run their businesses without compromising the quality. Use discretion when it comes to following trends, but don’t eliminate them all together.