If you can’t tell a fad from a trend, you probably tend to shy away from new ideas when you really should be pushing the envelope to keep your business on the cutting edge. You don’t need to change your business every time you hear about a new trend; however, you do need to know when you should and should not react. First, know that trends and fads are not the same thing. Fads have short shelf lives and you can make money from capitalizing on them, but you also have to know when to get out. Trends take many forms and can involve business practices, new technology, consumer behaviors, new demographics with buying power, or new business opportunities. Keeping on top of both trends and fads is all about paying attention and participating in the conversation. Know what people are watching on TV, what books they’re reading, what movies they’re going to. Look at Census data, demographic studies and subscribe to trend newsletters.