There are a lot of trend spotting sites out there, but many are focused on short term fads. So what about trends that a small business can take advantage of ? How do you spot trends early enough to identify that next big product line, stay ahead of competitors, or anticipate your customers' changing needs before they do? And how do you make sure you are not too early -- so that you don't have to spend years educating the public before they finally buy, or generating interest for something that is "way out there"? Recently in a newsletter article for SitePal, I gave some of my inside secrets for practical trend spotting. For instance, I talk about how I read two dozen magazines each month -- and how that takes a lot less time than you think: But you say, "Anita, I'm running a business. I don't have time to read over 2 dozen magazines." Let me share a little secret: they repealed the law that says you have to read a magazine cover to cover. The table of contents is my favorite page in any magazine. The article appears in the Ask the Expert column of the SitePal newsletter along with my custom avatar (talking character). The newsletter also demonstrates yet another way to use a SitePal character: to accompany an article. Read: Anticipating what Your Customers Need Before They Do -- How to Spot Trends.