How to Identify a Gap in the Market

Find a Gap in the MarketIt’s every business owner’s dream to find a good market niche that isn’t already being served by their competitors.

So, how do you go about it?

It can be easier than you think.  Here are a few easy steps you can follow.

1.  What is happening overseas?

How long since you last took a look to see what overseas companies like yours are doing?

Google should be able to help you find similar businesses in your sector; then surf the net and see what lucrative gaps in the market they have found.  Often that same niche exists locally and their ideas can easily be translated and adapted to your own local conditions.

2.  What are your customers’ needs?

Don’t just guess.  My clients are regularly surprised by the answers they receive when I encourage them to survey their customers.  You can ask your customers personally, or send them an email survey.

A simple well-worded survey could get you thinking differently about your business.  The responses could be surprising and can often identify a gap in the market that you hadn’t previously considered.

3.  Is there a segment that I can specialise in?

So many businesses try to serve everyone, yet marketing research continually teaches us that it is better to pick a small segment of the market, then specialise in catering to it. You need to connect with your target market in some way.  Afterall, if you are talking to everyone then everyone might just think you are talking to someone else.

Consider… Do you have some expertise in a certain area?  Is there an market your competitors are not competing in? Consider which industries are growing faster than others.

It sometimes feels counter-intuitive to specialise, but research shows that by specialising you will be more successful… and even better, specialists can usually charge more.

4.  How would a brand new business break into this market?

If you were a brand new business, or if McDonalds or Disney were to take over a company like yours, what do you think they would do to stand out from the crowd?  And how they would beat businesses like yours?  Thinking like a new arrival or a multinational can often help you think in fresh ways and enable you to see things differently.

5.  What do your competitors NOT do?

Take a look at what your competitors don’t do, or what they do badly.  Go on, criticise them as much as you can.  And a bit more… Now take a look at yourself and think about what you don’t do, or don’t do well.  Is there a theme emerging, if there isn’t then perhaps you haven’t been critical enough.  You can always get some of your associates or friends to have their say too.  Thinking about what is missing or what is poor about a service can often open up new ideas.

6. Think differently

Most importantly, to identify a gap in the market you have to think differently.  But be careful you don’t write off this advice because haven’t got time… you could be missing out on a very lucrative opportunity.

And check out my next blog to see how you can find time for thinking.

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