A Cornwall surfer came up with an idea to make a surf helmet, which he initially used himself. He began to look for gaps in the market and realised that he should approach the Royal National Lifeboat Institute. He eventually ended up making 10 different versions of helmets for the Sea Rescue Institute with add-ons such as cameras, tortures and communication equipment. The entrepreneur has also designed and developed a helmet for watercraft racing.
This is a clear example of how a surfer with an entrepreneurial flair found a gap in three different areas for a protective helmet. Granted, all were related in the oceangoing arena including surfing, sea rescue and watercraft racing. It’s not always that easy for entrepreneurs would-be entrepreneurs to spot a gap in the market. You might drive yourself virtually crazy looking for a gap in the market when you don’t know what to look for and never received any teaching on how to go about it.
Here are seven points to consider when you are trying to identify gaps in a market:
1 Listen to customers. This doesn’t mean that these have to be your customers. You could be in any retail store or an online store and identify a gap by just listening and observing what other people want.
2 Watch competitors. By carefully analysing competitors perhaps in your local market you may be able to discover something that they are not offering. It might pay you to do a careful analysis of their strengths and weaknesses and pay attention to what they are not offering.
3 Keep up with legislation. Legislation can be a double edge sword because it can harm your business but it also can be a source for opportunity. Think about how new legislation requires the need for training such as in the health and safety field or human resources area. Even a change in liquor laws for motorists could mean an increase in business for safe cabs.
4 Trend watching. Become a trend spotter whether in the consumer or business-to-business markets. If you, for example, have an interest in the health field and spot a new trend in weight loss you may be able to support supply products, services, training and information.
5 Providing product or service in a completely different way. Think about how videos have been traditionally provided through retail stores. Some businesses saw the gap to provide videos by post and subsequently provide videos on-line such as through Netflix. Distribution, packaging, marketing and aftermarket service and guarantees all provide possible gaps.
6 Change the service standard. Some customers may want quick standard service while others want high-quality service. You may be able to spot a gap in the middle where you can provide high quality service quickly, for example. With the sometimes pathetic level of service provided by larger companies, entrepreneurs may find opportunities to do things better and cheaper.
7 Look for what isn’t being done. Some products come was no guarantees. What if you provided the guarantee? Instead of offering a consulting service, couldn’t you perhaps turn your business model into a subscription-only service? Some entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson have built large businesses by merely improving the level of service provided to customers. It’s something not being done in airlines, motor vehicle companies, supermarkets and banks, for example.
How are you going to go about finding a gap in the market? What first steps will you take? If you sit back and do nothing, opportunity won’t come to you. Unfortunately, you need to put in the hard work and long hours as any entrepreneur would to go find your gap in the market. Each time you do, you will be pushing yourself forward into coming closer to finding a possible opportunity.
If you want to help in finding your gap in the market check my website for the “Breakthrough Ideas” resources.