Gaps in the market are what unicorns are made of. Not the white sparkling horse spouting rainbows but billion-dollar startups. Finding that magical gap in the market is the opportunity that entrepreneurs dream of. It’s an opportunity to innovate with an existing business or product or an opportunity to create a completely new solution.
Looking for gaps in the market haze
Gaps seldom fall into your lap. They need to be looked for or they need to be felt, to be experienced, e.g. the inconvenience of queues at banks versus the solution: banking apps. Let’s look at some ways of uncovering those goldmine gaps. Hopefully, this article will be part of many inspirational sources you leverage to distil that perfect gap solution – and change the projection of your career forever.
From trends to tweaking to choosing your problem – you can look at existing scenarios or be completely disruptive.
Gaps need innovation
Behind every success or growth milestone, there is innovation. Fresh eyes, fresh approaches and detachment from legacies drive success and keep competitors in your shadow.
Launching a one-of-a-kind idea and growing a company from it does not mean it will always maintain that title. The market catches up, or the market moves and demands change. This requires entrepreneurs to be agile and observant; else they will lose their competitive edge to competitors or complacency.
Observing trends and new releases
Trends are an obvious place to start as that is the market’s way of telling suppliers what they want. You will find a rich resource of bright, new and germane ideas as the global markets gallop into new directions, spewing dust clouds of trends.
Do you remember the days before selfie sticks? The selfie trend exploded worldwide, and someone noted the complaint about arms not being long enough. Enter selfie sticks and massive sales volumes of them. A camera (smart phone) at the end of a stick must have sounded crazy at first. So be open to receiving new concepts and grab them from the air as they fly by.
New releases – Just because a product is new on the market doesn’t mean it comes with all problems solved. Photography via the use of drones is becoming a firm favourite of professionals and amateurs. As more users come on board, they will find innovative ways of using this new product, for as they test the limits of its current boundaries, opportunities will open up. You’re not going to disrupt the market with an add-on to a drone, but you could still launch a big value-add. Consider renting out the equipment or offer a unique service and repair solution. Break the idea box down and look further.
When you observe those new ideas, how are you capturing them? On random bits of paper, or is there a system in place?
The global village at home
Being a digital nomad, you are probably travelling. In one of your destination cities, you could stumble across a fantastic idea that you wish was available back home. Who would have thought that gelato from Italy would find its way around the globe like it has – from the tip of Africa to Reykjavik in Iceland.
Look past the borders of your city, country or continent and seek inspiration from watching what the global village is doing.
If you are travelling, look at what other companies excel at in different countries and investigate why they are succeeding. Would it be feasible to replicate a business like theirs? Is it pertinent to your home context, and is there infrastructure available in your country to enable the idea?
Some of the biggest ideas in the market, like online sales and advertising classifieds, were ‘borrowed’ ideas from other countries.
There is a German startup incubator that uses this approach as its business model. Their financial reports reveal the repeated earnings of billions of dollars annually. How? They research global companies that are market leaders. Next, they copy the business model without breaking the law. Look internationally and you might find the portal to your unicorn stable.
Tweaking and twisting
Building on the theme of looking elsewhere for existing ideas supports the ethos that you do not have to have an original concept but a unique concept. Unique is what innovation is about, not original.
Find an idea already out there, do some tweaking and twisting, create your unique concept, and own it. We all know about a certain global hail-ride company that looked at an existing concept, tweaked it and thoroughly owned it. The idea of improving on paid transport for individuals was not on most peoples’ minds. They didn’t know they needed it. Now hailing a taxi via an app is de rigueur, tracking the taxi and time estimations are expected, and the brand is a household word. The business has not only done well in its local country but internationally as well.
That is a perfectly leveraged gap in the market.
Listen and act
When your head is swimming with ideas or you are running a company and juggling a to-do list from hell, taking time to stop and listen is not something you want to do. It could, however, be the source of some unicorn nuggets.
Your end-users will always give feedback – some of it compliments, some are complaints, and some are wishlist comments. The complaints and wishlist comments are where the nuggets hide. Be proactive, go out (physically or digitally) and request feedback from clients. Don’t rely only on the wishlist comments sent to you; ask for more ideas on how your product or service could be better. You could find an inspiring innovation in a humble comment from an end-user.
It might even be feedback left on a competitor’s social media. Consumers are demanding and know what they want. They might not spell it out in a blueprint design for your new business idea, but their discomfort or ‘want’ will be a neon light in the mist. Your innovation will turn it into a dazzling product.
Arrive at the thought precipice with an open mind and inspiration will find you. The markets are heaving with untapped ideas and new channels of business ideas to investigate.
Remember, when the possibility of a great idea comes into your sightline, trap it and add it to your database system of ideas. Develop it, test it and take a chance – your enterprise’s success depends on it.
Market gaps are important for a business’s longevity and growth.
Assess the competition and nail your USP
Do you know who the biggest competition to your brand in the market is? We hope you answered yes. Do you know what they are offering? Yes, again, of course.
What have you done to differentiate your brand from theirs? What is your USP?
Does your service (or product) give the consumer more value? Or a better customer experience (UX)? Do your slick processes make your brand more convenient?
Be certain that you don’t only focus on gaining knowledge on competitors but that you create a clear differentiation from them. This will give you a stronger hold of your market share and give you a clearer view of any gaps that might evolve.
Ask for options from third parties and consider getting feedback from the competition’s clients. Also, contact the clients that nearly bought from you but didn’t. What doubt, convenience or need of theirs was not addressed. Yes, this will take time.
What are the Gen Zers saying?
Today, some teenagers are becoming business innovators and CEOs of their own companies. They are speaking at business tech conferences and giving other Gen Zers startup advice.
That is because they are spotting market gaps and are then throwing themselves into researching the gap. They look for everything they can possibly find on Google, leverage their network, contact specialists, and then own the idea.
Gen Zers are perfectly positioned to spot the future’s challenges and are deeply immersed in the exponential technological disruption.