Everyone dreams of finding a gap in the market, for many of us the term ‘Gap in the market’ seems to be a myth. It can be hard to offer something completely new and different to what is already available on the market, that has become even harder with the technological age we are now part of. There seems to be something for everyone now, but that does not mean that there is no hope in finding the Holy Grail that is a gap in the market. This article will give you some tips to point you in the right direction and make it easier to identify any possible unexploited gaps.
What services or goods do your business offer? Is this an existing need in your market? Using market research can help you identify the current trends for your target audience, it does to be said that catering for your target audience needs are essential. Through this you can gain a better understanding and that can help you identify any gaps in the market.
Now it’s time to look into the market. A great way to find a gap is too look around the globe, if you look at markets across the world you may be able to find something which is new and not offered in your locale. Potential ways to find a gap in the market can be identified in local markets in other parts of the world by looking at a similar business to yours and finding out if they found anything which you can also exploit. An example of finding a gap can be the increasing influence of Japanese culture in the UK and US. I can speak from experience in witnessing the growth of the niche market during my time at school and university. Either do it first, or do it better.
Is your business offering something which is new and exclusive to you? Use this as an opportunity to deliver market reach and take a look at your competition and understand what their strengths and weaknesses are, doing a SWOT analysis can help with this. A SWOT analysis looks at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of your market and can help you understand yourself and your competition better. Is there something that is particularly weak among everyone in your market? Then concentrate on turning that weakness into a strength.
Try to make sure that you don’t fall in the trap of thinking safely, take a risk and think outside of the box. Thinking of something different and unique can be time consuming but don’t view it as waste of time, all it takes is one idea which can snowball and end up been the thing that takes you and your business to a whole new level.
Time and people cost money wherever you are. However, in business it is sometimes forgotten that mistakes also cost money. Sometimes a lot more than you might expect. There have been colossal mistakes made in the last 10 years, not least some of AOL’s amazing expenditure on doomed websites like Bebo. I would love to meet the man who thought that was a good idea! I have always been taught that it is important to learn from your mistakes, ignore them are your peril. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. So what can we learn from our own mistakes and also the more publicised mistakes made by the huge TNC’s? Because believe it or not, those mistakes are not just applicable to a company with a turnover in the billions. Mistakes in business are often applicable to everyone, whether you be the CEO of a global empire, a Manager in an SME or someone with an idea looking to make it a reality in the volatile world of start-ups.
Let us take AOL’s purchase of Bebo as an example. I genuinely find this one of the most astounding purchases I have ever seen. If you don’t know who they were, Bebo was one of the early social media platforms which competed with now defunct giant MySpace. Bebo was very successful until Facebook came along and dominated the market. The point is that AOL purchased Bebo after Facebook had made it big and Bebo was on the slippery slope to nothingness. I can imagine this being signed off by board members of AOL who are 50 years old or more, with absolutely no idea about social media or popular culture (no offense intended). “This Bebo thing sounds big, we should buy it”. When all they had to do was ask anybody between the ages of 15 and 25. They would have told the oldies that there had been a mass overnight transit of Bebo users……to Facebook. So what is the lesson to be learnt here? Except for the fact that money always equal sense? The lesson is to know your market. Market research is crucial when promoting or producing any kind of product or service. What do the people who would use this product or service actually think? Are they going to buy or use it, or is there another company that is doing it better and cooler than you? This information is so crucial in avoiding colossal mistakes like AOL did. Ask the consumers their opinions, don’t assume that if you like an idea that everyone else will. All you have to do is fill in the criteria that you want answered online and they use their database to collect the research.
The weird thing about AOL was that I can only presume they would have done some sort of research. I mean come one! They spent nearly a billion US Dollars! Maybe the headquarters of AOL likes to do things by gut feel instead of facts and statistics. I can only imagine. My advice would be not rely entirely on your ‘feel’ and to be the prudent one. Remember that mistakes cost money, much more than being sensible.