Businesses create value by meeting the needs of their customers. But they have to be able to discover these needs in the first place. And not everyone is able to do so.
Market gaps are the spaces in the market that haven’t been filled by existing service providers. It’s in these spaces that business opportunities exist. Companies can exploit them by creating solutions, in the form of products and services, which fill the need gaps.
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In economies with some degree of market freedom, the most successful businesses tend to be those that find and fill a gap in a specific market (or markets). There may be other factors at play too, but this one is perhaps the most basic.
How can you spot gaps in the market that you can take advantage of as a small business? Here are a few answers you can use.
1. Find Out What Potential Customers Want
This is one of the more obvious ways to learn where the gaps are. But it’s not as widely used as it ought to be.
It’s important for businesspeople to talk to their potential customers about their pain points, so they know what pressing needs they can satisfy. If there are people among your close friends or relatives who fit the profile of your ideal buyer, you may ask them what problems they’re facing, and what they want in a solution.
Do this with others who may not necessarily be close to you. If you want a larger pool of responses to work with, you could conduct polls and administer questionnaires as well. When you’re done with this, go through the feedback, derive common themes that run through, and weave a solution from them.
2. Watch the Trends
This isn’t just about keeping you updated. It’s more about trying to see where things are headed, what the future could look like in a particular market or aspect of living for people.
For instance, you may notice that there’s an increase in video content consumption in Nigeria. If it’s clear that video will become the dominant form of content in the next three years, you may begin planning for a video content marketing agency to help small businesses reach their clients in the next couple of years.
3. Jump on Legislative or Policy Changes
If you’ve lived in Nigeria long enough, you’ll know how policy revisions and regulatory changes can make or break entire industries. But instead of watching these changes happen with fear and trembling, why not explore the opportunities that they could trigger?
Here’s an example. With the tax authorities casting their nets over wider swathes of the country’s population, there’s an opportunity for new tax consultancies that can serve individuals and smaller businesses that are concerned about remaining on the right side of the tax laws.
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4. Find Global Solutions to Local Problems
You could study a product or service that solves a problem in another country, and use them to solve similar problems here in Nigeria. Nigeria’s fintech startups, modern waste management ventures, and online print shops are just some of the examples of this that have succeeded in Nigeria in recent times.
Of course, you will have to adapt those solutions to fit with local reality. They seldom achieve the desired result if they’re just imported into Nigeria’s unique terrain.
5. Examine Complimentary Products
Let’s say you run a shoe store. You could add shoe polish to your shelves if you observe that it’s not sold anywhere close by. Remind your customers that you sell shoe polish as well, and have them displayed prominently. It’s the sort of product combination that sticks in people’s minds; they’re not very likely to forget you when they need to pick up a new polish for their suede shoes or slip-ons.
There are many ways to discover market gaps. We have discussed five that you can begin to apply immediately. Hopefully, they will help you find new opportunities for business growth.
Featured image source: Video Hive
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