Mind the gap

One of the surveys I have conducted revealed that the top three motivators for people starting their own business were flexibility, fulfilment and exploiting a gap in the market. Having looked at the first two motivators before, I thought I’d turn my attention to the third.

Exploiting a gap in the market is a top motivator for people who have seen an opportunity. However, it is an important factor even if you have different motives.

For some it’s a starting point – they’ve seen a gap and want to build a business which fills it. Others are motivated to start their own business by a desire for freedom, flexibility and more control over their future – they know they want to start out on their own but need to find a gap for them.

For those in the second group, patience is required as genuine gaps don’t arise often. For those in the first group, urgency is the order of the day – the need to act on the gap you’ve identified may well dictate the timing of your transition.

It is worth remembering that a gap in the market is exactly that – an opportunity in a current market, usually doing something existing either better or differently. Rarely is an entirely new market created.

Innovation is a word that gets banded around frequently these days, but not many businesses are truly innovative. That being so, research is key. Though you have seen a gap, the more research into potential competitors (the people doing what you intend to do better or differently) the more you can exploit it.

You’re not looking to mimic or copy other businesses, but to investigate their systems and processes. You’re looking to see what they do well and, if appropriate, to adopt it but also to fill gaps they have left. Can you take their starting point, improve on their patterns and create better systems?

You also need to have one eye on the future. The market moves and some gaps can be fleeting. The best way to ensure that you’re still doing things better or differently is to invest in people and training as your business grows.

New knowledge and skills plug gaps in your own company, prevent others capitalising on your shortcomings the way you may have on those of others. Finding and hiring the right people allows you to continue to move in the right direction, alert to new gaps when and where they appear.

With initial inspiration, thorough research and analysis, sufficient confidence to do things differently, and a willingness to continue seeking out the gaps and opportunities, exploiting a gap in the market can not only be a motivator for starting a business but an achievable reality.

Posted in: Entrepreneurship

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