How To Spot A Gap In The Market

Spotting a gap in the market is how we all think about business success. This is one of the classic key success factors in business, and often the way to have a successful business is to spot a gap in the market.

Why you need to spot a gap in the market

Most of the businesses I see are very similar to other businesses, and often my starting point is to find out what that business does (or can do) which makes them remarkable.

A business based where someone has spotted a gap in the market should automatically be remarkable. They’ve been able to see something they can provide which no one else does.

gap in the market

They might have found something new to provide; Rubik’s Cube, kids’ scooters, a piece of the moon are all examples of these gap exploiters.

You can see some of the hot areas where there are gaps in the market just now in this article. To get some more ideas on how to find your gap in the market, just pop your email address in the box on the right to get my list of 52 ways to find your gap in the market.

A gap in the market business model

Or the gap in the market might be providing a product or service in a completely different way.

LoveFilm rented DVDs, but they captured the market by sending them through the post, rather than using the video shop model, adding convenience and a huge list to choose from.

And now they’re out of date, because others came in quickly to deliver films instantly by streaming, so Netflix, Mubi and  Amazon have taken over this space in different ways.

Gumtree provide the classified ads which local papers have made money from for centuries, but they’ve changed the model by making 99% of the ads free and putting it all online.

new business ideas collection

Tom Peters calls this “creative swiping”, where you take an idea from someone else, and give it a good twist to make into something new. Here’s my take on creative swiping.

Copying someone else’s gap in the market

The easiest way to find your gap in the market is to copy someone else.

LoveFilm copied the original US Netflix, and Gumtree copied Craigslist and transferred these business models from the US to the UK.

You could research what other people are doing in different countries (or other cities in the UK) and work out what gap you might be able to fill where you are.

Ideally, you want to do this before whatever you’re copying has been widely written about, otherwise, you’ll find a bunch of other people who are all doing the same thing, all launching at the same time as you, and all aiming at the same gap in the market.

Use trends to find your gap in the market

You can find some amazing ideas by absorbing yourself in different trends in business thinking and what’s happening in particular markets. The world is moving pretty rapidly, and technology and economic forces are very fluid. The trick here is to research into certain areas, especially those which are not altogether obvious.

gap in the market

I’ve written another article about where the current gaps in the market are right now – you might want to read this one to get up to date information about what’s hot right now. That article is here…

If you have some knowledge in a particular area already, that’s good, but you don’t necessarily need to be a programmer to understand what’s happening in online technology.

You can always hire programmers later. In fact, it can be better if you don’t have any industry knowledge as you won’t have any preconceptions and blind spots.

One of my recent clients identified a gap in the market for a particular kind of product. Once she was certain that there was a viable business, she bought 2 days per week of consultancy time from someone who was already very established in that industry.

That way, she was able to tap into a deep level of knowledge about suppliers, materials, manufacturing processes, without having to learn all this stuff from scratch.

Where To Get Started

You might think about:


Get my guide to help you find your gap in the market

I’ve written a guide with 52 ideas to help you find your gap in the market and start thinking about how you can use this to build a great business or to add something to your existing business.

I’m pretty sure that it will get you thinking about possible gaps in the market, and how you could address these and make some good money in the process.

You may also want to read

Where are the gaps in the market

Creative Swiping

Photo credits – thanks to Flickr members, Herman Turnip (not his real name) Rajeev, Robert Couse-Baker, Cheryl Brind


52 ways to find your gap in the market

It's not easy to find the right gap in the market for your next business. That's why I've written this free guide to how to identify a gap in the market, with lots of ideas for areas where you can build a viable business
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