Running a business can be exhausting—especially when you feel that you’re continually in hand-to-hand combat with the competition. There’s a constant race to beat their price, match their ingenuity and keep the attention of the customers you’re contending for.
It doesn’t have to be this stressful; in fact, you can work to establish a monopoly in your market by following this simple rule:
Fill the Gap
When you find a gap in current service, you can provide exactly what your ideal customers want (and haven’t been getting), whilst operating in the freedom of knowing that you’ve got an edge. With that freedom, you can feel more spontaneous, more adept in creativity, and bask in the distinction of being different from all the others.
How can you find a gap that’s worth filling?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Listen to your ideal customers. Your ideal customers are those people who have the problem you’re promising to solve, who will appreciate what you do, and who will gladly pay you what you’re worth. They can be current customers or consumers whom you hope to make your customers. Get involved in chat rooms, social media groups, networking platforms and other places where these people speak freely about the current products and services they’re buying. There, they will talk openly about what is disappointing them. They will make suggestions (sometimes indirect) about how companies can improve. These are the tidbits of information you can use to create something that fills a gap they’ve been experiencing…and you will be rewarded not only with their business, but with their word-of-mouth advertising.
- Identify your competitors’ weaknesses. Weaknesses are like noses: everybody’s got one. And it’s up to you to identify these limitations so you can outshine your competitors and gain the attention of your ideal customers. Make a list of every major (and growing minor) competitor. Look into what people are saying about them…and what they’re saying about themselves. List each one’s major weakness, and look for commonalities among all competitors. Now, choose the biggest weakness shared by all or most of them and focus on making that your strength. Now, if that thing is already your strength, good for you—get going. If it’s not, ask yourself, honestly, if you love doing that thing enough to make it your brand’s selling point. If not, move onto the next most common weakness. There’s no point in doing anything you don’t love.
- Name the ways in which your USP directly conflicts with theirs. Your USP is your Unique Selling Proposition, and it’s the thing that makes your brand distinctive in the market. It’s the thing you have used (or will use) to position your brand in the market, so that it’s identifiable and discernible from the rest. In what specific way does your USP conflict with what’s already available in your industry? What makes it worth a second look because it’s so different, so unexpected? And what takes people by surprise because they think ‘That just can’t be’? If your brand is that different already (which I highly advise striving for), then you have a ready-made gap-filling machine. You simply need to get the word out about how it can meet needs unlike anything that’s currently available.
- Tackle age-old industry problems. Every industry has difficulties that have been prevalent for years…centuries even. Banks were never open early enough or late enough. Deliciously sweet foods were never healthful enough. Taxi cabs were never easy to hail or available in rural areas. Now, ATMs and extended bank hours, innovative recipes for sweets, and Uber are sweeping their respective markets. Entrepreneurs with open minds and the nerve to try something different saw complaints (i.e. gaps) and made their moves…and you can see just how well they’re doing.
- Tackle problems that are yet-to-be-recognised. Other gaps aren’t as noticeable as ‘banker’s hours.’ The pain of these lesser-known gaps is only felt by the few who are chest-deep in the industry; and yet, their discomfort is a precursor to what will be. You can see the problem beginning to balloon…to make its way into more and more lives, and even if the market majority doesn’t feel the gap yet, you know it’s about to become an issue. Now is the time to starting innovating. Now is the time to get creative about how you can fill this gap before it becomes a gaping hole that your competitors can see as well—because by then, it may be too late.
Filling a gap is something that makes sense to all of us, instinctively. And yet, we often forget the importance of it. Instead, we focus on doing everything the competition is doing, in order to ‘keep up’—when in fact, we’re just keeping ourselves behind.
Use the tips I’ve shared above to start thinking about how you can fill gaps in your market, so you can be the go-to brand in your industry. Then, when you’re ready for more, click here to learn more about the B.R.A.N.D. Building Bootcamp, a full-day, fully immersive branding experience that will teach you the three strategies I used to take my brand from £0 to £18,000 per month in just 12 weeks.