From a market opportunity to a product that makes people happy

Whether you’re developing a product, launching one, finding ways to evolve or make it more competitive, identifying market opportunities is fundamental in knowing what you can leverage, and how you can continue growing your business.

With your team, identify what goals you want to pursue, and be realistic about it: Do you want to better solve the problems with new features you could add? Lower turn-over rate and retain customers/users? Grow awareness of your brand?

Once you’re clear on the goals you want to pursue, here are a few ways you can identify market opportunities:

Speak and listen to prospects and customers you’ve lost

Like any entrepreneur or business, much of your focus is put into customers who decide to work with you. Part of that focus can actually be put into communicating with potential customers you’ve lost, and understanding why they wanted to work with you, and why they chose not to. This gives you a lot of insight on what more of our market is looking for, and areas you can improve or make obvious. It’s the same as receiving positive and negative feedback - “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest sources of learning and improvement”⁠.

Speak and listen to customers you’ve won

Just because your customers have decided to work with you or use your product, does not mean it can’t be better - it can ALWAYS be better, products are just never “finished”. Build relations with your customers, and make them see their input matters, it could be the very thing that helps you find your next company direction! Send a Whatsapp message, pick up the phone or set up some calls to just touch base on how they’re doing, or to purely to ask for their feedback.

Ask questions like: 

Take a (good) peek at your competitors

And no, there is no such thing as “we don’t have competitors”! Until your company is as monopolized as Meta or Google, you’ll likely have many competitors who have just been solving the problems you want to in other ways (what were your customers using before they found you?). Study your competitors, look for their strengths and see if you can fill their weaknesses.

Here are a few things to think about:

Understand your market well

Effective market research does not just mean looking at customers you’ve won and lost and your competitors. Market research is truly looking at your market in a bigger picture, to find how much opportunity your product or company has. Look at how big your market actually is, if the market is growing, where the trends are, tightness of competition geographically, etc. 

Discover other industries and indirect opportunities

Did you know that the Guinness World Records was created by the same company as Guinness Beer? Guinness created the world records so people could have things to talk about - while drinking beer! It’s the same as Michelin Tires and Michelin stars, they wanted you to travel with their tires, to outstanding food experiences. If your current company or product models are limiting you, consider looking at creative and indirect ways to capture your market. 

Play with your environmental factors

Business environmental factors can be split into 6 different categories: Technological Developments, Scientific Advancements, Government Regulations, Trade Policies, Social and Cultural Norms and Economic Shifts. Depending where you are or the industry you’re pursuing, you can play to these environmental factors creatively as well. Airbnb for example, looked at the trend of the Shared Economy as a growing part of Social Norms, and introduced renting host’s houses.

Explore foreign markets

Your potential audience in another country can also bring you untapped opportunities - the concept of Food Deliveries for example might not be as spread in other countries. Opening up to foreign markets can be a big deal for your company’s development, so think it through and ask questions like:

No matter which stage in business you are or industry, there are many market opportunities you can tap into and be creative with! Be exhaustive in ways of exploring it because it might just be the new crown jewel direction for your company or product.

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