So, how can I find a niche in the market that I can exploit?
For instance, those from HiSmile have found their own niche, healthcare - especially when it comes to teeth whitening.
This is just a random thought framework, but hopefully it helps you:
I think there are horizontal gap's (niches) and vertical gaps. Horizontal gaps are what I think most people refer to as gaps. Meaning that a component of a service isn't covered, or there's a market need for a solution that isn't explicitly offered by another company.
Horizontal gap example: We've got auto service centers all over the U.S., but most don't work overnight or off-hours (when people who can afford cars have time to get theirs serviced). So there's a horizontal gap in that while their are service centers, they don't offer the service people really need (completely): "fix my car when I'm free to bring it to you." This is a horizontal gap.
Vertical gaps are different. This is where the services offered are exactly the same, but the pain points they address are presented differently. I'm from the Social Media space so this is what I'm most familiar with: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook/Instagram. They offer different "services" but at a foundational level offer the same thing: a way to consume other people's content - be it shared content, profile content, engaged content etc. I'm certainly not implying that their apps are all the same - they aren't. But foundationally they all directly overlap: content feed, profiles, contacts.
I think they each exploit a different vertical gap though. LinkedIn clearly attacks professional - and makes most of its money via recruiting/job ads. Facebook has gone after the personal, engaging users by showing them their friends' stuff, and has figured out a great way to leverage this data to drive interest in all kinds of ads (way to go FB). Twitter is still working on the monetization part, but made it REALLY easy for anyone to reach an insane amount of people. So even though the horizontal niche is the same: social networking (online), each is positioned for a different vertical piece of the same pie.
Note: Facebook just launched a jobs platform, they're trying to expand into LinkedIn's space a bit. Just more evidence that their overlap is so complete.
Bringing this back to your question: don't think so much about finding a niche, think about how you can create the most value. What process can you make WAY easier, or cheaper, or faster, etc. How can you create value that's worth either time or money from someone?
Once you've figured that out, ask if there are other services that do the same thing. If there are, how are they vertically positioned? Is there a bigger piece of the market they're missing out on? Is there a use case they're not sharing with prospective customers?
If they're different, and there's no overlap, you've got something brand new to play with. Maybe think about all the possible vertical niches you could tackle, and pick a path that gets you into the largest one first, but accounts for growth into others (to maximize your long-range value).
Let me know if this makes sense! Hope it's helpful.
I went to an entrepreneurial challenge bootcamp at NYU this past weekend. In it we discussed "cliches" and what you can disrupt. For example, interaction cliches - Zappos, Square, Peloton challenged certain assumptions and came up with new biz models. Another one is pricing cliches. Examples are Netflix, Priceline, Metromile. Find a market, list the cliches and see what you can challenge, disrupt. Good luck!
Best way is know the industry you work in and work on some creative brainstorming by yourself. If that doesn't work then find a group of people who also work in the industry and do the same. If all that fails, find a partner who has an idea about an industry that he or she knows well and see if it's a viable business venture.
Typically in my experience to find gaps in a market you need to understand the market ("jobs" customers do to get their work done and competitive landscape) really well.
Paul - I applaud you for thinking about being different versus just being better. As a leadership coach, I have one sheet that works well and forces you to involve your target customer as part of the process. You can download the Attribution Framework exercise from my site. This sheet is #17. https://catalystgrowthadvisors.com/catalyst-growth-advisors/resources/
Hi Paul - I would focus on three questions: 1.) Is there a significant need/problem I can address that no one else is? Check what people are searching for online, problems they are mentioning on forums or social media groups. 2.) Can I provide an existing product or service better, faster, cheaper? Again, check out what people are saying about existing products/services 3.) Is there a viable sub-niche that no one else is focusing on? Note: Surveys are a great way to find out what people are really interested in but you need to make them relevant, interesting/valuable and engaging for people. They also need to be structured properly to get good insights.
Paul - I applaud you for thinking about being different versus just being better. As a leadership coach, There are other approaches such as Jobs to be Done and Lean Customer Development. The key is to be able to interview your target so you learn from them. Google can provide you lots of resources on those two areas. If you want to use a tool that can guide you, you can download the Attribution Framework exercise from my site. This sheet is #4 in "Strategy" under the "Business Resources" section. https://catalystgrowthadvisors.com/catalyst-growth-advisors/resources/