One of the biggest obstacles to starting a home-based business is in trying to decide what type of business to start. Sometimes the answer to our questions stare us straight in the face.
When choosing a business there is a simple common sense approach to solving this question, just fill the gaps.
What is fill the gaps and how can it help me start a business? Fill the gaps is a concept whereby you observe how well other businesses in your area are operating and whether or not they are satisfying the customer. When you see a gap in the business, you take that opportunity to exploit it by doing it better.
Perhaps a business is already doing something, but not very well. Find a way to fill that gap and perform that function more efficiently. Offer a point of distinction and capitalize on it. Find a way to be superior, whether through responsiveness, price, customer service, or a better product offering. Once you have found something that you can offer that defines your business, run with it by advertising and promoting that difference to your target market.
Let us look at some service offerings that you can use to distinguish yourself and start your business. For instance, I find that hanging Christmas lights, shoveling snow, cleaning house gutters, and washing a pet are all time consuming and laborious tasks. An untapped market probably exists that feels the same way as I do, and would be willing to pay someone else to do them. This is the gap and you can fill it by starting a business that others are not fully engaged in, or are not doing very well.
If you are not sure whether a gap actually exists, try some market research. Market research is simple and very effective. Think about five common businesses in the area that you feel are not operating as well as they could. Write down their product and service offerings. Under each product or service set a rating scale of 1 to 5 with five being exceptional and one being unhappy. Visit a local grocery store, ask the manager whether you may speak to the customers as they leave the store and after he gives you permission ask at least 25-30 people if they would rate the product or services of the five businesses in your study. If you find someone who is unhappy, ask him or her why they are unhappy and whether they had a solution that could have helped the company get an exceptional. These customers will be your greatest source of information.
I have always heard that a companys unhappiest customers provide the best information for improving. Here is your opportunity to ask those customers to start your business by letting you know where the gaps are and how you can fill them.