How could I determine what a particular market is missing?
I'm eager to start an import business in my country, but I can't really determine what product is missing in the Lebanese market that I could import and kickstart my business with. What is the best way to determine what is missing and how can I benefit from it?
Before anything else, you might consider conducting a survey that will probably cater at least 100 people in a certain area. In one question there, you may consider citing all possible businesses that will click to the new generation of today. You will also need to know your target group or market niche.
Be observant as well and do some researches with regards to the new trends which you think people will patronize specially the needs of the Lebanese people. I guess what's really best for you is to conduct a feasibility study. This will cater everything you need to know about the market trends and will give you a wider idea of your possible business.
I strongly advise you to try doing the S.W.O.T Analysis. This is a bit personal biased but please be honest and factual. S.W.O.T analysis means Strengths,Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Anyhow, if you're looking for something or product missing in Lebanese Market, try listing out first Mainstream/Common Products and Services, then try to Analyze its strength,weakness,opportunity, and threat. By doing this so, you will be able to generate an idea. And if you already have the best idea so far better implement it. But always remember to be unique as possible, be INNOVATIVE and CREATIVE. Goodluck on your business.
Note: SWOT ANALYSIS is a strategy used to determine factors that will benefit your Business in both short term and long term.
One way to determine what a particular market is missing is to observe what problems are unresolved in the market and also consider what could resolve it. Is it a cost issue? Is it a quality issue? Is it a design issue? What can be done better than a competitor? Then when that is identified, do research and testing to work out the bugs before releasing. Also, consider the legal side of the innovation. Do you need to patent it, trademark, Copyright it, or all of them? Does the cost of making the product or service provide a necessary benefit? Finally who and when will this product or service be used? Is if for the general public, for men, for women and is it something that can be used daily or seasonally? Often beginning with these questions in mind one can identify a need in a market, Hope this helps.
One possible way is to study trends in google and see for instance what people is looking for in your country. And then check current suppliers if any. Another way is to try to think outside the box and look for trends in other countries, that hasn't arrived in Lebanon in this case. For instance, if you see a huge amount of people learning German...maybe, there is an opportunity to bring german food, material to learn german. Maybe there is a recent interest in fitness, then could be an opportunity to import fitness gym machines.
All the suggestions that have come forth are very valid. Observation, experience and talking to others are possibly some of the most effective ways of finding gaps in the market. While this can be a very daunting task, start by assessing your own resources and skill sets available to market / sell these products that you would like to import. That way, you would know: 1) who to observe / ask questions & 2) what questions to ask. Again depending on your resources, you could start with a niche (high value / low sales) or go for more segments (high sales / low value).
I am not very familiar with your country, but if you could have access to databases of people travelling abroad, you could have a focused audience and have a peek at their shopping list if possible.
The key thing is not only to identify the gap, but to build a strong VALUE for the solution that triggers the actual purchase / consumption.
All the best for your venture.
Talk to people. Listen to their complaints. What are people complaining consistently about? Are there people who talk about something they wish they could get or a problem they wish they could solve?
Perhaps you should not just be on the lookout for import business opportunities but any opportunity that can solve a problem that people have.
Good luck in your search.
Ask your potential customers what is hard for them to obtain, what is available but is of poor quality, What would make their lives or businesses easier.
do you have a market for Diabetic shoes yet no product is available?
Experience. The most brilliant innovations come from someone who personally saw something missing, was frustrated by a situation or otherwise acted like the consumer he would serve. Narrow your range and talk to people. What problem can you solve? What frustration can you reduce. What do people want that they don't have. Can you get something cheaper in a market with no competition? Start with your own experience examining yourself, your friends and family...expand to social media. Asks questions...if you do that well, the answers will present themselves.
What you are asking for is “Innovation” and innovation by it's nature means people do not know about it so they will not ask for it!
Remember Henry Ford once said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have asked for a faster horse and not an affordable motorcar”. Fast forward to today, and do you think in 2004 if any manufacturer had asked anyone what they wanted, anyone would have answered with “I want an iPhone?”
So you need to turn this on it's head. People do not buy products but buy solution to their problem. People bought Model-T Ford cars because they want to go from A to B faster and without having to look after a horse. You can apply the same to smartphones as well as services such as AirBnB, Uber, etc. They are all addressing a problem with a solution.
You need to find out what problems people have that they would like a solution for and are PREPARED to pay for it. There are lots of problems that people have but they are not prepared to pay for it to be resolved. So the problem to solve and willingness to pay go hand in hand.
Once you can determine there is a sufficient demand and willingness to pay (which decides your price point), you can then search for products or services to resolve them and satisfy the demand people did not know was there to begin with.
I hope this helps.