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How to Find a Gap in the Marketplace

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley

Learn how to use a trending business model from another industry to create a business that satisfies your own needs as a consumer.

  • To find a gap in the marketplace, start by analyzing your own pain points.
  • Look at trending business models to find a unique way to solve the gap in the marketplace.
  • Don't be afraid to innovate and test the status quo with your business idea. 

Thinking of a successful business idea isn't always easy, and while researching topics like "B2B business ideas" and "best low-cost business ideas" can be helpful, it can only get you so far. You want to create a business that provides a unique, necessary experience for consumers, but how do you find that market gap? With marketplace trends constantly changing, it can be difficult to find a way to incorporate them into your business model. 

To combat these issues, we spoke with Kate Paguinto, founder of Presko, to learn how she found a lucrative gap in the marketplace and capitalized on a trending business model to create a successful business that fills a unique need. Presko is an online marketplace that helps e-commerce brands rent a portion of store space in local brick-and-mortar stores to sell products directly to consumers, face to face. 

Although this may seem like an incredibly niche business idea, Paguinto knew from personal experience that there was a need for it. 

"I started Presko because I owned a jewelry business and was primarily selling online," she told business.com. "I wanted to connect with my customers in person but never really had much luck with flea markets or art shows. I wanted to find a way to reach my target audience and sell on my own schedule." 

Paguinto knew other small business owners were facing the same problem she was, so she wanted to create a way for them to easily connect with each other through shared resources. 

Here is the market gap and trending business model she identified: 

  • Market gap: Small online business owners needed an affordable, effective way to occasionally sell their products in brick-and-mortar stores.

  • Trending business model: The sharing economy business model was a feasible new trend that could be used to connect small business owners. 

1. Find a gap in the marketplace.

The inundation of advertisements and social media marketing can make it seem as though there is a product, service or application for anything a consumer could ever want. However, there are still gaps in the marketplace – you just have to find them before someone else does. While this may seem like a daunting task, it may be easier than you think. 

The best way to identify a gap in the marketplace is to reflect on your own consumer needs. Paguinto said to look at all the problems you deal with personally and try to identify your pain points. You can also ask around to see what challenges your family and friends encounter. Once you identify the current market problem you want to address, figure out what can be done to solve it. Paguinto created Presko as a response to a market gap she saw in her own industry. 

"I realized that there was a gap because so many people are selling online and it's easy to get lost in the noise," she said. "On the other hand, I felt that selling at markets isn't always feasible because they require a lot of time and manpower – from making enough inventory to filling your booth to setting up your space and spending hours in a tent. I felt like there had to be a better way."   

With Presko, vendors can partner with stores that align with their brand and sell at a time that's convenient for them, instead of waiting for the third Saturday of the month to do a six-hour show. The demand for an online marketplace that connects small business owners was something that Paguinto identified as a pain point in her own life. What pain points exist in your life? Are there viable business opportunities that could solve them? 

Whether you are creating a new business or looking for a way to improve your current company, you can take advantage of several new business trends, primarily with emerging technology and resources. For example, you can enhance a service with machine learning and AI, create a sustainable alternative to a current product, or find a way to personalize an otherwise impersonal service. Paguinto capitalized on the sharing economy trend to create Presko.   

"Take the sharing economy for example: Airbnb and Uber allow people to make money off of things they already own, and this concept can easily be applied to other markets," she said. "I used this sharing model to create Presko because people are already paying to rent or lease commercial space, and allowing other businesses to come in and sell there could help to offset the cost." 

Entrepreneurs can look at unique ways to apply current business trends to new industries where they may not already exist. 

3. Create a business to fill the market gap.

Once you've identified a gap in the marketplace, found a business strategy (whether traditional or trending) that can solve the need, and determined your idea is good enough to act on, it is time to create a business plan and work to build your business. 

Since creating a business is hard work that can take countless hours of dedication, Paguinto has two pieces of advice for entrepreneurs to keep in mind during the process: 

Don't be afraid to test the status quo.

Innovative thinking and breaking restrictive boundaries may be necessary to create a successful business. Don't let societal limitations keep you from building your dream. Paguinto had to do this by emerging into the tech field as a woman of color. Being a woman in tech – especially a woman of color – is not the norm, and it was intimidating for Paguinto to break into. 

"In college, I interned for a tech company, and the majority of people I saw in the incubator were men," said Paguinto. "It never occurred to me that I would eventually venture into this space, but here we are. I think it's important to go into it with an understanding that I will need to work much harder to get where I want to be, but I am willing to take that challenge. I feel very fortunate that I have built a community of diverse and supportive women to help me along the way." 

Learn to rest when you need it.

The life of an entrepreneur is a busy one, but it is important to create boundaries and place high importance on self-care. Find a manageable work-life balance that allows you to get work done and still rest when you need it. Paguinto said there is nothing worse than a tired founder. 

"It's so easy to get caught up in 'hustle culture' and feel like you constantly need to be doing something to be successful. In reality, it's the opposite. If your mind and body suffer, your business will suffer. So, learn to rest."

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley,
business.com Writer
See Skye Schooley's Profile
Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. She received a business communication degree from Arizona State University and spent a few years traveling internationally, before finally settling down in the greater New York City area. She currently writes for business.com and Business News Daily, primarily contributing articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviewing categories such as remote PC access software, collection agencies, background check services, web hosting, reputation management services, cloud storage, and website design software and services.