As a business owner, you will naturally continually be on the lookout for opportunities to grow and expand. Sometimes the next logical step will stare you right in the face, while at other times, it will be more difficult to identify where you could be directing your gaze next.
Finding the next white space opportunity can be quite rewarding, especially if you approach the problem from the right angle. Here’s what you need to do:
What Are White Space Opportunities in Business?
White space opportunities are areas where a business can innovate or expand, cross- or upsell its existing products or services. This involves the process of analyzing your current offer and identifying the unmet needs of your customers or clients.
What Is White Space Analysis?
White space analysis is the process a business uses to evaluate the unmet needs of its customers. You’ll do this by contrasting what you are doing at the moment and discovering what your customers want but are not getting. It helps you discover your strengths and weaknesses and identifies the best growth opportunities.
Start by identifying your offer and the needs that it currently meets. Then analyze your current customer base and explore what their real needs are. Aim to go beyond the obvious and really try to put yourself in the shoes of these people.
You are looking to identify internal, external, and future-focused white space opportunities.
Internal white space refers to improvements you can make within your own organization. Can you rework the way you handle customer complaints? Can you improve shipping? Does your packaging need an upgrade?
External opportunities detail how you will deal with challenges posed by the market and your competitors, while future-oriented opportunities focus on strategic planning and help you map out a roadmap for the next five years.
How to Find White Space Opportunities
There are several ways to identify the white space opportunities available to you.
Survey Your Customers
Start by talking to your customers about their needs. Diversify as much as possible and talk to as many various customer profiles as possible.
Most importantly: listen to what they have to say. Go into the research with an open mind and aim not to get offended when they point out any flaws. Make sure to ask them about what they like, what they would like to see, and what the worst aspects of doing business with you are.
Upgrade What You Already Have
Take a look at every aspect of your business and explore what you can do to innovate. Start with the product or service itself, but also make sure to look at your internal workings, like communications, and your outside-facing efforts, like marketing and sales.
Whenever you identify a white space — for example, a topic your competitors are writing about that you have not yet covered — figure out what the best way to utilize it would be. Your aim is not to tick a certain amount of boxes but to leverage your findings to expand and grow.
Target a New Audience Segment
Explore who your current audience is and where you are currently reaching them. Then take a two-pronged approach: aim to target your current audience on different channels and expand your audience on your current channels.
For example, if you are currently only doing advertising on Facebook, maybe you want to try running Instagram ads as well. Or, maybe you are only focusing on finding audiences from a certain region. What if you expanded to a neighbouring location and started targeting there? What if you started marketing to the friends and family of your current audience?
Provide More Education Opportunities
A large portion of your audience is actively looking for information you are privy to. By aiming to rank high for the queries they are likely to make, you can reach them at exactly the right stage of their buyer’s journey.
This will mean figuring out what each stage of your funnel is searching for and creating a comprehensive blog or other resource centre that will offer all the relevant information. Also aim to create a main hub page, like this one here, that will allow readers to browse all the topics you have covered, helping them uncover new areas of interest.
Figure Out What You Do Differently
While it certainly sounds like a cliche, we do have to admit that every business is different. There are things your competitors don’t offer their customers, but you do. It may be something as simple as a personalized note with every order or a catchphrase you greet all your customers with.
Pinpoint that one element that makes you stand out and focus on both developing and promoting it. If you have a great waiting room, highlight the fact. Maybe you play some great jazz and offer great snacks, but no one knows about it yet.
Find Unlikely Pairings
Cross- and upselling provide plenty of white space opportunities. All you need to do is pinpoint which products or services would go well together.
Take a look at the products your customers are already buying together. Also, explore the products customers are looking at or wishlisting but not purchasing. You will be able to identify certain trends that you can use to promote products that go well together with customers that are interested in one of them.
You can also think outside the box and find unlikely pairings that go surprisingly well together. Look for some product combinations that customers may not have thought of. This is especially fun to do if you offer a lot of products, in which case customers are less likely to know exactly what you have in stock. They can be pleasantly surprised when you offer a bundle or send them a personalized email recommendation.
Finding new white space opportunities for your business will take a fair amount of research, and you will need to wear many different hats in the process. However, if you are diligent about it, you can uncover plenty of growth space simply by following the points we’ve outlined here.