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  Before establishing that business, have you done your due diligence? Are you sure there is a need? Have you identified the consumer gaps? As a business strategist, I have observed many businesses fail because there was no gap that needed to be filled. Some people simply go into establishing businesses because they have the capital and the team. Various people are just interested in being called a CEO. These factors aren’t enough to jump into entrepreneurship. 
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Most often, we keep hearing that an entrepreneur must find a need or a market gap to fill. However, entrepreneurs find it difficult to identify these gaps and needs. Without existing gaps and needs, there is no need to develop a product or solution. Gaps and needs are problems that must be solved. In this article, I have streamlined four factors – I call them 4A Factors – you must study to identify market gaps and consumer needs.
  1. Availability.
The availability of products or services will determine if there is a market gap or consumer need that you might fill. Most often, when a product is not available in an area, you can see it as a need to be met. The level of availability of a particular product/service in an area will determine if there is a need or not. Availability could be in terms of goods and services not being in existence at all, scarcity of goods and services, shortage in supply of product, or simple deficit. You can fill this need by being a centre of offering goods and services that were hitherto unavailable to customers. Another concept of availability could be that existing products do not have particular features that could benefit customers. For example, an existing computer device that does not have antivirus that protects computer users can make you develop a new antivirus software that will be available to consumers. 
  1. Accessibility.
Some goods might be available and ready, however, accessing it might be very difficult for consumers. Therefore, when identifying a need, look at how accessible existing products or services are. Therefore, it is expedient to analyse existing roadblocks to existing goods. For example, in an area, people drive kilometres to get a particular product or to get certain services, which might be tiresome and stressful on consumers, making goods easily accessible is a need you can fill. Examples of roadblocks in accessing goods and services include distance, crisis, personal idiosyncrasies of the manufacturers, etc.
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  1. Affordability.
When goods and services are unaffordable (in terms of pricing) in a region or an area, due to the monopolistic nature of the producer or service provider or the level of income of the region, there is an existing gap to create cheaper products or services. The country of China has adopted this strategy in penetrating African economies.  There is usually the temptation of hiking the price of goods and services when a company is the sole provider of goods and services. Leading companies have often entered the market to be a price breaker. When you identify the problem of affordability among existing customers, you can penetrate the market through pricing. For example, Nigeria is a developing economy, so making goods and services cheaper can be a selling point for your company. This was this strategy Cowbell used to penetrate the Nigerian market when it made milk in a satchet form and sold it for 10 Naira. 
  1. Alternativity. 
Alternativity is the propensity to propose an alternative, especially when the previous solution is less available or less desirable. This is an identifier spot for entrepreneurs who are seeking market gaps and consumer needs that they want to fill. For example, fossil fuels are expensive, however, developing alternative energy such as solar panels can be a market breaker for you. Sometimes, the cost of existing products or services might force the entrepreneur in you to create an alternative and even create a market out of it.  Featured image; African Cube
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This article was first published on 28th January 2022 and updated on January 29th, 2022 at 7:22 pm

nnaemeka-emmanuel

Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.


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