When starting a new business, or launching a new product line within an existing business, the customer is a good place to start. Who are your customers? What problem of theirs are you trying to solve? And then, how are you going to solve it in a way that wins their business?
Here’s one way to set yourself up for success: find the underserved customers.
Instead of competing for the attention of the same customers that other companies are already after, find the ones they aren’t. Find the ones that no company does a good job reaching, and create something specifically for them.
Stories of companies using this strategy fill the pages of business books, but perhaps the largest such company is Walmart. In the beginning, Sam Walton created Walmart to bring the discount shopping and department store experience to rural neighborhoods that were long ignored by the larger chains and franchises. By serving underserved communities, he was able to build a business that grew quickly, free from most forms of competition.
So instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, find a segment of the population that doesn’t have access to the right solution to meet their needs. This may be a geographical segment. It may be a segment that is currently priced out of a certain market. It might be a segment whose needs are not met perfectly by any of the options available to them and would be better served by a more specific solution.
Find the underserved customers and make them your target. If you can win with them, you can have a market all to yourself.