Maintain your edge in the supply market: keep investigating "business gaps"



ShawnTheunissen2.jpg“Gaps” – or business prospects – challenge what entrepreneurs offer the market and how they offer it. This makes it important to assist them to identify the right gap before they start a business, as well as continue to test its ongoing relevance as their SME grows, says Shawn Theunissen, head of CSR at Growthpoint Properties and Property Point (Growthpoint Properties’ enterprise development programme), in this month’s SmartProcurement.

Each time someone expresses a need that is not being met, a new “gap” reveals itself in the market – occasionally providing an entrepreneurial individual with the perfect opportunity to start their own business.

“While gaps can range from a need for new products or technology to requiring different services to those currently available, not all gaps will go on to sustain viable businesses,” says Theunissen. “This makes it critical for entrepreneurs to investigate perceived gaps thoroughly – from the resources required to meet the need all the way through to quantifying market appetite for the product or service.”

Gaps are identified by listening to the market and responding to it. This means that you need to do research – even if this is informal or accidental.

“Speak to the people who will potentially become your customers. Start off identifying who you will be dealing with and what their needs are. Whilst it is often easy to establish the usual suspects (or traditional clients), make a point of finding the unusual suspects too – possible new markets for your goods and/or services.”

Once you have identified who the main consumers and suppliers are, and who is connected to whom, you must find out how their needs both are and are not being met – and why. “This will give you an indication about whether your idea is viable and will work or not,” he explains.

When you have identified your opportunity, it is important to make sure your idea will actually work before you go ahead and create a business around it.

“To do this, link what you have discovered through your research with what you want to do – and conceptualise your idea. Ask yourself what your core business will be, and how you can fill the gap you have spotted. Outline your answers on paper. Check that they speak to the needs you first identified,” says Theunissen.

Before charging ahead and starting a business based on your findings, take your answers back to the individuals who originally helped you and ask them for their feedback. If you can subsequently show that there is a market for you, it is time to start your business.

Theunissen cautions that, while it is one thing finding your business’ gap, it is equally important to maintain your position in the market by continually testing its relevance, as well as looking for new opportunities.

“One of the best ways to do this is by strengthening your relationships with existing clients and then to keep listening to them. Remember that needs change. Only by communicating with the market constantly – listening and responding – will you be able to ensure that what you are offering is still relevant and necessary.”

To stay ahead in your sector then, always keep thinking beyond your immediate context. “Gaps are about ideas and possibilities. To find new ones, actively seek out a cross-pollination of ideas between seemingly different industries. This will enable you to expand your understanding whilst broadening your own market at the same time,” concludes Theunissen.

Contact Property Point for more info on uncovering and analysing business gaps. 

Leave a comment

SmartProcurement Newsletter

Please enter your details below to receive the SmartProcurement Newsletter for FREE on a regular basis.

As part of the SmartProcurement Newsletter you will be receiving World Class Procurement News, Tools, Tips, Tactics, Procurement Training updates, Upcoming Events, and the latest Procurement Career Openings.

* Email Address:
* Title:
* First Name:
* Surname:
* Company:
* Country:
* Public / Private:


Career opportunites

Operations Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Supply Chain
Our client within the FMCG industry with a ...More

Warehouse and Distribution Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent
An exciting opportunity awaits for a Warehouse and ...More

Demand Planner

  • <500 000 Permanent
Get an opportunity to be part of one ...More

Procurement Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management Procurement Officer / Specialist
An opportunity for a seasoned Procurement Manager, who ...More

Industrial Engineer

  • >500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer Permanent Procurement Consultant
An exciting opportunity that offers extensive exposure on ...More

Deputy Director: Procurement

  • >500 000 Contract Procurement Management Procurement Officer / Specialist Western Cape
Department of Economic Development and Tourism:Procurement Specialist, Ref ...More


  • >500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R750k – R900K) excluding ...More


  • >500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Salary: R 1.3M –R1.5M, dependent on level of ...More


  • >500 000 Contract Gauteng Procurement Consultant Projects / Category Management
Total Cost to Company R1mil – R1.2mil excluding ...More

Project Manager

  • >500 000 Contract Procurement Management Projects / Category Management Western Cape
 Description:A well-known retail organization is looking for an ...More


  • >500 000 Analyst Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management
Description:A leading infrastructure development group with strong presence ...More

Commodity Manager: Fuels and Lubes

  • Commodities Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management
 Ensuring continuity of supply in line with business ...More

Senior Facilities Manager

  • >500 000 Commodities Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent
(Total Cost to Company R800K – R900K) Johannesburg Our ...More


  • <500 000 >500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer Permanent Procurement Management
(Total Cost to Company R350K – R550K) JOHANNESBURGYou ...More

Supply Chain Analyst

  • <500 000 >500 000 Permanent Procurement Officer / Specialist Supply Chain Western Cape
(Total Cost to Company R350K – R550K)  SOUTHERN ...More

Security Manager

  • <500 000 >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management Strategic Sourcing
(Total Cost to Company R350K – R550K) JOHANNESBURG This ...More

Demand Planner

  • <500 000 >500 000 Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R450k – R550k, dependent ...More

Procurement Specialist-Randburg

  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Management Procurement Officer / Specialist
(Total Cost to Company R700k – R800k including ...More

Solutions Architect

  • >500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R1.3Mil – R1.1Mil including ...More


  • >500 000 Gauteng Permanent Projects / Category Management
(Total Cost to Company R850k – R950K including ...More