There are a number of ways of developing new business opportunities and one of the most important of these is that of “recognising a gap in the market” and thereby identifying a consumer need, which enables a new product or service to be introduced. This can be exemplified where an entrepreneur recognises a business opportunity, for example, where there is no “fast food” outlet in an area highly frequented by students or where initiating a speedy car window washing service at a busy road junction fills “a need”. Fulfilling a gap in the market therefore need not be sophisticated or intellectual - often it can simply be “functional”.
The First Direct study focuses on recognition of a gap in the financial services industry, which was exploited through the development of a unique customer proposition. The study reveals that First Direct did not invent an idea without real substance and expect it to work without detailed preparation and planning. The initiative was supported by extensive and thorough market research.
In 1988, a development team at Midland Bank called Project Raincloud, inspired by an awareness of customers’ deep rooted frustration with the traditional banking system, was given the task of creating a bank that revolved around the customer and offered outstanding service and access.