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  • Writer's pictureGiora Ketter

The 7 Step GAPs Methodology

Analyze the Business Ecosystem and Identify Possible Strategic Directions

“Over the past two years, we’ve developed a FoodTech product. We are now putting out feelers to other FoodTech ‘innovators’ and discovering that the market is interested in our product,” I hear from Nina, the CEO of a startup in the FoodTech sector.

Nina shares her thoughts with me, saying: “We’ve identified the presence of competitors that target adjacent and similar markets, and even segments that are identical to ours. We nevertheless think there is a differentiation between our product and theirs. But we have not yet systematically and fully analyzed the market or the competition, which means we’re faced with a lot of open-ended questions on what our next strategic moves should be.”

Startup management asked for competitor research to validate or refute their existing assumptions and identify from these the most important strategic moves for the future.

We decided to kick off with a structured GAPs process (Gather | Analyze | Prioritize strategic-decisions).

The 7 step GAPs methodology will provide a picture of the relevant business landscape, but further processing of the information is essential if we are to extract quality insights on which to build a solid foundation for the company’s semi-strategic decisions.

Here is a short description of the 7 step GAPs methodology:

  1. We start with the information already held by the company on competitors and prospects.

  2. Puzzle Insights provides additional data based on its background work and in-depth research into the competitors.

  3. Interim discussions follow to summarize everything we know at ­ this stage – it’s critical to do this before moving onto the next step.

  4. Independent research – people from within the company conduct duplicate SWOT of the competitors and their own company. This role reversal produces original insights that cannot be reached in any other way.

  5. Now we put the competitors aside for a moment and focus on the company itself. At this point, the team delves more deeply into the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats facing their company and stake out potential directions for strategic action derived from the existing market situation and from all the information we’ve collected so far.

  6. The analysis we provide the company enables prioritization of the most important or the most evident strengths and weaknesses, and the main opportunities and threats – those on which it’s most expedient to focus.

    1. A discussion during which we summarize the entire process and brainstorm potential strategic directions for action based on the work carried out by Puzzle Insights and the company’s own people.

In the case of Nina’s startup, the entire process took a few weeks at the end of which we kicked off with a good basket of ‘provisions’: a list of a number of possible strategic directions for action and a benchmark matrix of the startup’s product against those of the competitors.

Puzzle Insights’ 7 step GAPs methodology made it possible for us to identify and bring to the surface all sorts of original ideas such as, for example, an idea to convert one of the technological capabilities in a product developed by the startup into an independent/white label product that could even be sold to competitors!

Are you interested in conducting a similar process?

Do you feel you lack information on the competitive landscape?

You’re invited to contact us.

Giora Ketter


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