186: How to Find and Close a Gap In The Market

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The one thing that’s consistent among all successful businesses is not their ability to attract customers; it’s the ability to spot and fill gaps in the market. Every successful business out there serves a specific market gap. And the reason they’re successful is that they create a business that provides unique and necessary products or services to willing buyers. Sadly, most aspiring first-gen entrepreneurs think too broadly when trying to close a gap in the market when the reality is it’s always better to think small when it comes to gaps in the market. The more specific a market, the more likely an entrepreneur will be able to target them effectively. Nevertheless, the market must be big enough to sustain growth and create demand.

Dr. White’s Definition of Success – 06:23

Success is often defined differently by different people. But one thing stands out in all those definitions; there is no standard way to define success. It all comes down to you and how you decide to describe it. Growing up as a low-income first-generation student, Dr. White’s first definition of a successful life was getting a job immediately after graduation. Her father didn’t make a lot of money, so the goal was to earn a little more than he did. However, a few years later, she realized that success does not come from holding a good job with a good title in a respectable organization. But being successful is determined by a person’s ability to add value to the world and help others. Again, this is her definition of success, which means she believes she won’t be fulfilled with her life until she helps people reach their full potential.  

Dr. White’s Entreprenurial Journey – 09:40

Before becoming an entrepreneur, Dr. White worked at Queens University, supporting historically underrepresented students. Landing the job was a dream come true because it meant a stable job, a good salary, and an opportunity to serve people. But there was a problem, the position had just been recently established and lacked material from the past to help grow the position. She built programs from scratch, managed campus retention software, and went above and beyond to ensure everything ran smoothly. But at the peak of her career, her mother got sick, and she was forced to quit to take care of her. And it was during this period that her entrepreneurial spirit was born. The was a gap in the market that needed closing. And so, she launched Higher Ed Ventures, an educational consulting firm with goals of closing achievement and opportunity gaps for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds. 

Lessons From Dr. White’s Entreprenurial Journey – 14:07

Entrepreneurship can be a long, uncomfortable, yet rewarding journey for many people. Everyone seems to go through it a little bit differently. Some execute a brilliant idea and are raking in millions within months. Others take time to perfect the art and reap the rewards several years later. Nonetheless, Dr. White believes one of the best ways to get started is to have a Passion Planner where you write your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. Her first plan was to land the first customer. The action behind the plan was to attend a business workshop, network with at least five people, and build a business relationship with at least one of them. And that’s what she did and fortunately landed her first client. If you’re thinking about pursuing something, have a plan, list down the actionable items in the plan, execute and believe in your potential to be great.

What It Means to Be a Black Woman – 22:30 

Being a woman in today’s society is hard. But being a Black woman is powerful. The struggles and the challenges they have to overcome makes them stronger and better equipped to challenge the world. Interestingly, Dr. White never truly appreciated her Blackness until later in life. Back then, she would straighten her hair and spruce up her accent to sound a certain way. But it was only until she appreciated the power of being a Black person that she understood that it was okay to be Black– it doesn’t diminish your credibility, neither does it make you less of a person. 

Dr. Shariva White is a proud HBCU grad and her passion for supporting historically underserved students come from her positionality as a first-generation low-income student who was challenged with the college-going process. Her firsthand experience with traversing the high school to college transition with grit and resilience propelled her forward to pave the way for herself and others. As President of Higher Ed Ventures, Dr. White’s compassionate action-oriented approaches build personable relationships with clients which make lasting impressions on those she serves. Dr. White is committed to EDUCATING clients, EMPOWERING confidence, and collectively ENDEAVORING towards goal attainment. Connect with Dr. White on LinkedIn.