It’s so tough when someone copies your product, business or brand. You have put so much of your heart, soul and passion into what you do and to see someone try to pass it off as their own is heart-breaking to say the least.
When you are a small business owner, it is all of you that goes into your business. It’s never just a product or a service, it is literally part of your unique essence that has gone into the mix.
I unfortunately hear of copy-cat stories far too often. At least once a week I receive a message from someone feeling upset or frustrated while they are watching a copy-cat create a new business based on their unique creations.
Unfortunately the truth is that competition exists in all categories and industries. There is always going to be a competitor and always someone doing something similar. That is business. And any good idea is bound to be copied.
And competition is a good thing. It inspires us to think bigger and better. To be more creative and more fierce. To be smarter and always looking forward not standing still.
Copycats are unavoidable and sometimes they will be in plain view and other times you won’t know they are watching and learning from you.
There is no one way to deal with copycats but here are some of my thoughts that you may find helpful.
Before we start...it can be easy to copy sometimes unintentionally. Most of the messages I receive are obvious copies but we could all be doing it without realising it at times. It is okay to be inspired by others – by their words, their products, their messages and brands. But always add you own unique essence to whatever you create. Never copy and paste.
Now here are my 5 tips to supporting you if you discover someone is copying your business.
1. 'Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery'.
I don’t personally like this quote much because yes its good to be flattered that someone thinks what you are doing is so great that they want to do it too; but if the copycat is using your work and ideas, passing it off as their own, and receiving success for it without crediting you….that’s a hard pill to swallow.
But you can take a positive from this.... that the copycat is probably your biggest fan. They love what you do so much and are so inspired by you that they want to be you! But you have the head start so keep adapting, stay focused on growing and creating great content/products/services that your customers love.
2. Focus on your customers and what they love
What you create for your business should be focused on what your dream customer needs. It should focus on solving a problem or adding to the life of that customer. You have created a product or service that your customers are loving, which is why the copycats are here, so keep focusing on your customers. Keep engaging, building those connections and relationships that only you can build; and refining your offer based on what your customer needs. Keep focusing on the customer, don’t turn your focus to the copycat.
3. Copycats are lacking in confidence
Copycats lack clarity, confidence and originality. They are stuck in wanting to achieve a dream but not knowing where to start. Instead of looking within themselves, they are looking outside for answers. They are looking around for ideas and instead of using them for inspiration, are choosing to replicate them. They are not confident that they can make it on their own, and they're not owning their unique qualities.
4. Do your best to ignore them
Often easier said than done but you need to ignore the copycat. They are not going to bring anything positive to you or your business. They will simply drain your energy and have the ability to keep your time and focus away from what is most important.
5. Stay in your lane
The copycat may copy your product or service but they can never copy you. And this is my biggest advice to you. You are the unique ingredient in your business that can not ever be copied. I say it often and will say it again; show up unapologetically as you within your business. Show up on social media and let people get to know you. No copycat can copy your personality or that added value that you bring to your business.
Stay focused on you, your dreams, your goals and where you’re heading. Which the copycat knows nothing about! They can only focus on the past and where you’ve been and we all know that is not the secret to success.
Note: while I suggest ignoring these copycats and staying in your lane; if someone has seriously blatantly copied you and there is significant evidence; then call them out, contact them or reach out for legal advice.