What if you come up with a great idea, launch a business (or a new product or service within your existing business) then someone copies it and takes all your clients?That fear holds many people back from starting something new, from a new business to a new product. But here’s what I think. Copy cat services, copy cat products, copy cat people are like a photograph versus a real person. They are only going to be a 2-dimensional version of you. Whatever thought process you went through to create your offering is something they never experienced. You know why you used those words in that way in your marketing. You know why you choose to do things at a particular time and in a particular way. You know what is really behind every element of what you do. In fact you don’t even have to think about it, because it came from you. The copy cats? They think what you created is gospel. They think you are providing the template to ‘how things should be’ in your field. Suddenly, in their eyes, you have become the point by which what they do is defined. Feeling sorry for them yet? You should be. Aside from not engaging their imagination, copying you (to such an extent that you notice!) means that whatever they do is static. They may make changes but they will never get the heart of it. Of the two of you, who is in the better position to tweak what you do and communicate with you market? Who is better placed to make changes as markets move? You are. Every time. The copy cats will give it a go but it will usually just stay lukewarm. Without your input they will never work out why it doesn’t work for them. And if it does work for them, if they do start taking clients from you, then you know what? It’s down to you to fix it. View the opportunity to review what you do and how you present it as an opportunity – without copy cats poking at you, you might well end up stagnant through inertia (and that’s not good for anyone!). I’m not just saying this, I’ve been there. Free Range Humans is copied all the time. I have my words, my ideas and my favourite product all lifted in various places. In fact look out of a spate of copy-cat group coaching courses in the UK using slight variations of my timeframe, my pricepoint, my structure and my description (might launch a spot-the-copy game soon!). Funnily enough, it hasn’t impacted on my business. It makes me sharper and continually focusing on communicating the essence of what I do, which is a good thing. In fact, I’m so confident that what I do stands on its own feet that I actually joined forces with others and CREATED my own biggest competitor product under a different brand! I figured others were doing it so I’d go in big time (with the advantage this time of it being created with all my inside knowledge J ) That is how much I believe that – so long as you are always on it, with a clear brave message, speaking the words that resonate so strongly in people’s heads that they think you are psychic – people will come to you. I’m not naiive about this, I know that there’s a chance things will change and real competition will emerge. But if things start going down will I blame the market, the economy or copy cats? No, I’ll blame myself for not communicating effectively enough. At that point, I will make changes. And that is something that the copy cats will always have trouble achieving. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you been held back by fear of copy cats?
Picture by Zeppelie79