Do you worry about putting your idea out there?
There are so many people in this world that have wonderful ideas for new products or services and dream of one day turning them into a business, but fear holds them back. In our years of mentoring and encouraging new business owners to get started, we have found 2 main reasons why people keep their ideas locked inside their minds –
1) They are afraid it is no good;
2) They are afraid that someone will copy it.
If you fit into point number one, don’t worry we have a great article for you on how to find out how good your ideas really are. But in this post, we are going to address point two.
Being afraid that someone will copy your idea is perfectly understandable although generally, it doesn’t happen when you are at an idea stage. Idea stealers tend to come along right when you start seeing some success, because they want a slice of that success too – they just don’t want to put in all the hard work to get there like you have.
Although there is a risk of copy cats, the greater risk is to never put your idea out there and leave your business dreams unfulfilled and the world deprived of something brilliant…we can’t have that, can we?
Inspiration or copying?
First, let’s quickly define copying.
A lot of great ideas are built off the back of other great ideas. You may have had a bad or good experience with a product or service that leaves you with a view on how it might be done better. You’ve read a book, watched a movie, stared at a painting that inspires you to design something new. Maybe you have seen a product or service that you could apply to a different or niche market segment, one that you have some expertise in? These are all great – you are drawing inspiration from the world around you. Inspiration is awesome.
So what is the difference between being inspired by something and copying something?
Copying is where you add no new value, no creative twist, you just take something that someone else has created and try and pass it off as your own. It’s lazy, uninspired and ever so uncool.
What to do:
So how do you handle copy cats?
Accept that there will always be imitation
If you cant change it, accept it. There will always be folks out there that don’t have the creativity or smarts to come up with something unique. Demand drives competition but competition also drives awareness which can in turn produce a larger market for your products.
Try to stay emotionally disconnected
It’s really hard not to have an emotional reaction when you see something that you have poured your time, money, effort and passion into for so long being replicated by someone else, but you need to put away the emotions and address this from a business perspective.
Get some legal advice, sometimes just a word from a legal professional is enough to stop them in their tracks, particularly if you have patents, trademarks or can prove you own the copyright.
Copy cats can only replicate what you have created so far, they cannot see the vision in your mind that you have going forward. Don’t let them halt you in your tracks. Keep following your vision, keep creating, keep innovating and they will only ever be able to play catch up.
Focus on your customers
Give your customers no excuse to shop around and every incentive to recommend and refer you. Regardless of how much competition there is the fact remains that happy customers are loyal customers. According to the New York Times, 65% of all new business comes from referrals – keep delivering and the copy cats won’t stand a chance!
Remember what makes your business so unique – you!
They can copy your website, your service, your product but there will only ever be one you. The culture that you create within your business or organisation will be an extension of the person that you are and this will always be unique to itself. Make sure you continue to focus your passion and drive on the business, continue to inspire your staff with your mission and your authentic business and brand will outshine any competition that comes your way.