How to Deal With Copycats

"You can copy without trying...hearing/seeing something a numerous amount of times embeds it into your subconscious...be careful of ideas that aren't yours.”

As an entrepreneur, you are a visionary and a creator, you have the responsibility to not only conceptualize but to also nurture, maintain, and grow your business; similar to the way a mother births and raises a child.

If a parent allows their child to play at a park, even though there is a sea of other children at play, that parent can still identify and pick their child out of the lot. As a business owner, you can cancel out all the background noise and recognize your brand, business strategies, and ideas. This is leading me into this posts topic...How to deal with copycats?

1. Protect Your Business

Always have contracts in place, make sure your business name, logo, branding materials, and projects are trademarked and copy written. Register your business, take advantage of confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, and when in doubt always seek legal counsel.

2. Don't Give Copycats Free Promotion

It is very difficult to sit back and watch a copycat at work...I mean you work long hours...put your blood, sweat, and tears into something so of course it’s common to want to call them out. Personally, I can be confrontational, but completely ignoring a copycat is something I recommend. People copy either out of jealousy or because they're inspired and feel what you are doing is working. I say don't fuel them by giving them your attention. If legal action needs to be taken let your lawyer tend to them.

3. Keep Your Brand Strategies a Secret

It is very common to get overzealous and discuss your new ideas and concepts with family, friends, colleagues, etc. A rule of thumb -no matter how close you are to completing a project or even if the project is completed, do not discuss it with anyone outside of your team (who should have signed Non-Disclosure agreements on file) or make any announcements until you are officially ready to begin marketing the project.

SpongeBob is a good example - Plankton tries time and time and time again to steal the Krabby Patty formula, yet Mr. Krabs has it under lock and key. The Krabby Patty formula is what sets The Krsuty Krab apart from the competition and Mr. Krabs understands and takes extra precaution to protect it.

4. Stay on Top of Industry Trends and Changes

A copycat is not a bad person; however, they will always be 10 steps behind you. A carbon copy has to wait until you make your next move before they make theirs, so it is important that you always stay in the know. Continuously study market trends and strategize a way to keep your business at the forefront of all changes.