Do you run a successful company with brilliant ideas and an impeccable reputation? Well, we kinda hate to break it to you, but the odds are – someone’s probably already copying you. To steal someone’s strategies is somewhat considered a form of flattery. At least according to the proverbs. However, dealing with a business copycat is usually no picnic. Still, there’s some good news. You can manage to overcome this situation and stay ahead of the game! How so? Take a deep dive and take it from us. Tactics to develop when having to do with copycat entrepreneurship are actually quite simple. What’s more – they’re fail-proof! If done correctly, of course.
Ready to protect your ideas & brand? Let’s do this.
Can a brand be copied?
But like – for reals? And should we start by answering this question from the legal, ethical, metaphysical, or creative POV? Which perspective is the essential one here? Anyhow, the answer should be no. In theory. But in reality – business copycats are all over the place.
If you’ve been doing things the right way, you most likely have proven tactics to boost your brand, enhance its recognition, collect positive notions from job applicants, satisfied clients, and users. Moreover, your staff is probably happy just where they are, and you’ve managed to obtain an excellent employee experience. All these factors combined make your firm the ultimate target of brand thieves. Or borrowers, depending on how you look at things.
Now, to get things more clear. If someone actually copies your name or logo, that’s a legal issue. Yes, brand piracy of this kind breaks the trademark laws. On the other hand, if certain businesses watch the ways you handle your marketing and start following your precise footsteps, there’s no legal ground to rely on. But make no mistake about it – there are still ways to triumph!
So, to start with basic terms: What is copycat in business?
The most straightforward definition of a business copycat points to a brand or product that was designed, advertised, or packed to look just like a well-known competitor. But it’s actually more far-reaching and complex than that. You can bump into an impersonator in basically any niche – and many, many forms. Some are more subtle than others. And some are actually doing pretty great – so great that it’s impossible to label them as imitators. They kind of steal a concept, but they go the extra mile and improve it.
So, now you probably get where we’re going with this. The key to winning the battle against those who copy business ideas from you is to improve constantly. Keeping up a fresh approach and establishing outstanding processes internally while taking care of your online reputation is paramount. And we’ll get to more tested tips & tricks on this topic later. But first, let’s take a sneak peek at who borrowed an idea or two from the competitors.
Get ready for copycat business examples
Some are destined to succeed, although the road they took entailed copying someone’s business idea. Others just feel like a forgettable deja-vu. Well, we’ll discuss those who actually made their brand snatching count:
- Instagram borrowed its “stories” from Snapchat,
- Xiaomi copied Apple’s UI,
- Google’s home assistant is strikingly similar to Amazon’s Echo.
These are just the top picks for the most popular snatchers (we all used or at least considered). Do these titans justify being a business copycat? Not likely, but we’d be lying if we said that it didn’t work amazingly for them.
What should you do about copycat competitors
The invasion of brand snatchers is very real. And it’s happening all around us. Your wholehearted efforts will drive results – and you know it. Once they do, that will doubtlessly allure some less inventive and equally determined businesses and make them want to mimic your brand and/or tactics. What can you do? First of all, get used to it and learn to (partially) ignore it. Then, focus on what lies ahead. No matter how tricky it gets, and no matter how irritated you feel about impersonators – you can stay more relevant!
Learn to distribute your attention & don’t give them too much thought
As we once mentioned, a brand is somehow still being perceived primarily as a logo and its visual aspects. If someone attempts to plagiarize your logo, just throw in a Copyright Infringement and contribute it to Facebook/Meta effect. However, some tactics are far more subtle. And yet, you can’t help but notice them.
But here’s the liberating truth: no business idea is fully unique these days. Just ask developers, designers, or investors. And when we tackle the world of digital marketing, the situation is pretty much the same. Each content writer, employer brand specialist, social media or community manager, and everyone in this sphere can testify to having remarkable ideas which have somehow tuned up in their competitor’s online space after a while. And now what?
First of all, make truce with copycats. If you’re doing it right – they’ll unquestionably follow. And here’s another encouraging thought – competition isn’t likely to put an end to your business and its success. However, being distracted will do you harm.
How many companies across the globe came up with a plan to follow the footsteps of Uber? There’s no way to name them all. Yes, Lyft comes to mind, but each state and region now have its very own service that resembles Uber. But did it kill their profits and draw their customers away? That’s right – and neither will your imitators. That is – if you perpetuate good work, boost quality, and promote innovation. Finally, never keep building trust and asking for feedback from your users, customers, or clients. Listen to their needs & be there for them.
Accept that not all brilliant ideas can be turned into a patent
Trademarks and patents and unmistakably significant. They can represent a super-powerful line of defense against copycat competitors. Nevertheless, we live in a modern era. Nowadays, it’s impossible to protect every business idea this way. And even if you could, it would cost you a fortune and drive you toward failure due a massive cash burnout. So, it’s kinda more dangerous than any competitor with an imitation game going on.
However, if your product or service is patentable, never seen before, and completely useful, you can claim it as yours like it’s the 20th century all over again!
Here’s a trick you can use for extra safety – offer NDA agreements to your employees, clients, and business partners. Some projects and objectives simply need this veil of secrecy – and make sure to verify whether you qualify for this sort of contract and how to compose it correctly.
Rant less & do more ass-kicking (metaphorically!)
So, if you’ve come this far, the odds are you’ve already had your share of ranting. This means that you’re familiar with the specific courtesy a competition has shown by sneaking up on your objectives, projects, or ideas. Now, it is about time to truly throw your hat in the ring. Don’t fear them, don’t trash-talk, and don’t get ridiculously mad about them. Just perfect your ways and steal back the thunder.
Here’s your greatest competitive advantage: you’ve done it first! That makes you more courageous. Yes, they’re walking beside you and picking up the bread crumbs. And you’re leading the way. Your position is far more dangerous – and yet so much more rewarding. Never let it slip from your mind. And never stop. Once you stop trying hard & going the extra mile, they’ll manage to turn into full-on bloodsuckers. Align your product with the brand image and reinvent both continuously. Always offer just a bit more. Stay ahead.
Your focus isn’t on a business copycat – You’ve got this!
Some competitors can hardly wait for your… success! They don’t necessarily say their prayers hoping for someone else to fail. On the contrary: fresh, enticing, and qualified competition gives them brand-new insights and powers their strategies. The ultimate piece of advice is to stand your ground and peel your eyes off of others’ attempts to resemble – you. Save your time and energy. Because, guess what – you can recover from basically any financial loss. It can happen in a snap or take a while. But you can never invoke the spirits that will return the time you’ve lost contemplating other’s businesses. Don’t alter your goals ‘cause you felt shook because of the rivalry and business copycats. Stick with the aims you’ve set for yourself – and reinvent the ways of achieving them.