Growth

3 ways to handle competitors, copycats and rivals

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

Smarter Staff
Smarter Writer

This article has been written by the Smarter Business™ Staff Writers

3 ways to handle competitors, copycats and rivals.

Copycats and clones, or more sensibly referred to as competitors, are simply a fact of life. Even back in the 3rd Century BC, the book of Ecclesiastes was summing small business up quite succinctly with ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. 

While this reality might feel somewhat defeatist to fledgling entrepreneurs, we believe there’s comfort to be found in the familiar and much to be learned from your imitators. 

Here, are three ways to grow, learn from and even get behind your rivals before they get to you:

two rams butting heads

2. Partner up

We realise this goes against every gut instinct you have and you just want them to go away never to be seen again, that’s probably how (the greatly diminished social network) MySpace once felt about Facebook. 

However, visit The New MySpace and you’ll notice that you can now sign in using, yes, you guessed it, using your Facebook account details. 

It would be small-minded to consider this a defeat. 

After much introspection, MySpace realised their true strength lies in their massive catalogue of independent music. By allowing their users to directly share their own playlists on Facebook not only increases MySpace's reach, but it can also change a user's perception of the brand as open and collaborative.

3. Execute (and we don’t mean the medieval way)

As writer Audre Lorde once and very poetically said, ‘there are no new ideas, only new ways of making them felt’. You might have a similar singular product to your competitor but creating a concept to go along with it is an entirely different thing. 

Are they looking directly at our customers? Then it’s time to expand your customer reach by thinking global. Talk to overseas publications for interview opportunities and get your message even further out there. 

Try talking to your loyal customer base and find out what they love about your product or business and reward them by giving them more of what they want.  

So when you’re next faced with a copycat company remember this quote from popular business strategist Marie Forleo, ‘when it comes to money and creativity, there’s always more from where that came from.’

Questions to ask yourself

  1. Is there a way you and your competitor can work together? 
  2. Can you celebrate the similarities and the differences at the same time? 
  3. Could you even reap the benefits of your individual followings by creating a conglomerate of businesses that still remain separate entities?

Image shows two people using free Wi-Fi in a café.
Tech Solutions
Tech Solutions
Be my guest: How guest Wi-Fi services benefit small businesses as well as customers

While ordering a coffee or taking a break while shopping, many customers will take advantage of free Wi-Fi. However, there are many ways small businesses can also benefit by pr...

Example of some of the analysis featured in the Business Benchmark Report.
Success Stories
Success Stories
How does your business compare? Find out with a tailored benchmarking report

Every 2018 Telstra Business Awards entrant receives a custom benchmarking report packed with tailored business analysis relative to other small businesses, plus clear advice on...

Violet Roumeliotis, 2017 Telstra Business Woman of the Year.
Success Stories
Success Stories
Press for progress: Business Woman of the Year helps families find their feet

Violet Roumeliotis, Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year 2017, shares her experiences as a migrant and woman helping to improve people's lives. As told to Stuart Ridle...

Jen Geale, Mountain Bikes Direct
Success Stories
Success Stories
Being digital-only gives Mountain Bikes Direct the competitive advantage

Since launching online in 2012, Mountain Bikes Direct has supplied customers Australia-wide with specialist mountain bike equipment. Co-founder Jen Geale says e-commerce made i...