On the face of it just about everything can be copied, ripped off and duplicated – and much is. From famous brands of handbags and sunglasses offered on the streets of many a European city, to car designs where only the makers’ badge enables one to be distinguished from another – nothing is sacred, nothing is protected, it’s all up for grabs.
So what should you do with your new idea or initiative. Do you try and keep it secret? That will mostly make it pointless of course if your advantage is derived from promoting being innovative. Do you get a patent, trademark or copyright? – often the effort and cost negates any value you may derive and anyway, these are infringed all the time with little or no consequence. Do you promote it far and wide to attempt to not only gain first mover advantage but to seek ubiquity by being the pioneer? That is likely to be very expensive and with no guarantee it will work.
On the face of it the copycats have the advantage but I believe there are 7 things at least you can do to fight back against them.
- Make yours even better. Competition can, make that should, spur you on to make continuous improvement.
- Look on the rip off merchants as your promoters. They will make new prospects aware of their product/service but in doing so they also bring to attention the other alternatives, including your original proposition.
- Embed your initiative culturally – make it yours and highlight that it’s only a part of what you do. Let your initiative suggest that this is one of the many ways you pioneer and innovate, cause your team to feel proud to be the innovators
- Brand it really well. Make your idea stand out and be memorable not least for being “the first and the best”.
- Bundle it with your other ideas – make it one of several features.
- Make the invisible, visible – amplify every detail of why your original is better than the “Johnny come lately” – this could be as simple as longevity: “our xyz is tried, tested and trusted by many people….”
- Rip yours up and start again. Give the competition the biggest headache ever – whilst they’re promoting their version 1.1 (yours was 1.0), come to the market with your 2.0.
There will always be bargain hunters who will argue that a knock off is just as good, but deep down they know it’s second best at best. A good fake Rolex might fool many people at first glance but never the wearer – they know it’s a poor imitation every time they put it on.
If you would like your business to profitably grow, combat the new models and address the constant stream of issues the industry is facing then follow in the footsteps of many of the best estate agencies in the country and join one of our Mastermind Leadership Groups.
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