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    How 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

    Is your business equipped to manage 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, we look at how you can grow, learn from and even get behind your rivals before they get to you.

    two rams butting heads

    Partner up

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

    However, visit MySpace today and you’ll notice that you can now sign in using, yes, you guessed it, 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.

    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.’

    Keep in mind that customers expect to easily find information about your business online. Build your online presence by ensuring your website is up to scratch, offering the online payment or booking methods customers expect, implementing basic search engine optimisation (SEO) methods and prioritising how you manage online reviews. Explore the Telstra Business Intelligence series to find out how your business can keep up with the pace of change.

    Article updated.

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