Sometimes, when you realise your industry is becoming saturated with competitors, stop trying to fight against them and think about how you can turn this into an opportunity.
I always remember meeting the founders of The Soap Kitchen many years ago when the husband and wife team were starting up from their dining table. Over the years, their business grew as did their competitors.
Instead of fighting against them and getting consumed with worry, they looked at the opportunity this presented. They decided to adapt their business model. Rather than continuing to just make soap, they started running workshops teaching their competitors how to make soap. But taking it further, they also started supplying them with raw materials.
The business exploded and four years ago they moved from their beautiful, but humble dining table to a shop and separate large warehouse with more than 20 staff. It is now the leading DIY soap-making supplier in the UK and Europe.
Today I met a lady who offers a service and has been met with a similar problem. She is in the holistic health and wellness industry and it seems like every other person and their dog is now entering this. Her competitors are growing daily.
She recognised she was having to work harder but not seeing any increase in profits so came to see me. Rather than getting flustered, she went through everything with me and we soon realised a golden opportunity right under her nose where she could help others entering her profession. She could teach courses on how to get to the level that she had reached.
Create opportunities out of problems
Rather than looking at helping her competition adversely affect her, she saw the opportunity to create more income. This would also raise her profile in the industry giving her business visibility. She would now be integrating with competitors rather than trying to avoid them.
If you’re struggling with competitors, consider what hidden opportunities are out there for you. Don’t let your initial panic make you blind to these. If you’ve been in business for a while, and other new faces are appearing, take advantage of this. See how you can help them whilst creating a new income stream for yourself.
You might surprise yourself and find you enjoy it whilst significantly increasing your profits.
On various occasions, I get a call for help from someone who has discovered that another person has started to copy their own content. And here is what I advise when faced with this upsetting situation.
Firstly, whilst incredibly frustrating, don’t fall into the trap of becoming so consumed with this person that you take your eye off your own business. This will be giving her a wholly unfair advantage if you start to let things slip at your end because you are so enraged and obsessed with what they are doing. You will be walking straight into their trap. Acknowledge what they are up to and then ….. ignore them!
Yes, easier said than done I know but if you don’t, the situation will eat away at you and cause you no end of stress and sleepless nights.
If they are directly copying work that you have copyrighted or are using your trade name etc, you can go through the legal channels to get them to stop. However, if they are just taking your ideas and using for their own business, there is nothing you can do to stop them. And to be perfectly honest, how original are your ideas? There is rarely a new idea out there these days. Everything tends to be a variation of something that has been done before.
Focus on YOUR business and YOUR customers
What you need to be doing is focusing on YOUR business and YOUR customers.
If this other person has to copy your ideas, they are going to seriously struggle in the long term when the harsh realities of running a business kick in. If they are so short of their own ideas and have no imagination, they will just be a poor imitation of you.
And there is only one you. And that is the one everyone loves. They are NOT you and never can be. Your work has your personality and vibrancy injected into it. This other person cannot physically have this. Some people may prefer their style of working and some will prefer yours. That’s life!
Keep in contact with your own customers. Keep talking to them, finding out what they love and what they would like to see more of. Keep building those relationships so if your customers see her work, they will still come back to you.
Don’t waste any more of your energy on this person. Use all your energy for continuing to focus on building your own fabulous business.
And at the end of the day, be flattered. People are obviously sitting up, taking notice and talking about you or otherwise you wouldn’t have attracted this attention.
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