How to Deal with Your Copycat Competitors
Filipino Gen X would remember this Pinoy limerick that kids would shout at play. We often teased playmates and younger siblings "gaya-gaya putomaya (copycat!)" until they run back home crying.
Fortunately in business, while it is so easy to copy the products, services, business models of other companies and individuals, it is difficult to replicate success by being a copycat competitor.
In the Philippines, the community quarantine brought out the 'entrepreneur-side' of Filipinos. Because everyone stayed home and many lost their jobs and businesses, people rushed to trade and sell different products and services to survive. It sparked both innovators and Copycat Businesses. After Juana's Instagram-based Japanese stone wares and ceramics shop became a hit, copycat businesses started selling the same items after a couple of weeks.
At Six Sigma PH, after establishing it in 2013, we are having our fair share of copycats. I saw (and still see) them liking and following us "see-first" on Facebook Pages. There are two owners of our competitors who even created multiple email addresses to join our mailing lists, workshops, and it reached a point where they copied our marketing copies, and pitches word-for-word.
I admit it used to annoy me, until I realized that they are always far away from Six Sigma PH because they are so focused on what they are doing- being mediocre.
Instead on being obsessed following your industry's leader, take time to assess the market, talk to your customers about their current needs and wants, and always be open in improving your products and services.
According to CEO Robert Glazer, here's what you should be doing instead of wasting your energy worrying about copycats:
- Focus on your customers. A lot of companies waste more energy worrying about the competition than about their own customers and clients. Take care of the clients you have, first and foremost.
- Create open channels for feedback. Great ideas often come from stakeholders, so listen to customers, partners, employees etc. They might key you into something they need that the market is not providing today.
- Keep an eye on emerging trends. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and blockchain are transforming many industries. Consider how these and other trends might change your business and market.
- Reinvent your own business before someone else does. Don’t assume that the competitive advantage you have today will last forever. Someone can always do better. Resting on your laurels is just as dangerous, if not more so, than resigning yourself or your company to the realm of pale imitation.
The next time you competitor makes another copycat move, look at them, then smile and say... "You are nothing, but a second-rate trying-hard copycat!".
PS: Today is March 4, 2021. Six Sigma PH will launch its cute character "Sigmi" in the next few days. We expect our competitors to follow 🤣 🤣 🤣