Archive for January, 2011

When the Competition Copies You!

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

In our modern society and marketplace it’s hard to be original. It seems all good (& bad) ideas have been tried.

I should've thought of that!

I should have thought of that!

Dollars and dreams have been pursued and wasted, some things catch on while others don’t.  And more often than not a good idea poorly executed goes nowhere – which in my opinion is one of the  main reasons small businesses fail.

But when you have a good idea and someone copies it, try taking it as a compliment. And do not fret if they’re a competitor of yours, as their efforts will only force you to enhance your own. I know that’s easier said than done but it’s something I try to keep in mind. Especially considering that:

  • In 1999 I copied a company from Marin County where I grew up. They were a multi-million dollar organization while I was just a start up.
  • In 2001 I copied the other local newspapers by building a website. It sounds ridiculous but back then not everyone had websites nor thought they were worth the investment. I’m glad I did.
  • Throughout the years I’m sure I’ve copied or “borrowed” ideas from many sources and most recently in 2010 we copied Groupon by launching Axxess Daily Deals. It’s been a huge hit for our clients and subscribers and I’m well aware of others trying to enter the market. Are they copying Axxess or are they copying Groupon like I did? And does it matter? Probably not.
  • Google tried to buy Groupon and their $6 Billion offer was rejected just a month ago. This week they announced they are launching their own service – and guess what? They’re copying Groupon.

My point is that all good ideas get copied: books, movies, pick up lines, software, businesses, consumer products, etc. Just think how many brands of ibuprofen or toilet paper there are. Starbucks owns the coffee market and McDonald’s owns the fast food market, so McDonald’s copies Starbucks with their McWhateverLatte and boom – they’re now competing with the coffee giant. Before we know it, Starbucks will be serving assembly line burgers and kickass french fries. Sorry, I digress…

Anyway, like most people I strive for originality – but I also know a good thing when I see it…and know when to copy it! Hopefully it makes everyone better in the long run.

I doubt anyone ever copied this idea

One idea we WON'T be copying!