I know it’s not the comforting to hear, but this happens. Ideas rub off onto others, and sometimes, whether they mean to or not, they begin using those ideas. Nevertheless, it’s a shock to realize that a local competitor has taken your IP and copied it — sometimes unabashedly.
At GreenCup we had a direct local competitor that was very similar in pricing and in offerings. I hated that I would be jealous when a potential client chose them over us. But I’m sure they felt the same way about us, sometimes! I have since seen other groups or coaches take my ideas and run with them. Like I said, it happens.
One of the most important things to remember is that no one can duplicate YOU. They can steal your ‘style’ and copy your content, but trust is built with clients in the actual work. You have a special sauce that has clearly been working for you. They can try to follow what you’re doing, but they didn’t create it, which means that there will always be something missing.
Please also remember that there are thousands of potential clients in your region, not to mention nationwide or internationally if you serve those markets. Not to mention that we are seeing mass migrations across the country, meaning you have new potential clients and customers pouring into your area. Only a cross section of those are your ideal client, of course, but you definitely have what it takes to attract them.
So focus on your work. Focus on the invitation. Focus on innovating to make things even better and keep your edge. And consider how can you get in front of your ideal client first, or even after they’ve gone with the competitor to show that you are a lovely option should they ever be displeased? Where are they looking? The worst thing you can do is become distracted from growing your beautiful work because you’re concerned with another business.
Now, how do you protect your IP? There’s trademarking and copywriting, sure, and they are fair options. But ultimately there’s not a whole lot that can be done without spending a lot of money in lawsuits. I’m happy to look over your online presence to make sure there are no leaks, but most likely they took what they could and guessed about the rest, which means your business still works better.
Keep it up,