I would like to say a BIG HELLO to all our new members this week!
This week I thought we could talk about COMPETITION...
When my friend Sally and I launched our Nursery School it was literally six months and another two local Nurseries had popped up with the same name! I also found out an acquaintance had renamed her Nursery School the same as ours about 18 months after we opened.
My second business we had the logo traced, we had other businesses pop up with the exact same name but they dropped the 'S' off the end. We have had shops pop up with exactly the same products, page by page, I could go on and on and on here but I won't bore you with the small stuff. At the time I was furious, upset and I had no idea how to handle it. With over fifteen years in business I can now promise you I really am not that bothered, I don't waste my energy looking at who is copying me. I feel really flattered that so many people see what I have done with each business as inspiring to them. Surely it is a sign of success if someone wants to emulate what you have created?
I really do understand how awful it can feel but I think the more you network with your competitors and build relationships with them, the healthier it is for all concerned. I would much rather work with my competition than against them.
I have wasted so many hours of my time, writing emails, getting angry, talking about it to anyone that would listen!
It can sometimes be a bit of a grey area as there are not that many business ideas that are totally unique lets be honest ladies but I do think you should try and protect your intellectual property as far as you can.
There is a useful page HERE and we are also very lucky to have a trade mark attorney as an expert in the hub.
Somebody asked me at a 'Focus Meet' the other day if I would ever consider limiting how many people there were from each industry. My reply to that is I see completion as healthy in the whole and I love the idea that I can work with other online retailers, share problems, help each other come up with solutions. My top tip would be 'try and see your competition as a positive thing. Competition makes me work harder to offer more, be better, focus on my loyal customers, offer better customer service, competition makes me work harder! Nothing stays the same for long and I love that business is all about moving on, spotting opportunities and running with them. I love that book called 'Big Magic' that talks about opportunities knocking on your door and if you don't accept the offering they just hop along to the next person.
I really do think there is room for us all and it really doesn't take long for the people with 'copy cat businesses' soon find their own style and they push us to work even harder to be the best at whatever it is we are doing!
I hope you all enjoyed the Q&A with Alice J Talbot last night as much as I did. We are so lucky to have the most amazing women in this group. If you ever fancy doing your own LIVE Q&A just drop us an email and we can get it arranged.
Love Hayley x
(Please excuse grammar and spelling, I am all about heart & passion NOT PERFECTION)