As an entrepreneurial business owner in South Africa, I can attest to the fact that there is nothing quite as scary as a new kid on the block. They arrive in your corner of the market all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to stake their claim – positively frothing with unfettered enthusiasm.
In my experience, there is one of three ways in which you can react when somebody steps onto a territory you believe to be yours and yours alone:
Alert the media, go on a good old rant on Facebook and accuse the New Kid of all sorts of intellectual property infringement.
Pros of this approach: You’ll have a nice public platform to voice your righteous indignation.
Cons of this approach: You’ll look like a sore loser and it won’t solve your problem – they’re not going anywhere.
Stop, collaborate & listen
Take a step back, evaluate their offering, breathe and consider whether it may be worth your while to join forces and collaborate with the New Kid. There are businesses all around the globe that have similar names and similar service offerings – in the
There are businesses all around the globe that have similar names and similar service offerings – in the end it’s all about who has the best product/service and offers the best customer service.
Pros of this approach: If the New Kid is open to collaboration you could be opening a brand-new revenue avenue you didn’t even know existed.
Cons of this approach: They could laugh in your face – so be cool with that from the outset.
Up your game
If the collaborative approach is not your idea of a good time OR the New Kid laughs in your face when you recommend it, there is only one way to go – up your game. Do your homework, deconstruct their business plan and then ensure that your offering is still the best. This could mean that you have to streamline your website, get a young buck on board to inject some youth culture in the mix or simply touch base with all your existing clients to foster some brand loyalty. Whatever it takes, it won’t be a wasted effort.
Pros of this approach: You’ll be forced to shake things up – always good!
Cons of this approach: Nada. Zilch. It’s literally all good.
In summation – there will always be a New Kid competitor just around the next bend. Instead of expending your energy on sabotaging their efforts, rather channel all that heat under your collar towards effective collaboration or stepping up your game. Your business has to evolve to stay relevant, and this could very well be the kick in the pants you needed to revitalize your efforts.
LEILANI’S TOP TIP:
When choosing a business name and URL, it can help a lot to add an ‘SA’ at the end if your goal is to reach South African audiences (e.g. Date Night SA, Pet-Friendly SA). It differentiates your offering from similar businesses abroad and immediately gives you a digital niche edge. It’s also beneficial to buy all the domain variants that could potentially point to your business.