Ever had a friend who copies you? It might be your clothing or your homewares? It happens in business too, that’s why being clear on what you set out to achieve and ‘staying the course’ of your goals is what matters. Nobody can copy the authentic you.

Whether it’s your ideas being repeated back to you, recognising elements of your logo or direct copy of your content, mimicry is the highest form of flattery. You must be good to be worthwhile copying.

There’s ways to approach it when someone is copying you. You could call them. You could call it out publically. Or you could let it go. Or you could take a legal position, after all you may own the intellectual property. What is the best strategy?

We believe in being clear on doing what you love and finding a way to make money from it are the keys.

Copycats are impressed by your work, clearly, but it can feel awful seeing your creative genius being copied. Think about it this way, it’s a marketing opportunity for you that will keep you sharp. Your promotion is being done for you and you get to think of the next latest idea to keep you ahead of the pack.

Copycats are promoting you free of charge!

There’s a reason we identify a small blue box with Tiffany. Or purple with Cadbury. They’ve spent endless hours and creative energy building those brands. But why would you want to copy them?

Create your own life and live your own dream not someone else’s.

On her most recent webinar, Chelsea Ford spoke about the hedgehog concept developed by management consultant, Jim Collins, to illustrate three keys to being the best version of yourself and doing what you love.

The Hedgehog Concept

Collins said the hedgehog, unlike the fox, knows he needs to be outstandingly good at one thing, and in the hedgehog’s case, it’s defending itself. The fox tries to outsmart the hedgehog by dodging and weaving, but the hedgehog, who is slow, knows that it needs to do just one thing brilliantly, and that is what it does, be itself. With knowing that one thing, the hedgehog has utter clarity. The hedgehog’s clarity makes him so much more focused than the fox whose busy running around chasing the slow hedgehog.

1. What are you passionate about?

It’s not easy to be focused but without it, a lot of time can be wasted. Ever thought ‘I’ll just check out my instagram feed for a moment’ and before you know it, that moment has become ½ hour?! What about meeting someone for coffee and thinking that you’ll just be an hour but by the time you get there, order coffee, catch up and pick something up for dinner and before you know it two hours have passed!

Focus and clarity are the keys.

When we’re clear on what we want to achieve and what’s important to us, it’s easier to stay on track. Determining your passion, is as simple as, think about where your mind wanders to when you aren’t doing anything. It’s that place that our passion lies.

Our passion is our happy place.

2. What can you be the best in the world at?

As a startup you may not be able to afford to outsource all tasks but it doesn’t mean we can’t play to our strengths.

“success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it”.

Maya Angelou, American poet, memoirist and civil rights activist

Here’s some questions to help you move towards your ***happy place***

  1. Why is what you do important to you?
  2. How does what you do affect and improve other people’s lives?
  3. What change would you like to see in the world?

Commit to something. Things we commit to define us. The best enterprises know exactly who they are talking to and how to talk to them.

3. How can you make money.

Making money is a combination of many factors and the hedgehog concept is a confluence of them all. The thing is, making money cannot be done in isolation. Without the passion and the expertise, there is no value.

To make money, ask yourself, do people want what I have? Is there a market for my product? Often products are created because we want to solve a problem but it may not be a large enough problem for enough people to make it financially viable for you. Testing your product is an important part of this process.

Many, 40%, women led start-ups, start because they’re looking to solve a problem that we can’t find a solution for, such as gluten free bread or nut-free pesto. Women follow their passion and hone their skills but often overlook the money making part.

Build it and they will come doesn’t apply here.

Testing can be as simple as putting posts up on social media and asking for feedback. You could also build a simple survey and email the link out to your network. Whatever method you decide to use, ask your friends and family to forward it to their networks. The wider your audience is the stronger your results will be.

Others cannot imitate your passion and purpose.

Copycats may try to copy what you do but they cannot copy how you do it. That’s all you. The building blocks of business; passion, expertise and return on investment, the hedgehog process, applies to all businesses and social enterprises. Following these three steps may take time but finding your passion, promoting what you’re great at and working out how to make money by doing what you love are essential ingredients for a good life.

We’d love to hear your comments or how you deal with copycats. Leave a comment below and share your thoughts and experience.

The Females in Food team