Oh boy. This is a HUGE issue for so many people. We work our butts off to create amazing products, we actually sit down and do our pricing, we register our kitchens, we do our marketing and we do ALL the right things…and yet some cow down the road doesn’t register her kitchen, charges close to nothing, and then STEALS all our clients from us.
Seriously. The nerve of some people.
Even worse is that lady down the road who not only steals our clients, but she steals our IDEAS too. We post a cute picture of a bunny cake…and the next day, she posts a bunny cake. We offer a winter special on cupcakes…and she offers a winter special on cupcakes. I mean it’s flattering and all – but COME ON LADY.
So the question is…what should you do in this situation? Should you:
a. Call her up and give her a piece of your mind,
b. Call the local food compliance authorities and tell on her,
c. Email her and suggest that she might want to read this blog or let her know about food laws (because maybe she has no idea that what she’s doing is illegal),
d. Submit fake reviews on social media which mention her unregistered kitchen, rude manner and her very large and hairy dog that wanders into her kitchen while she’s decorating,
e. do a LOT of complaining about her on social media,
f. Ignore her. You’ve got better things to do.
Truth is, it’s probably REALLY tempting to do ALL of those things to a degree. It’s seriously freaking annoying when you’ve gone to the trouble and effort to do things the right way and others haven’t. It’s even more annoying when they copy you and what you’re doing.
Of the above choices, don’t ever do a, b, d or e. Honestly those are just plain pointless things to do and a complete waste of your already precious time. As for c – I’d LOVE it if I could convince you to extend the hand of friendship to one another, but I know that’s not always possible or reasonable to expect. Sometimes you know for sure that other person KNOWS they are in the wrong, sometimes you’ve had previous run-ins, sometimes you’re just not comfortable with reaching out. If however you are willing to reach out, I would recommend that if you do it by PHONE not by email, since email has no tone of voice and can easily be misconstrued.
Mostly though, I’d suggest going with option f. Sure, the undercutters and copycats can be really, really frustrating and annoying – so step one is just to get them out of your life. Unfollow their business page, block them from your page, stop looking at their website and just pretend they don’t exist. Truth is, they are not your problem and if they are charging so little and doing it all so wrong, they are unlikely to last terribly long anyway. I want you to have a long-term business, and surviving in business long-term means you are going to outwit, outlast, and outplay the others who will come along that are just dabbling in it.
Step two is to keep on being your amazing self. Keep marketing. Keep innovating. Keep pushing yourself to try new things, extend your skills, do more marketing and carry on with creating the business that you want to have. Let’s be honest, for a little while there we were no different to that lady down the road. We too did stuff illegally for a while, and we too charged too little for a while. It’s no big deal that the lady down the road is still doing it – what matters it that you were brave enough and smart enough to grow from that point to where you are now. As for our friend the copycat…you know, the thing about copycats is that no matter how hard or fast they run, they will ALWAYS be behind you, eating your dust.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s more important to be building the road ahead of me than worrying about who is in the dust behind me.