Creating business barriers when they don't exist

Is your business idea very good but easily replicable?  This is a part of business development that will never cease to exist. How many times have you seen a business idea and thought "Why did I not think of this before?" At the same time, you might also think "I could set this up too in about three days". The business question we are going to answer today is "How can one prevent others from copying their business model" . With this idea in mind we are going to talk about 7 barriers that we can place in our business to stop others from copying and stealing our idea, preventing competitors from immediately operating in our market. 


With the same ease that crossed your mind, maybe others could too jump into the business. An entry barrier in business dificults or limits the entrance of other competitors to your same market.

Technology

Basing your business model in Tech and investing in research and development is a nice way of preventing other companies and competitors from copying your very same idea. If your idea is related to high tech industry that  allows you to offer a product or service that is superior to other competitors out there, then competitors will find it hard to replicate and scale your business. If the product requires deep knowledge or specialization in a specific field, then the risk of enterin that market sector is higher for competitors.

Knowledge

Falling one step behind of having nice high technology products we find the knowledge on how to produce it.  This knowledge not only has to be about the product itself, but can also be related to your production costs and strategy. Any knowledge to be fair. The more specialized and precise your knowledge is regarding any special features of your product or service, the harder it will be for other competitors to figure out how to make it and hence the longer it will take them to emulate and mimic your results.


Knowledge is key and it can be very sutile too. From knowing how to optimize costs to reduce your prices - becoming more competitive in the market , to having the right expertise in taking care of customer relationships. 

patents

If your key idea is very technical, then both knowledge and technology can be patented to prevent other competitors from using your designs or inventions and ideas.  To be fair, patent breaches are a daily basis in today's world, with many law disputes in many countries trying to overcome and override or protect one patent from other competitors. However, these too become an entry barrier since costs for patent lawsuits are expensive.  It is very hard for a small startup to compete against giant multinationals in expensive patent lawsuits, since these normally require money, time and resources to carry out.


Patenting your products can be a very good way to prevent others from stealing your intelectual property (or your company's). It stops rivals from considering entering into the market, and disturbs the access of other competitors, who will need to find a way around the existing patent in order to access the market with a similar but not exactly the same idea as yours.


In Hamro Dev we specialise in world patents too, don't hessitate in giving us a call if you hae any doubts or questions.


Contracts

In very concentrated markets where few but big clients exist, the existance of long lasting contracts with several years of duration prevent the entrance of other competitors into the market since they haven't got enough space to manouver and win new clients. Being the first - in this case - means being quick enough to capture the main clients in the market so that others find it difficult to copy your business model with profitable results. 

what to do if you can't create more traditional entry barriers?

The barriers we previously talked about are indeed nice and useful in a theoretical level. The truth is that in many cases for most businesses models these don't exist - and if they do, they exist adding a very limited barrier to your competitors. 


Most businesses don't need to invest a lot of money into either of these three (such as travel agencies, restaurants, schools and academies...) So what can these companies do? If your idea requires none of the above, then when successful, many competitors will rise. What to do then?


Again, know-how is key to success, and being a little bit ingenious can help you and your business out.

creating communities of people around your business idea.

Being the first to step into a business give you certain advantages over any future competitors, but it also means a lot of pressure for you to move quickly and manouver fast.


If you create a nice community of users around your business idea to stand for it and take good care of your customers then other competitors will stumble upon an extra barrier. This is why branding and good marketing are such keys into creating successful products.


For instance, coca cola is a very simple product to produce and it's composition is no longer patented. However, due to the inmense branding power of this company as well as the billions of dollars that it invests in marketing, when one user thinks of getting a beverage, coca cola is always in their head  - and no matter where the country.

creating additional packs with additional services

Think of alliances. This is why networking is such an important concept. You never know what a contact will be useful for and then one day something comes up and you realize that you can talk with this person or that person and cooperate to grow bigger and faster.


Some companies exist that can offer complementary services to yours, creating an added value that is difficult to beat. Being able to propose win-win deals for you and your allies and partners can make your business run smoother than any competitor, offering products or services that are more complete and better.


For example, by teaming up with youtube producers, companies like Udemy or Skillshare came up with a good way of creating awareness for their new product. By offering special content that can only be found in their platforms, they attract new potential customers and users to use their platforms just because these people are there.


And it's not only skillshare or udemy. This is becoming a standard business practice in any market. HBO had Game of Thrones heavily promoted to stand out from their competitors. Despite the fact that for a long time HBO didn't have a mobile app for their streaming service, they managed to pace up and compete against other established brands in the market such as NETFLIX or Google.

offering free service for one year.

If you have the right financial resources, then a strategy to amass as much market as possible could be to offer your service for free to your users for one year (or a long period of time). This way, other competitors will have it much more difficult to generate revenue from offering the same service as you do, since you already offer it for free.


For example, would you use a pay to use calendar app, if you already knew that Google or apple offer this functionality for free on their phones?  This strategy tries to obtain a high market quota to then transform the service into a premium service or offer complementary services that do require some sort of payment.


Other companies such as UBER introduced heavy rebates for their drivers. If an UBER driver did over 100 rides a week, then UBER would return their money comission (meaning uber wouldn't charge them any money per ride). This aggressive marketing offer positioned UBER as the best company for potential drivers to choose from. Other companies simply didn't have the money or resources to do this,  and therefore UBER gained the highest market quota in the app transportation industry.


What other ways do you think you can prevent competitors from stealing your business ideas?

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