How to prevent copycat startups?

In today’s world, nothing goes unnoticed as well as your business ideas. Many entrepreneurs and companies take, copy and sometimes improve existing products while leaving to the creators nothing but anger and frustration. From Facebook with “Stories” to Germany's Samwer brothers with Rocket Internet. So how do you make sure your idea is not being copied?

Secrecy and Startups

The process, each and every entrepreneur goes through, requires a large degree of transparency and at times publicity:

  • During the commitment stage, the idea is first exposed to the team. In this context, trust is further backed up by confidentiality agreements.

  • Word of mouth starts the preparation for the launch and the first steps towards marketing are executed.

  • During the traction stage, you are testing your product’s feasibility and conducting market validation interviews. The pilot users are the second collective of people to have access to the features and specifications of your offer.

  • The solution is again illustrated and elucidated during public events. Its characteristics are now widely known.

After this explanation you may start wondering if it is de facto possible to impede the coming of look-alike businesses.


You can’t.

The true title of this article should be “How to defend your company from copycat startups”. We won’t sweeten the pill and claim that imitation is the highest form of flattery, nor we will try to explain that every idea is an offshoot of a bigger concept and thus more than one person might arrive at your same conclusion.

What we will attempt to do is give you the best practices in order to differentiate yourself in a market filled with clones.

Customer care

Fostering loyalty in the early stages will prevent clients from switching sides down the line. The following are customer service habits which will leave a positive mark in their minds.

Sign it!

Depending on the resources you have, chances are that as an entrepreneur in the beginning, you will take the responsibility to interact with your clientele. Our advice is to include in any communication your signature.

“Most people understand that leaders have their hands full, so they’re more likely to be appreciative when those leaders make the time to help them out personally”(Pienaar, n.d)


With the advent of bots and automatic replies in both emails and social media, prospects now tend to appreciate human and personalized sentences every now and then.

Create a support culture

Advocate and encourage your team to become great communicators and be flexible to changes. In many cases, the structure and roles will be reformed and reshaped at unknown intervals.

Ask for feedback

Stimulate great conversations, explore their interest in the product and try to receive as many comments as possible about the features. Listening is vital to deepen relationships.


Formation is followed by transformation.

Ninety-three percent of executives surveyed by global professional services company Accenture stated that innovation is critical to their company's long-term success.  (Tredgold, 2018)
While duplicates with your same offer may appear, they cannot copy your thinking process.
Slight modifications, increased number of features and complementary services will ensure your position in the market and separate your business from the homogeneous aggregate of enterprises.

Observe and evaluate customers’ observations to implement new components and thus add new value.


Build an identity people will recognize and remember, it helps to differentiate you from all the other startups struggling to earn attention in a marketplace. Furthermore, people will become your soldiers when they will notice ditto armies ready to attack you.

Consider building a personal brand

Having a face on your company helps clients relate and connect more. The hardships and challenges you face will become theirs.

“As a co-founder, building up my personal brand was not only an excellent way to get in front of a wide audience, but also one of the best ways to build up our brand’s credibility, and therefore, keep one step ahead of the smaller copycats out there.”  (Garcia, 2019)

Secure a wide network and investment opportunities

Participating in multiple events will spread brand awareness. By the same token, strategic partnerships and funding are other benefits that might arise. The protection of a bigger company or new capital flows will prove useful in retaliating to mimic startups.

The Finals of Present Your Startup are the perfect venue to meet brilliant, creative and resourceful minds and entities.

Do you want to attend? Go to:

Written by Steven Pango