While you’re in practice, you’re always going to have competition. It might be an identical practice that’s right up in your face or a big operation across town. Instead of getting stressed about having competition, it’s vital to cultivate the right attitude about it and know what steps to take to limit their ability to affect your viability.
There are, factually, ways to limit their effects. Some of them are only helpful if you know about them before problems come up. So please, read this post carefully and look at your own situation now, before you need it (I hope). Take any steps you can to protect your practice from future competition.
Competition may come at you in different ways, and from different directions. Let’s look at some of the situations you might face and how to deal with them.
1. Competition from Your Existing Staff:
Once you have your employees nicely trained and experienced, you might discover that one or more plan to leave and take all your training and heartfelt care with them. In a worst-case scenario, they might plan to open a practice close to you.
This is best dealt with before it happens. To prevent this from happening, add a non-compete clause to your employment contract. Be aware, though, devising a non-compete clause is not as cut-and-dried as it sounds. Employment non-compete laws vary from state to state so seek legal counsel. Just verify that the agreement you draft conforms to the laws in your state. You don’t want to rely on a clause that won’t hold up in court.
2. Competitors Copy Your Ads or Website Content:
Whether it’s being virtually cyberstalked by a competitor that’s copying your Facebook pages and posts verbatim, or someone is copying the ads you’re running on the hiring site Indeed, it is an infringement on your copyrights.
There could also be competitors who copy your successful offerings, such as an OT sensory gym or special summer camp. You can’t prevent someone else from offering the same service, so the best solution is to let the world know about your service as soon as it’s ready. Get the word out on every possible social media and community news channel. Then follow that campaign with constant promotion so that everyone associates your practice’s name with this special service.
To decide on what action to take, you first need to determine how egregious their violations are. The right thing to do might be to put an attorney on the job of terminating their violation of your copyrights. You have to decide if the other person’s action is injurious enough. If it is, take action.
It’s a very smart idea to get legal assistance to explore trademark and copyright laws relating to your services. These things take time so if you’re considering trademarking any names you’re using, do so sooner rather than later so no one beats you to the punch.
3. Competitive Practice Opens in Your Building or Mall:
Before this can happen, get a non-compete clause added to your lease if you’re in a commercial building with a number of units like a strip mall, shopping center, or medical building.
Philosophy of Dealing with Competition
It’s valuable to have the right mindset when you’re facing competition. If you get yourself right in your own mind, it helps you not to take the matter so personally. That can assist you in facing the matter rationally which gives you a stronger position. Here are some tips for you:
Realize that, with any legal battle or litigious issue, even though you might triumph and be on the right side of justice, the problem is that you are going to fight a hell. You can either fight a hell or build a new heaven. You have to decide which you’re going to do before you go in.
Going forward, you have to find the lesson, the blessing or message in every negative experience. If you encounter a nasty competition situation, what can you learn from it? How can you close the door on anything like this happening in the future? Take that action and know you have just made your future stronger.
My dad gave me some great advice for dealing with crazy drivers around me while I was first learning to drive. He said to me, “You have to be aware of what’s going on, on the right and the left. If you focus too hard on the other vehicles, trucks, cars, you’re going to crash. So, stay in your own lane, focus on where you’re going, and speed away from the idiots.” Always good advice. Thanks, Jack!
Finally, there’s a lesson I learned from Robin Sharma, a fabulous author and motivational speaker. He wrote a book called, The 5AM Club. He refers to something he calls “gargantuan competence advantage” or “GCA.”
He points out that there is a ton of “ordinary” competition, but there is almost no competition that is “extraordinary.”
He recommends that you raise your commitment. Step up your standards. Optimize mastery. You will create yourself and your practice as extraordinary. You’ll develop your own gargantuan competence advantage and the competition won’t have a chance.
This is the very best advice I can give you.
For more advice on how to handle the competition, check out our free Peds-A-Palooza webinar for pediatric private practice owners: The Truth About Competition.