How to protect against December's surge in idea theft 🕵️♂️
Last week, around 5.40pm, I heard a commotion outside my home office window.
I sprinted outside and saw 4 large masked men running across my driveway and leaping over the front gate to escape.
I was completely confused. Were they trying to break into the house without realising we were home? Were they trying to steal a car?
I noticed the side fence had been flattened and realised they had run into my driveway via the neighbour’s garden.
After speaking with the police, it turns out they had broken into a house two roads down from us and were using the back gardens (and our driveway) to escape.
The police also told me that December is notoriously the busiest month for burglaries.
This got me thinking.
Does this surge in intrusions apply to SaaS businesses as well? 🤔
It would make sense. December is a great time to use the slower pace to “take inspiration” from other products and services.
In fact, in the last couple of weeks, I caught two founders and a product manager signing up to StoryPrompt to “steal” my ideas.
It felt invasive. Competitors were rummaging through my stuff. I had been burgled.
The only difference is that these burglars were unmasked and left their company email addresses as fingerprints, making them easy to trace.
The inexperienced Gavin would’ve freaked out and called the copyright police.
But now I see it as validation and an opportunity to learn about our market.
If prospects are mentioning us in sales calls with competitors, prompting them to check out our product, I need to learn why.
So here’s how I handle competitors using my product:
Approach with caution
I don’t want to startle them. I assume good intentions and keep it friendly.
Send them an in-app message
I tell them I’m a big fan of their product and suggest a call to chat about the industry.
Learn about the market
On the call, I try to glean as much info about the market as I can. I look for ways to stand out.
Focus on our differences
I steer away from our similarities and tell them we often refer poor-fit customers to them.
Establish a partnership
We agree to refer poor-fit customers to each other and to sync quarterly to share learnings.
When you catch a competitor lurking, don’t be afraid to reach out and build a relationship. Some of my biggest wins have come from the market wisdom they’ve shared with me.
Wishing you a safe and happy festive season! 🎄
See you in 2024,