Stealing Someone Else’s Business: Good Or Bad?

The story of how a successful entrepreneur started his own business is always the most compelling marketing tool of all time. How a company started says a lot about the core values of the company and its business. People always dig a rags to riches type of a story.  But these types of marketing success is almost a cliché; the most exciting to know are the complicated, almost considerably unbelievable, stories that didn’t actually start as good as it turned out.


To name a few: Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Ray Kroc of McDonald’s, and Steve Jobs of Apple – you probably might already have an idea of where this story going. These people are known to be trendsetters and game changers in their respective fields. But what do they have in common? They have an undying persistence that is not afraid to cross boundaries and limitations, even if it cost hurting other people. And, to no surprise, it works well with them.





Since those three popular entrepreneurs (it’s not just them, there’s still more) made a mark not only in their industries but also in the whole world, it has somehow become a milestone that every individual would want to reach – you know, being a total pain in the bottom but still turn out to be one of the pillars that makes the world go round.


So, are the people like Zuckerberg, Kroc, and Jobs really someone to be admired? Yeah, sure, the idea is not really theirs, but the persistence to make an existing idea a lot better is exemplary. The persistence to expand the reach of a concept and turn it into a groundbreaking breakthrough is priceless. That makes them visionaries. That made them succeed. But, is it worthy? And how did they make it work?


Well, here’s a little analysis:


The seed is already planted, they’ve just got to water it


It’s a great advantage when you already have something to start with. You will save hours and days of conceptualization. Can you remember in the movie when the Winklevoss twins pitched the idea to Zuckerberg? It was plain. It was a simple concept of a social network for the students in Harvard University. But Mark boosts it to something more interesting – connecting other universities, socializing with other people, and adding more content.



Same goes with planting, stealing an idea or a concept makes it easier to start a business because it’s already planted. Watering it and giving it a little sunlight is not really that much of a job.


They have their own pool of amazing connections


From that moment that the idea is being pitched to you, for sure, you already have a list of friends or contacts that you know can help you with expanding the idea – and these are the people that will stand by your side no matter what. Great people have great friends, and it always come in handy during times like this.


If you want to succeed, you’re sure to create a team that has the same intellectual wavelength as you do. A partnership that is founded by friendship and close interests – like Jobs and Wozniak – but professional enough to give up your close relationship when it comes to handling business and excellence.



They have nothing to be afraid of because they have done the worst


As the perceived bad guy, they already know the worst that could happen. So, they are already prepared for any unfortunate things that may come along the way (or may have already foreseen it). Knowing what might happen gives you an advantage in creating business plans, which includes shutting down their greatest competitors before they overrun their business – same as what Kroc did to the McDonald brothers. No matter what the real story is, the original owners stayed out of the way and leave their business to Kroc. An accomplishment for the latter, although it may sound really too selfish.




The credit will always be theirs, whatever happen


Of course, they cannot outrun the law, and soon the real owners went after them for stealing an idea or concept. But since they made the tini-tiny concept to a tremendously successful business, they have a big chunk of money to spare for court trials (or buying shares). So, the business will still end up in their hands. Right?


Let’s see: Zuckerberg paid a huge of load of money to the Winklevosses, but they didn’t take the business out of his hands and it’s still one of the most successful websites in the world. Facebook and Zuckerberg have become synonymous words.


Kroc, on the other hand, bought the entire share of the McDonald brothers to completely own the entire company that wasn’t his in the first place. Despite the negative retorts on how he got his company, he’s still known to be the guy who sells the amazing Big Mac burgers to everyone else in the world.


Meanwhile, Jobs may have blatantly turned the computer world around with his new inventions in Apple but his shareholders bought him out of the company. Luckily, though, the business went bad when he was out, which made the board decided to take him back. Now, the tech world will not be the same as it was before because of Jobs. And no one can take that away from him.



On A Smaller Scale…

These stories are already written. These are revolutionary stories starred by revolutionary people. These are already in the books. So what about the normal dudes? What about the normal ex-employee who stepped out of your office and built his own company (in the same industry)? What about the former business-partner whom you had a spat with and separated ways, then he later set up his own business to become your biggest competitor?



The extra ordinary cases of Mark, Ray, and Steve happens to every company. There’s always that guy who fell in love too much with what he’s doing and would want to do more but he is limited with his powers. He’ll then step out of the door to create a fortress of his own. In that way, he can do things his way, and fill his own pocket at the same time.


So, here’s the question: Is it worth it to steal (professionally)?


Also: Should you get mad if your idea or business has been stolen?


To answer the first question, yes. It’s always worth it to steal someone else’s idea or business IF and only IF you are going to make it bigger than it already is. If you’re just going to create a copycat and you’re not going to improve the idea or the business, then you’re being a pain in the bottom. Just by plainly copying a concept (or worse, owning it as it is) makes you nothing but a lazy person who has no sense of creativity and doesn’t want to be supervised, and it ends there. You won’t succeed at all. But, if you steal a concept or copy a business then makes it better (richer), then it’s all worth it. Swear!


Now, if someone steals your concept, or if one of your business partners become your rival, should you be wary or mad? Well, it’s really maddening. Imagine they have all your contacts, all your business ideas, and all your strategies. They can also poach all your talents and use it as their own investment. They know the ins and outs of your company. They know the good and the bad. They know everything. And it’s something to be really mad about. But, instead of channeling all your energy in cursing the breakaways and giving up because of them, it’s better to take steps that will make your business better. Give them the challenging competition that they asked for.


When it comes to business, the golden rule doesn’t apply. You can’t be considerate of what other people will feel all the time, you’ll lose your business. But you can’t be too naïve at the same time. Tricky as it may seem, but it’s the competition that makes a business better. If you can’t beat the “magnificent” idea or person, well… just be glad that the idea that was once yours is making a dent in the industry. After all, it’s really yours.


Featured Image from Bath Alchemy Lab