How do I handle an employee who has resigned to become a competitor?

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Dear Norm,
One of my salespeople recently resigned and started his own company competing with mine. I subsequently learned that he had been conducting his new business on the side while he was still working for me. What should I do?
Vennie

Dear Vennie,
You should do nothing. Keep building your company and forget about the guy. Don’t let this incident cause you to lose focus on what’s really important to your business. People waste a lot of time and energy worrying about ex-employees who become competitors. When employees leave to go into competition, I wish them well and send them a plant. It’s a cactus. This guy should be history as far as you’re concerned. If he’s an unethical person, he’ll eventually get his comeuppance.
Yours truly, Norm

Permalink  |  Posted in Competitors, Employees, Ethics

What should I do about an unethical competitor?

Monday, January 5th, 2009

Dear Norm,
What should I do about an unethical competitor? I recently opened a service business that has been very successful, but our success has drawn the attention of a large established company in town, which is taking aim at us with marketing materials that misrepresent our service and professionalism. These people have played dirty before. I’d like to think their practices would catch up with them, but that hasn’t happened yet, and I’m afraid they have so much cash they can outlast the rest of us. Any advice?
Rob

Dear Rob,
Yes. Don’t lose your focus. Provide great service at competitive prices and develop a reputation as the class act in town. Give prospects the names of customers they can call to check you out. Above all, don’t badmouth your competitor, even if it’s badmouthing you. Customers will think less of you if you do. That’s an iron rule in my company. If I’m asked about a competitor I consider unethical, I say only, “I don’t think they can provide the type of service you want.” People get the message. If your competitor doesn’t mend its ways, it will be the loser in the long run.
Yours truly, Norm

Permalink  |  Posted in Competitors, Customers, Ethics