As an entrepreneur, I understand that setting yourself apart from your competition can seem impossible. Every day, new entrepreneurs enter the marketplace, and they are more ingenious than ever. For people who may not have as much experience or who feel like they are behind the pack, here are some tips to maximize your entrepreneurial advantage.

The need to work smarter.

Unless you plan to work at max capacity 24/7, there is no guarantee that you will ever be able to work harder than your competition. Therefore, you have to find ways to work smarter instead. It could mean implementing a new schedule that maximizes your employees’ productivity, or it may be a marketing strategy that brings in tons of potential customers. No matter how you do it, you must find ways to maximize your time and efforts to stay on top.

Thinking beyond “outside of the box”.

As ingenuity becomes more common with more access to ideas, you will have to find ways to think beyond “outside of the box”. Another way to think of this is: how can I disrupt my industry? You could sell shoelaces and there will still be a way to disrupt what you and competitors are doing. Stop thinking about what is out of the ordinary, and instead, think of what seems impossible and devote energy to making it possible. You may eventually stumble upon an idea that revolutionizes an industry.

An attitude of constant learning.

The reason why some young people make great entrepreneurs is they still want to learn. Adults have often been beaten down by negative learning experiences, and we may be hesitant to pick up something new. Learning comes in many forms and rarely takes place in a classroom. You can learn new skills, better information about your customers, and how other successful operations run. All of these topics will give you a greater insight into your company and how you can build upon yourself to grow.

A desire for transparency.

Transparency is a huge component of gaining customers’ trust. Old companies may try to hide unsavory policies or procedures, but companies that value empowering their consumers are going to win in the long run. For a great example of how transparency is important, look at the number of unsatisfied bank users. Banks are notorious for placing policies in fine-print and not explaining them thoroughly to customers, which causes a ton of tension and ultimately drives many customers away.

Competing with other businesses will always be a difficult part of entrepreneurship, but it is possible to keep an advantage over your competitors. By implementing these traits into the core of your company, you will have all the tools you need to thrive in the marketplace. Although entrepreneurship is becoming more popular as time goes on, many businesses fail. Follow these steps to give your company the best shot at sticking around.