If you’re an entrepreneur, competition is part of the game. You can’t escape it. This is a good thing. Dealing with competition requires you to evaluate, innovate and improvise in every situation. You have to rely on the confidence and smarts you’ve earned from your learning experiences over the years. As a result, your reputation and influence grow. Wondering about how to make competition work in your favor? Here are a few effective strategies. 

1. Choose Your Clients Wisely

This requires thinking ahead. Yes, your specific area of expertise is important, and refining that area is crucial. It’s just as important to be discerning about who you select as a client. Focus your time and energy on clients who give you a high probability of success. These are the ones who you’re simpatico with, and that you’re most qualified to help.

2. Compete With Yourself

Consider how tennis and chess players hone their competitive skills solo. They challenge themselves to improve every day. You can do the same. For example, if you’ve delivered a high-level product or service to a previous customer, think about how you can achieve better results for your next customer. What do you need to do differently? Harvest the learning from your successes and failures to create positive outcomes for the future. 

3. Develop Your Specific Expertise

Take plenty of time with this step. Do a deep dive into your interests, skills, and past experiences to determine the specific expertise you want to leverage for your business. Then, be laser-focused on developing it. This is a powerful way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the pack and is far less draining than trying to be great at everything. Make sure that your specific expertise is valuable for your customers.

4. Innovate Continuously

Invest time into honing and practicing your craft. Even if it’s for a short amount of time each day, your progress will accumulate. The result: You will be able to intuitively and confidently adjust as new challenges come up, and be innovative and adaptable. Too many businesses falter in this area, and your ability to innovate will set you apart. 

Dealing with the reality of competition is an opportunity to develop and refine your business approach in powerful, effective ways. Keep these suggestions in mind as you craft your strategy; they’re not only helpful for dealing with competition, but also for keeping your game plan fresh.