There are over 300 million startups operating today, driven by 472 million founders. To say that the startup ecosystem is competitive would be an understatement. Entrepreneurs need to fight tooth and nail to get their startups under the spotlight.

To really stand out you need to identify what makes your business special. The stakes are high. Failing to stand out can mean certain death for a new business.

Competition can force an entrepreneur to reevaluate their core vision. This can be a good thing, and it can help to drive a heightened sense of urgency.

The awareness of others in your industry can push leaders to strive to be even better. Competition is inevitable, it might be might obvious and direct, or could be an alternative indirect lifestyle choice.

All of this can be pretty intimidating for a small fish in a big pond. Some startups opt for accelerator programs to give their business a competitive edge.

Others may even choose to partner with their competitors, to create a strengthened offering through collaboration. However, only a handful will be successful.

In order to attract customers, financial backing and strategic partnerships, a business needs to stand out.

This articles explores the top pieces of startup founder advice for

Related: The Most Remarkable Things Ever Said About Startup Success

1. Be original and get in there first

At Snigglezoo Entertainment we provide entertaining content to help credit unions to teach children the value of being money smart. At the core of this we are working to provide a service that families really need.

I founded the business because no one else was doing this. Other similar businesses have since launched, but as we were the first ones out there we have been able to use our experiences to provide a better product. – John Lanza, Snigglezoo Entertainment

2. Identify your key market

The key to standing out in a sea of startups is to provide a unique solution for a select market. As a rule of thumb, a headpin market is a community of people who actually speak with each other. One of the largest mistakes I’ve seen is defining a market too broadly. – Jon Stolmeier, HappAppily

3. Evaluate your business

I recommend the Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne for any startup founder. The main concept behind this is that entrepreneurs need to look at themselves and create new market value, rather than focusing on their competitors. As a result, they make the competition irrelevant.

Testlauncher provides global quality-assurance teams for businesses. Using this strategy I have been able to map the strengths, weaknesses and offerings of my business.

This allows me to look at the big picture, to make strategic decisions and identify good opportunities. We have focused our development in areas where our competition has not succeeded, and we have grown quickly. – Jason Hamilton-Mascioli, Testlauncher

4. Stay on top of industry trends

Searchub is a global community shopping platform. We make our business stand out by staying up to date with the latest technologies in big data and machine learning so that we are constantly revising and improving our technology. – Ali Benmoussa, Searchub

Competition should force an entrepreneur to take a critical look at their business. What is it that you offer that no one else can, what can you be the best at? You should have confidence in your solution and make it known.

Become a thought leader in your select area of expertise. Share your insights with a connected community. The window for success can be small, and industry can evolve and change very quickly. Build the foundations for a standout business, and don’t miss your chance to get noticed.

Author bio: Emma Rosser is a Staff Writer at Publicize, which is a startup aiming to change the way companies approach PR. Publicize has worked with a dozen+ Y Combinator startups and leading brands such as Hallmark Cards.

Founding Editor @Alltopstartups. Contributor at Entrepreneur Magazine. Curator at Postanly (a free weekly newsletter that delivers the most insightful long-form posts from top publishers)