There’s no precise recipe for small business success. There are, however, things you can do as you’re starting out to give yourself a better chance. Starting a business is a beautiful combination of risk, risk aversion, dreaming, practical maneuverings, skill and luck. It’s tough but rewarding. Here’s what you have to consider right now getting off the starting line quickly and setting yourself up for long-term success.

Consider how to think long-term from the get-go

Starting a new business is not a sprint. It may not be a marathon either (maybe something in between), but you need to prioritize its long-term viability. While it’s true that passion isn’t everything and you cannot always turn what you love into a thriving business, longevity depends on being engaged.

“Many young entrepreneurs make a big mistake by letting the current economy decide what type of business they should open instead of the other way around,” reports an article in Forbes. Your new business must have broad and growing appeal — businesses that are becoming popular such as phone cases and wireless headphones.

Consider how you’re going to grow on a budget

Throwing money at a problem rarely works, and even if it did you probably don’t have the capital to try right now. You need to be able to grow and save at the same time. Your first concern is probably marketing — how do you promote yourself? This is easier now than ever before, thanks to the internet and specifically social media. Pushing content and interacting with customers/clients on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like is free. Even if you want to go down the paid promoted posts route, it’s cost-effective.

Other ways to expand on a tight budget include interacting and cross-promoting with other small businesses, reaching out and getting involved with local organizations and events, and developing trusted relationships with everyone you work with — suppliers, clients and beyond.

Consider how you’re going to make ends meet when you’re starting out

If you have a ton of extra capital lying around to sink into your business on day one and to also help you live, this section isn’t for you. For most of you, however, you’ll want to read on. Starting a small business is time-consuming so you’ll want ways to generate income that are, above all else, flexible. Apps have made it easier to get involved in the sharing economy, where you can drive cars, walk dogs, fix houses, and rent your home for money. The Internet has made it easy to sell your crafts, wares, tutoring services, consulting services and more. And while you don’t want to get too deep into this for a lengthy period of time, bartering with other businesses can be a great way to free up cash at the start of your venture.

Consider how you’re going to stand out amongst the crowd

Unless your business is so niche that it literally has no competitors, part of your plan must be figuring out how to stand out amongst your competition. Sometimes standing out isn’t about what you sell — it’s how you sell it. Find a way to do business in a completely different way than your competitors. Prioritize customer interaction. Offer deals or promotions that nobody else will.

There are nearly 6 million small businesses in this country, and over 28 million if you count the ones without additional employees. What does this mean? It means two things: First, you can do it. Second, that’s a lot of competition. But, you’ll need to work hard and work smart to succeed.

Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash