Any entrepreneur who expects to achieve success with a new startup had better be prepared to do a little self-evaluation before he or she begins. Every new business’ foundation is only as strong as its founder, so you have to be sure that you and everyone in your life are fully prepared for the quest for success. That determination can be more easily made by answering two basic questions:

1. Do you have the requisite passion and tenacity you will need to actually make your business a success?

There’s a reason this question is first, because if you cannot honestly answer it in the affirmative then none of the remaining questions matter. Search your heart and assess your reasons for launching your company. If those reasons amount to nothing more than simply creating your own job to fill an income vacuum, then you have chosen the wrong path. A lack of passion for your chosen business will inevitably end in disaster.

The fact is that history is littered with the remains of small businesses that were doomed by their owners’ lack of passion. If you think about it, chances are that you know or have known a small business owner who lacked passion for his chosen business. I’ve seen many entrepreneurs go through the motions without any real love for their companies. Many have struggled for years, waiting for everything to turn around of its own accord. Some have even gone so far as to press their own family members to join them in an attempt to make things work but often with no better result.

If you want to avoid that dreary outcome, then be sure that you have the passion you need. You have to love what you do, and wake up every day excited at the prospect of meeting the day’s challenges. That enthusiasm can fuel the desire you need to maintain true passion for your company over time. Without it, your chances for success are severely handicapped before you even begin.

2. Do you have the support you will need to endure the rough times?

Are you married, or in a committed relationship? If so, then be sure to obtain your partner’s pledge of support before you even begin your business venture. That means discussing the pros and cons of your company launch before you ever fully commit to bringing it to life. The reality is that you both need to be ready for whatever comes – good or bad – and prepared to work through the tough times. The last thing that you need when you suffer a setback at work is to have added trouble manifest at home. If your spouse or partner has any doubts or misgivings about business ownership, be sure to resolve those issues right away.

This is absolutely critical. There is virtually no chance that you will go through each day without experiencing some level of difficulty, and when work gets rough your home is the only refuge you will have when you need to rejuvenate and reorganize for another day. You must be able to leave your troubles at work if you expect to survive business ownership for the long-term. If your spouse cannot fully commit to your endeavor, then you are going to come home to a whole other set of business-related problems.

Face it: even if he or she is not a formal partner in your company, your spouse is a de facto business partner just by virtue of your home relationship. Can you rely on that partner to help to keep the home a place of peace and tranquility that provides you with the atmosphere you need to ensure that your batteries are fully recharged before you venture out each day in search of a better life for your family? If not, then that is an issue you should address before you launch your business.

The thing to remember is that you have almost no chance of being better than the competition if your life is so unbalanced that you cannot even find the peace and comfort you need when you come home at the end of your day. There are few if any exceptions to this simple rule. The best planning in the world will do little to change things if you lack a strong support system, and even your best efforts will still leave you feeling as though you end each day with more problems than you had when it began.

Spousal support is therefore one of the most critical elements of business success. It is part of the foundation on which you will build your entire business structure. As a result, it is among the first things you must secure before you begin. Think of it like a video game, if you will: you do not get to move on to level two until you have successfully completed level one.