Starting and managing a successful small business takes time, energy, money, and a HUGE commitment. But the payoff can also be HUGE, in terms of personal accomplishment, satisfaction, happiness, and M0NEY! So just how committed are you?

Here are 10 questions to help you find out:

(1) Have you taken the time to create a business plan?

A business plan ensures you have a well-thought-out plan for your business. It doesn’t have to be a big, formal document. But it should outline your budget, your goals, and how you plan to achieve those goals. This way you have focus.

(2) Have you taken the time to create a marketing plan?

If you don’t have a marketing plan chances are you’ll spend more money trying to get clients AND you’ll achieve fewer results. Taking the time to create a marketing plan, even if it’s only a one-page document, will enable you to be laser-focused, so you’ll get better results.

(3) Have you committed enough financial resources to operate and market your business for at least one year?

You have to invest in your business if you want it to succeed. It doesn’t have to be a big sum of money, but it’s got to be enough to accomplish the goals you’ve set in your business and marketing plans.

(4) Are you willing to invest in yourself?

To grow yourself and your business you must always be learning. Take seminars. Buy books and CDs. As one of my teachers Brian Tracy says, turn your car into a “University on Wheels.”

Education to help you grow your business is a business expense and is tax-deductible. Let Uncle Sam finance your growth!

(5) Are you willing to spend time to learn how to better operate and market your business?

If you don’t know everything you need to know to successfully operate and market your business (and who does?!?) commit the TIME to learn.

Not only should you be willing to invest money in courses, books, CDs, coaches, or whatever it takes, you have to be willing to spend the TIME.

(6) Do you seek advice from those who are already successfully doing what you’re trying to do?

Have you identified other businesses or individuals who have already accomplished what you’re trying to accomplish? If not, find them. Learn as much as you can about their businesses. Model them. Get advice from them.

I just paid a big chunk-of-change for a one-hour consultation with someone who has successfully done what I want to do. Was it worth the money to get her advice and recommendations? You bet! It’s definitely faster and easier than trying to figure it out on my own.

(7) Do you have a team?

If you’re still trying to do everything on your own, you should ask yourself how serious you are about building a business. For years, I worked alone. But I now realize I was making a living not building a business.

If you’re serious about building a business, get the proper team in place to ensure your success. You should be spending your time doing what you do best, and find others to help you with everything else.

(8) Have you created systems in your business?

All successful businesses have systems in place that allow routine activities to be repeated over and over again, to ensure the same results. This also ensures your business does not rely solely on you for its success.

(9) Do you track everything you do?

The only way to truly know if what you’re doing is working is to track. While it takes a bit more time and planning upfront, it can definitely save you time and money in the long run.

Every time you make a change in how you run your business, track it, so you know if that change is making your business more successful, or not. Track every marketing activity, so you know what’s bringing you business and what’s not.

(10) Are you willing to take a good, hard look at what you’re doing, and make changes if it’s not working?

Sometimes we have so much time, money, or energy invested in doing something a certain way we have a hard time changing our approach if it isn’t producing success. That would be admitting failure, right? WRONG!

It would be a failure to NOT make a change! Being in business is a learning experience and one that requires constant fine-tuning.

Try this formula: Plan, take action, evaluate, fine-tune. And repeat as often as necessary until you find what works for you.

So, how’d you do? Don’t worry if you didn’t pass my commitment quiz. Your business is a work-in-progress. Your goal should be to work toward having all 10 of these pieces in place.

If you do, your business will have a much greater chance of success AND you’ll be a lot happier!