7 Principles to grow your business and get your life backWe’ve all been there. You’re working a job you hate, doing hours that aren’t conducive to your busy schedule, or you’re just not feeling the work you’re doing. It’s career fatigue, and it happens more than we’d like to admit.But for those trying to build a small business, they might hope being their own boss would provide respite from that. But on the other side of the coin, if the business is flailing, if employees aren’t accountable, and if things aren’t going as planned, the owner often has to step up.To work 60 hours a week at a company you own defeats the purpose of owning your own small business. You’re trying to get out of the office, not set up a camp.These 7 principles will be your guide on how to get out from behind that desk, cut your working hours and live the independent life you’ve always wanted.Principle 1: Build a business, not a jobYou don’t need to work harder for your business: You need your business to start working for you. Owners often decide to make a go of it on their own so they can have more time and freedom for themselves.If you’re stuck in the office doing nights, weekends and overtime, then having your own business defeats the purpose.Expanding your life outside your job means working in a smart, efficient manner, and installing proper mechanisms to allow your company to grow and thrive without your presence.If you ever hope to achieve the success you want, you need to know when to step back. Your business — and the hours you work — should be a choice, not a requirement. Principle 2: Build on stable systemsYou cannot just focus on hiring good people in industry: Turnover is part of running a business. In order to succeed, you need your processes and systems to remain in place, even if an employee leaves.Remember that a system is the solution to a recurring problem. The practical enforcement of a system allows you to systemically push things in your business forward.Write the way you do things down. Ensure that if a good employee moves on, their expertise and way of doing certain tasks remains in tact. The key to success is consistency, in all facets of a small business.Nothing is left to chance if there is a system in place, and room where there might be incorrect interpretation will now be replaced by a steadfast knowledge of how things work.A truly talented team can create systems and guidelines so their successors may also learn the keys to keeping the business successful.Principle 3: Understand why your customers do business with youKnowing your customers means being in tune with everything. You must not only know what products they want and why, but you must tap into them in a personal fashion. You need to know what makes their heart beat, and what resonates emotionally.People will always have a reason not to buy your product. They will choose not to spend their hard-earned dollars with you, unless you compel them to do so. You must help them fulfill their desires, spurn forward their hopes, quell their fears, and help them attain goals. Having perspective on the people who keep you profitable is important. Know your customers, and understand why they keep coming backMake sure you use proven marketing platforms and mediums, and that you never stop, or you’ll have to campaign all over again. This can also create a friendly, courteous and unique relationship with your customers that will make them feel special. If the person you’re selling to feels like you’ve taken to time to get to know them, they’ll be easier to retain for life.Principle 4: Create the right strategic planEach company has different perspectives, philosophies and limitations. A major key to success is separating yourself from the competition, and figuring out exactly what’s valuable to your company. A key principle is to connect your resources to the things you truly desire. Whether it’s profit, serving customers well or providing a great product, you need a proper vision of where you’re going.Creating plans and goals for your business, including rolling, succinct quarterly action plans, can keep strategic goals in focus.You need to know what you want and exactly the price you’re willing to pay to get it. Blueprinting a strategy is hugely important.Set goals, work toward them, and remember that you need to make sure you have a roadmap for exactly where you want to go.Your action plans can also hold yourself and employees accountable, and give everyone something to strive for. Creating aim and healthy competition in the office is an integral part of success.Principle 5: Remain relevantReading the world and knowing your place in changing marketplaces will allow your business to grow.People may get rich by bringing a product out at the right time, but those who stay rich will always remain innovative. You must constantly be ready for bigger, better and more fulfilling products for your customers.In a world of ever changing markets and fickle changes in industry and customer needs, staying in tune with trends and changes will keep you from being yesterday’s reality. Seeing opportunities for change can be a good thing, and knowing when to innovate is paramount.Principle 6: Remove the predictable obstaclesGrowing your business pillar by pillar means overcoming obstacles. With every success comes difficulties. With every new client comes new demands. With every bit of growth comes pains associated with it.The key is to sit down, make note of the obstacles your actions and business model may incur, and make a formalized plan on how to tackle your issues.Business sales, marketing and finances all need to push past adversity in order to be better. It is paramount for the business owner to analyze the issues – whether they’re in the market, industry or weaknesses with workforce — and make sure solutions are abound before problems begin.Principle 7: Scale your company back to regain controlWorking constantly defeats the purpose of an entrepreneurial spirit. If you’re working nights and weekends so you can expand, you may be neglecting other vitally important parts of your life.Focusing on a work-life balance is a basic tenet of success, and valuing your company as well as your own time is important. If your company has become the major thing you’re focusing on in your life, it may be time to redefine your business strategy, goals and purpose.Spend some time getting in the Zone. Allow yourself to think creatively strategize and come up with solutions that align with what you want your business to be to you.You own your own business to give other parts of your life more structure, and if that isn’t happening, there may be changes to be made.You also need to surround yourself by he best. You can save a lot of money and hassle by hiring the right, motivated people than by trying to motivate the wrong ones.Surround yourself with winners, and your business will follow course. Make sure you have a good hiring system, an idea of exactly what a role requires from candidates, and hire accordingly. Don’t settle for less.Things won’t happen overnight, but if you stay the course, it will all work out.Five Steps To Immediately Make ChangesSome of these things may be easier said than done, and may feel like fixes only in the long-term.For some of you, action right now is required. If you want your life back, and you want to make changes now, you’re not alone.There is a frustration with knowing what you have to do, but having to apply the 7 Principles over a more substantive time period.Well, I have an answer for you.If you’re looking for some immediate things you can do that will have effective results for you and your company almost right away, follow these five steps.Step 1 Write a one-page summary regarding your target customers. Know who to market to and their inner-workings. Reading and knowing your customers can help build your business.Chances are if you know who is most likely to buy your product, you’ll figure out the most innovative and easiest ways to make them want to buy from you.Once you know this, know how to market to people. Make sure they feel like a part of your family, not just a number.Having a summary and marketing strategy on paper will allow yourself and employees to all know the questions to ask and the types of approaches needed to involve potential clients.Step 2Conduct an analysis to determine any factors limiting your business. Try to remain objective about the process, and not let emotion take over.There are struggles and difficulties in every market. There are trials and tribulations in every industry. A truly successful business owner knows this, and does what they can to push past the things holding their company back.Do what you have to, and find ways to mitigate any issues that are keeping you from your most profitable potential.You need to fight against things holding you back, but also understand not every issue is worth the time and resources — financial and otherwise — to solve. Maintain a critical eye and focus on the most important things.You can find and leverage tactics to push past any issues that arise. Create a mini-plan and set a date by which you’d like to move past any issues.Step 3Build a time-value matrix, so you can best use company time and identify what values are most important.List tasks according to priority, and create written reminders to focus on certain areas or goals each day.Make sure lower level tasks don’t take up most of your time, and try to ensure you get the biggest, most important things done first.Delay or delegate smaller tasks, and instead direct your attention to the things, concepts and business portions that really matter.Creating this matrix will allow you to see – visually – where your priorities truly lie, and what things you need to pay the closest attention to.By optimizing employees’ performance and knowing what tasks need to get done, you can create a more effective work environment.Step 4Create your first one-page quarterly action plan. The important thing is to make sure you do this as soon as possible. This will serve as a catalyst for change and a new culture. Knowing where you’re going, creating quantifiable steps and goals and holding yourself accountable are all important. They can all be achieved with an action plan that’s well-executed.While many things can be long-term, multi-year goals, dividing your desires for your company into easier quarters allows for short-term goals that will lead to long-term gain.Don’t worry about the formatting, but just ensure you have something on paper. The grammar, spelling and everything else can be fixed later. There are word processors and applications that can do your spell check for you.Make sure your plan is one page — as that will promote a one-look emphasis that allows employees to scan a whole document. The longer the document is, the harder it is to scan and retain the information.What’s important is that by the end of the process, you have a clear, concise and innovative idea of where you’re going.Doing so can strengthen your idea of what you want to achieve, and you can push toward achieving your goals right away.It will allow you to better process where you’re going and how you can get there. Step 5Ask for help if you need it. There is no shame in knowing your limitations in the business world. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.Many owners want to be able to say they built their entire business themselves, but the reality is help from contacts and other professionals can be an integral part of good workplace practice.Deferring questions we have issues answering ourselves and gaining insight from others allows for a well-rounded solution set.Everyone can lend themselves most effectively to their business through different channels and ways of thinking.People will often want to help a friend in need, and asking for guidance to grow your business will often flatter the person you ask.That’s where booking time with a consultant, and discussing strategy and ways to build your brand and business come in.There can also be a great deal of help achieved through business coaching, and letting someone in enough to help you succeed.