A business that runs efficiently is much more likely to find continued success over the long-term. Efficiency boosts productivity and can give you an edge in today’s competitive market. Here are six ideas that can help your business become more efficient.

1. Automate Operations

One of the best ways to boost efficiency is to automate as many tasks as possible. As tech has improved over the years, it has become easier to have programs handle many business tasks that would have taken a great deal more time in the past.

"Assess the operations of your business, and invest in software that automates as many of those processes as possible so you can get the mundane work done efficiently and your employees can focus on other tasks," says Victor Snyder at Business.com. (1) "More of these solutions are available now than ever before because of the current demand for mobile infrastructure, and that means this is an excellent time to reassess which job functions can be eliminated so you can better allocate time to more pressing needs that require the critical thought of a human worker."

As you evaluate your current business processes, explore what is on the software market for specific areas of your operation. If you can’t find what you need, consider contracting with a developer to create your own program.

2. Delegate and Consolidate Tasks

Increased efficiency starts with you, the business owner, and that means knowing when to delegate tasks so your focus can be where it needs to be.

As Derek Miller writes at SCORE, "To run your business more efficiently, you must delegate. Take the time to learn your employees' strengths and weaknesses so that you can delegate more effectively. Put checks and balances in place so that you can monitor the processes in the beginning and relax control over time. Finally, trust your team to accomplish their roles. Delegation puts accountability on your team and can help them become more invested in the success of your business."2

Some tasks may also be able to be consolidated. Look for redundancies and unnecessary steps in your processes. If someone is already performing one task that is related to another being performed by someone else, you might be able to give both to the same person, who will be able to complete them more efficiently.

3. Improve Time Management

Delegating tasks is one part of time management, but it's not the whole story. There are things you can do on a daily basis to ensure you are making the most efficient use of your own time. Stick to a schedule when possible, maintain a prioritized to-do list and create time blocks for different aspects of your work. Be sure to include flexible time to handle unexpected occurrences or to give yourself time to finish tasks that took longer than expected.

4. Look for Outsourcing Opportunities

Much like automation, outsourcing some roles can also help your company run more efficiently, freeing up your core team's time to handle tasks most appropriate for their skill sets. You can outsource just about any business function, from bookkeeping to marketing and from sales to customer service. There are plenty of sites online where you can find freelancers eagerly awaiting their next gig.

5. Listen to Your Team

Members of your team are dealing with the everyday processes and intricacies of the job. Their perspectives are incredibly valuable when it comes to ideas on how to increase productivity and efficiency as they pertain to their specific roles. It's possible that as the business owner you only have a broad idea of what goes into a given task. Employees generally want to perform well and make their own lives easier at the same time. Increased efficiency will allow them to do both. Consider starting an incentives program that rewards employees who present good ideas to increase efficiency in their job processes. Then, it's your job to listen to what they have to say, and if you agree with their assessment, you might be able to put the right wheels in motion to make these improvements happen.

6. Never Stop Improving

Efficiency can be improved over and over again as time goes on. Don't get too set in your ways because processes can change and evolve. Evaluate your efficiency on a regular schedule to make sure you’re keeping up with trends and technology.

1. https://www.business.com/articles/small-business-productivity-guide/

2. https://www.score.org/blog/5-innovative-ways-run-more-efficient-small-business