There are plenty of terms that are touted around the business world like efficiency, but finding their meanings is not as easy as using them. So what do words like efficiency mean? If you Google efficiency, this is what you will get: “the state or quality of being efficient” and “greater energy efficiency.” Synonyms: organization, order, orderliness, regulation, coherence; More an action designed to achieve this. Plural noun: efficiencies “to increase efficiencies and improve earnings.” Technical – the ratio of the useful work performed by a machine or in a process to the total energy expended or heat taken in. It is also short for efficiency apartments.*

In your Google search you will also see what Wikipedia says: “Efficiency is the (often measurable) ability to avoid wasting materials, energy, efforts, money, and time in doing something or in producing a desired result. In a more general sense, it is the ability to do things well, successfully, and without waste. In more mathematical or scientific terms, it is a measure of the extent to which input is well used for an intended task or function (output). It often specifically comprises the capability of a specific application of effort to produce a specific outcome with a minimum amount or quantity of waste, expense, or unnecessary effort. Efficiency, of course, refers to very different inputs and outputs in different fields and industries.”

So what does efficiency mean to your small business? Every business has its own unique challenges. Discovering and isolating where your business is not being efficient or productive is the first hurdle you have to get over. Finding ways that will overcome those hurdles may be harder for some business owners than others. Here are some tips to improve your small business productivity and efficiencies:

Learn to delegate tasks. Most small business owners feel the pressure to succeed on their shoulders and believe that only they can make a difference. But the problem is that trying to take on every role is counter-productive. So, delegating those roles to the experts you hire will greatly increase your productivity.

Prepare For Change. Whether you believe it or not, changes will always come that will affect your business. Changes in technology or in the business environment just do not happen overnight. So, keeping up with what is going on can help you plan for the future. This means keeping up with what is trending and the emerging technology that could effect your business or your products. Being prepared for change is what will keep your business afloat.

Avoid Complacency. Never consider that the job is done and you no longer need to worry again. Far too often, when things are going good and it seems that everything is fine, many small business owners will rest on their laurels. When they rest too long, the competition will move ahead and leave you small business behind. You need to strive to improve and grow, before someone else leaves you in their dust.

Learn Time Management. It is not always about the time spent on a specific task, but understanding how you spend your time. As a business owner, you need to focus your time less on getting a single task done today, and more on considering the future of your business and how to make it more successful. It is important to take a step back from focusing on short-term goals and making sure that your long-term goals are being addressed.

Balance your Commitments. You often hear experts say that you need to find a work/life balance, but they mainly talk about work, family and life. It is just as important to a single (no family) business owner to take their focus off of business and onto themselves. Just taking the odd vacation does not cut it. Finding regular time away from thinking business is important to its growth. This means having a hobby or regular non-business activity that allows you to relax and re-charge your business-oriented mind.

Set Realistic Goals. When you set unrealistic goals for yourself or your business, you tend to spread yourself thin and the real goals you need to achieve never get accomplished. Choose one or two goals each week or each quarter and achieve them, before moving onto your next set of goals. By doing this, you will not only be helping your business, but you will gain that sense of achievement that will push you to succeed at your next set of goals.

*So, when we put an asterisk next to the efficient definition regarding “efficiency apartments,” we wanted to point out that there is a business equivalent to efficient apartments called serviced offices. With a serviced office, you get all the benefits of having an office, without having to worry about the major infrastructure costs of furnishing the office and paying for expensive office equipment.