Efficiency is essential for small and medium-sized businesses whose resources may be more limited than their larger competitors. The end of Daylight Savings Time is a powerful reminder of how short the workday can seem and how important it is to maximize your time, processes, and staff so your growing business can be as productive as possible.

There are countless ways that technology can assist business owners in improving efficiency, but addressing certain fundamental business practices is also vital to success. Here are some practical steps you can take now to help you and your team work smarter and improve your bottom line.

Create a Business Plan

A company without a business plan is like a ship without a rudder. Business planning is more than an investment in your company’s future; it outlines your business objectives, sets short and long-term goals, clarifies responsibilities, and helps guide you and your team in prioritizing and focusing on what matters most.

Keep the planning process streamlined. Create a plan that is easy to use, understand that it is dynamic, and allocate time to review and revise it regularly. Track progress and analyze planned vs. actual results. The return on your investment will be improved project and people management, decision-making, accountability, and optimized performance and productivity.

Delegate Effectively

With only so many hours in a day, you will have to let go of managing every last detail in order to dedicate time to growing your business. Many small business owners struggle with delegation, and those who do delegate often end up micromanaging staff and defeating the purpose.

Take the time to learn your employees’ strengths and weaknesses so you can delegate more effectively. Ensure your team has the guidance and support they need to complete their tasks and empower them to act independently. Once you’ve assigned a task or project, trust your people to accomplish it and monitor their progress. Once the project is finished, sit down together for a thorough debrief. Delegation will not only allow you to leverage your own time, but it will give your team the opportunity to learn, grow, and become more invested in the success of your business.

Outsource to Access Expertise

Small businesses often have a limited number of employees, which can make delegation a challenge. Savvy leaders who find themselves in this situation know it is often more productive to outsource work that is not revenue generating, but essential to business operations.

Consider outsourcing as a way of accessing the expertise you may be lacking on an affordable and scalable basis. From bookkeeping, staffing, and payroll to marketing and finance, more small business owners are recognizing the strategic advantages of tapping the skills of independent contractors or the ease of online resources. By outsourcing your non-competency or non-core functions to third party organizations that specialize in these particular areas, you will have more time to focus on business development, creating new products or services, project management, and other activities that lead to increased efficiency and productivity.

Manage Cash Flow

Cash flow can be one of the biggest roadblocks to efficiency for small businesses. In fact, making sure you have access to the cash you need when you need it can be the difference between success and failure. Working capital financing can help you cover day-to-day and unexpected expenses rather than relying on existing cash flow.

Summit Financial Resources offers an array of quick-lending options that let you tap the value of your assets to cover payroll, order more inventory, expand your business, or capitalize on a revenue opportunity. Our invoice factoring, asset-based loans, inventory financing, and equipment term loans involve using your accounts receivable and other business assets as collateral. We structure our credit facilities based on your needs, allowing for maximum flexibility and minimum restrictions.

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Plan for Technology Upgrades

Taking advantage of available tech tools is a surefire way to increase the efficiency of your small business. Technology has evolved to the point where smartphones, mobile devices, and software applications make it possible to do everything from ordering raw materials to collaborating with contractors from anywhere, any time. There are tools built to solve specific time management and productivity issues, improve communication, streamline accounting and payroll, and manage cash flow. The key is to zero in on programs that meet your needs today and will scale with your business.

The process of replacing legacy technologies can be a boon to your operations and boost employee productivity, but it can be costly. It is essential that you carefully manage software, hardware, and network upgrades to minimize disruption and downtime and maximize your technology budget. Once you have determined short and long-term objectives for your company as part of your business planning process, you can develop a technology support plan that will help you invest wisely over time to achieve your goals.

Track Time

Poor allocation of time is pervasive in workplaces today. While certain tasks naturally require more time than others, as a business owner, it is important to balance your time between everyday responsibilities and high priority projects. Time tracking and management tools can help you and your employees stick to a schedule designed to increase efficiency and productivity.

There are plenty of options to help your small business make the most of every minute, including simple-to-use apps that track not only how you plan to invest your time, but where you actually spend it. Once you identify how you and your team are wasting time, you can replace less important projects or processes with those that are more productive.

If your small business has limited resources in terms of time, staff, or cash, a modest investment in improving your team’s efficiency will help boost productivity and morale, which in turn can improve customer satisfaction and generate more revenue.

Working Capital Financing is a few clicks away.

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Summit Financial Resources specializes in working capital financing for small to medium-sized businesses that need increased cash flow. We provide working capital financing through invoice factoring, asset-based lending, inventory lending, and equipment financing.