The Apprentice is back with its usual mix of well-intentioned yet hapless candidates, all vying for 15 minutes of fame and a lucrative partnership with Lord Sugar. But if there’s only one thing about entrepreneurship the programme gets right, it’s how difficult it is to balance efficiency with quality.

After all, not a week goes by without one team leader getting it wrong. Either they’re trying to let everyone have their say and thereby bringing progress to a halt, or they’re steamrolling over every idea their team throws out just to “get things done.”

This week’s crowdfunding corker of an episode fell firmly into the latter, with Samuel’s ‘efficiency’ blinkers resulting in one of the most pointless dance flash mobs ever witnessed. As the reality TV competition shows in painful detail, deciding which corners to cut and which ones to take extra care and attention over isn’t easy when you’re facing the pressure of trying to run a business.

So you can avoid any Apprentice-worthy muck ups, we’ve put together a quick guide to the modern day rules of entrepreneurship that’ll have you leading the most efficient startup around…

Don’t Do Everything Yourself

Trying to handle the daily ins-and-outs of business alongside all the administrative behind-the-scenes tasks is a recipe for burnout and disaster. If you’re overworked you’ll soon end up making silly mistakes. That’s why looking to reliable staff and technology for support is key. Cloud-based payroll and scheduling solutions will take care of the HR side of operations, whilst delegating responsibilities is a core leadership skill you’re better learning sooner rather than later.

Be Flexible

Neither you nor your employees need to continue working under the constraints of nuisances like traditional working days, rush hour commutes or even the office. With cloud and collaborative technology, everyone can easily work wherever and whenever suits their needs. Adopting such a flexible approach with your staff can improve productivity, as well as create a more supportive working environment, so figuring out how to modernise and adapt your workplace should be top of your to do list.

Take Your Time

The concept of taking your time when you’re increasingly busy seems contradictory, we know, but rushing your way into a bad decision or venturing into a deal without thinking through all possible outcomes is a sure-fire way of making mistakes – and costly ones at that.

Putting aside time and effort for data collection is important for making accurate predictions and plans that’ll help you develop your business. From focus groups to surveys, understanding your consumer base will improve sales and your reputation.

Have you got efficiency mastered? Or maybe you’ve discovered the secret to working productively and running a successful business? You can always leave a comment and let us know.