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Full Speed Ahead

15 shortcuts to business success.

It doesn't have to be this difficult," you've told yourself a thousand times this year. "There has to be an easier way."

In most cases, there probably is. But rushing through the days and weeks trying to keep a business afloat robs most of us of the time we need to find that better way. Sometimes it feels faster and, strangely, even more efficient to bump along in a familiar rut than to stop and find a smoother route.

Hiring is always a headache, you think, but what the heck; you do it so rarely, it's not worth your time to try to find a better way.

Sure, it would be great to set up a teleconference instead of sending a trusted employee out on the road at the last minute--again--but who has the time to research new technology?

And you don't even want to think about those stacks of paper threatening to take over your desk. A little clutter never killed anybody, you rationalize.

Not directly, no. But clutter--whether it's physical, such as stacks of unanswered phone messages, or mental, like the thousands of small anxieties that distract you from thinking strategically about your business--can be hazardous to your company's health.

Like the secret shortcut that lets you breeze past a clog on the expressway and gets you where you're going, business shortcuts can provide an invaluable boost to the mileage you squeeze out of your days. Here, then, is a guide to some of the most effective shortcuts every entrepreneur should know about. These 15 tips represent the best advice of organization and efficiency experts, small-business management professors and entrepreneurs themselves.

Dennis Rodkin is a freelance writer who lives in Highland Park, Illinois.

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This article was originally published in the October 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Full Speed Ahead.

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