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.