"There are always two choices. Two paths to take. One is easy. And its only reward is that it's easy." - Author unknown
By definition, as entrepreneurs, we try to achieve a lot of tasks with limited resources. And as a result, it is often imperative that we seek the easiest ways to achieve these tasks.
Is that so bad? As the quote implies, it would be. However, a critical distinction must be made between the words "easy" and "easier."
In general, "easy" is not good. If something is easy, than anyone can do it (including your competitors) and you gain no competitive advantage. Unless, that is, there is an advantage to doing something first. Or, if you don't need competitive advantage in that area (e.g., using a website that makes it easy to find a local cleaning company for your business would be an example of this).
On the other hand, accomplishing something in a way that is "easier" than your competitors does give you a real advantage.
And there are three core ways you can accomplish tasks easier:
1) Planning. When entrepreneurs rush to accomplish tasks, they often make mistakes, don't perform as well, and take longer to achieve the desired outcomes. Conversely, with a bit of planning before starting key tasks, you will complete them faster and with better results.
For example, if you were driving somewhere for the first time, spending 5 minutes planning the trip (printing out directions for example) would clearly save you multiples of that 5 minutes in driving time had you not done it. Or preparing a grocery list before going shopping always saves you time and ensures that you get all the items you need. The same is true for virtually ever business project you undertake.
2) Getting better information. By getting expert information, you leverage the wisdom of others who have already accomplished what you seek to do. For example, if your goal is to drive one million visitors to your website, clearly you could achieve this better and faster by following the blueprint of someone who has done this before.
This is why I have created so many information products. For example, if you're trying to raise venture capital for the first time with limited knowledge of how to raise venture capital, your chances of success are pretty much zero.
Now, if you follow my Venture Capital Pitch Formula, are your chances of success 100%? Definitely not. But this product gives you all the lessons and steps gained from my expertise raising venture capital for numerous clients. So, not only do your chances of success skyrocket, but you save countless hours and avoid embarrassing mistakes.
So, always seek out the best expert information before embarking on a key project.
3) Using the right tools. I often get frustrated when doing home improvement projects without the proper tools. It always takes much longer and the results are never as good. The same is true in our businesses. The right tools allow you to boost your productivity and achieve more results in less time. For example, I use Basecamp to better communicate and share information with my team. And we use QuickBooks to streamline our accounting. And so on.
Particularly with tasks that need to be completed on an ongoing basis (e.g., invoicing clients), it's always a good investment to find and use the best tools.
It's your willingness and ability to accomplish the hard that makes you a successful entrepreneur. Never take the easy road. But when you're on the challenging entrepreneurial path, constantly seek to find the easier ways to accomplish tasks. For this will allow you to accomplish tasks faster and with less resources, and gain lasting competitive advantage.
And remember, success isn't easy, but it can be made easier, and it's worth it.