How Entrepreneurs Can Create Shortcuts For Others & Provide Value

Dan Sullivan
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Shortcuts are the main currency among humans, so it’s critical to know how to provide a shortcut for others. I’ve been on earth for 77 years, and in that time, I’ve gained some insight into when things do and don’t work.

What doesn’t work is spending your life figuring out and doing everything yourself.

The truth is, we’re only good at doing and knowing certain things. If you think you must do everything, you’ll spend your time in frustration and failure, and if you think you know everything, a lot of it is likely inaccurate or wrong.

We’re much smarter, better informed, more stimulated, and constantly taking in more information today than ever before. Therefore, we must continuously work to adapt, create shortcuts for others, and leverage shortcuts ourselves.

Around the age of six, I understood that business was all about being useful to big people. See, there’s not much of a reward for a six-year-old being useful to another six-year-old, but there’s an enormous reward for a six-year-old who creates a shortcut for others who are 10, 20, or 30 years older.

At that time, I didn’t have a hold on what my usefulness would be in the future or what shortcuts I’d create for others, but I did learn that everybody loves useful. So, finally, after a couple of decades, I understand what useful meant: that you provided a shortcut.

Be a shortcut for others.

When you provide a shortcut in other people’s lives, you know how to give them information, skills, or a service that saves them time. At Strategic Coach, we focus on being useful to successful entrepreneurs. In 2024, I’ll have been coaching entrepreneurs for 50 years, and entrepreneurs are the shortcutters of shortcuts, which is why they never quite fit in the box of other people’s rules or systems.

However, the shortcuts entrepreneurs come up with are valuable to other entrepreneurs and systems. These shortcuts enable better, faster, cheaper ways of doing things that are otherwise too frustrating, too hard, or too time-consuming. And these shortcuts, this usefulness, is how to become a star in your industry.

Shortcuts as currency.

I think shortcuts are the currency of humanity, despite most people being unaware of this. Entrepreneurs are compelled to become shortcutters, connect with other shortcutters, and double down on their value because no one else guarantees their security or success. As a result, they rely on these shortcuts to succeed.

It makes sense that entrepreneurs care about results and are driven to create better methods to get better results. So, the whole currency of entrepreneurism is shortcuts to more significant results.

How to leverage shortcuts.

If anything you’re doing is frustrating, challenging, or very time-consuming, get someone else to do it. You don’t have to know how to do everything, nor will you. When seeking a result, ask “Who?” not “How?” If you don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, don’t go for that result, or get someone else to get the result without involving you. In short, surround yourself with people (and tech!) who can act as a shortcut in the areas that fall outside your Unique Ability (what you love to do and do best). And remember, your Unique Ability is the secret ingredient to your ability to provide a shortcut for others.

One of my shortcuts is that I don’t watch television or involve myself in social media. Very few people have my phone number or email, yet my day is filled with dozens of projects involving teamwork. I’m still fully active and engaged with people. Every quarter, I engage with 500 entrepreneurs in our workshops, which have become even bigger due to the Zoom-enabled shortcut for my attendees and me, who no longer need to travel to participate.

Life is full of shortcuts. In any human activity—arts, industry, sports, entertainment, finances, you name it—the best are the best shortcutters and the ones who take advantage of other people’s shortcuts. So, don’t take the long way around to success.

To learn more, check out our podcasts.