There is a tool available for making money which is so powerful that you’ll never find a successful entrepreneur without one. This tool is inexpensive, available everywhere, and you probably already have one you aren’t using. I’m speaking, of course, about the humble notepad.
If you think I’m exaggerating the importance of this little item, visit an office supply store. Take a look at the notebooks and notepads they have for sale. There will be two basic types in various sizes: simple paperback notebooks for students and elaborate vinyl or leather versions for businessmen. Next, ask yourself this question: Who would buy a $79 leather-bound journal when there is a perfectly good $1.29 notebook not three feet away?
Someone with money to spend. Someone who considers it to be very important.
You should take recording your thoughts seriously too. When you have an idea that might make money, write it down — period. No matter how busy you may be, no matter who you are talking to, scribble out 5-10 words and put the pad away. Don’t be embarrassed. If anything you will appear more professional and go up a notch in the eyes of your peers.
Even ideas that seem completely out of reach should be recorded. How many times have you had a conversation with friends that included “Wouldn’t it be great if somebody came up with an [insert great idea]?” Well, someone just came up with it. The fact that you aren’t a software programmer doesn’t mean you can’t have a great idea for a program. Pretend that you have a dedicated staff of writers, designers, and engineers at your disposal — because some day you might; and if that day comes the handful of words you stashed away will become a goldmine. There are big ideas and small ideas, use the ones you can and keep the rest for later.
Thanks to the Internet you are not limited to pen and paper. Use the notepad utility in your phone or PDA if it has one, and place a text file on your Windows desktop that you can use for quick notes. Another useful method is to create a special folder in your inbox for notes. Set your email software to put all messages in it that have subjects starting with “Idea:”. Anytime you have a flash of inspiration all you have to do is email yourself and your thoughts get neatly collected in one place. This has the added advantage of making it easy to search through your notes with your mail client’s “Find” feature.
The utility of a notepad is determined entirely by the discipline with which you use it. Most people are bubbling over with ideas that last only a whimsical moment or two and then are forgotten. Don’t let yours slip away, instead keep them close and they will become an invaluable part of your long-term success.