I have a little gift for you. A simple idea that can make a big difference in your life. It can mean the difference between struggling through an ordinary life or being immensely successful. It is a very small thought that is worth a very great deal to you if (a) you really understand it and (b) you make it a part of your life.

The idea in a nutshell: Knowledge is a form of wealth. Like wealth, it provides dividends if it is invested. Over a long period of time, those dividends compound. Eventually, they become gargantuan. If you take an idea and plant it — not just in your mind but also in the operations of your business — it will start to grow. What seems like an insignificant seed today will look like a healthy tree in a few years time — and a huge, towering oak in 10 or 20 years. When someone gives you a valuable idea, do something with it immediately.

If you are inexperienced, don’t expect it to change your world — but put it to work anyway, because it will become more valuable over time. Value good advice. Put it to work Cultivate it over time. As the months and years pass, crossbreed it with other new ideas. As time goes on, your capacity to use new ideas will grow enormously. One day in the future, what seems hard today will seem easy. An idea that makes you $500 today will make you $50,000 or $5 million. It will be the same idea, but it will be much, much more powerful — because you will be more powerful.

You and your business will have grown like an oak tree. How do you continue to generate fresh, useful ideas that will help your business grow? Ask your workers. Rather than solicit ideas remotely and abstractly, ask each member of your working team these two questions: “What are you doing that’s smart for our business?” and “What are you doing that’s good for our customers?” You won’t always get great answers.

In fact, most of them will be mediocre. But if you get 10 ideas from 10 workers, at least one of them will be good. And that can make a big difference. Ask the questions in person, by phone, or by e-mail — but make each query personal and expect a thoughtful reply.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]

Mark Morgan Ford

Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Wealth Builders Club. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.