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The Story of Five Frogs

san luis obispo frogsI love this little riddle:

There are five frogs on a log.  Four of them decide to jump off.  How many frogs are on the log?

The answer is five – because deciding and jumping are two entirely different things.

So you’ve decided you’re ready to grow your business.  You’ve declared you want to make more money, promising yourself that you will pay closer attention to where your money is coming from and where it is going.  You say you are going to spend more time on the things that will make your business a financial success.  But what have you actually done?  How long have you sat there, still on that log, deciding and not doing?

By getting the distinction of the difference between “deciding” and “doing,” you are now ready to get off of the log.  As a small business coach in San Luis Obispo, I have found that many small business owners have some truly great ideas and a long list of things they want to do that will really make a difference for their businesses.  However, I also find that many new and small businesses simply fail to actually take the actions needed, leaving them wondering why they have not been able to achieve their dreams.

So how do we start to take action?  It is more simple than some realize.  Put it on your calendar!  If you needed to catch a plane at 6:00 a.m. wouldn’t you have it on your calendar?  Wouldn’t you know exactly what you needed to pack and what time you needed to leave the house in order to be at the airport on time?  It works the same way for everything you want to do for your business.  By identifying an objective and then putting all of the necessary actionable items you need to do on your calendar and then not giving that time away to something else, your objective will be reached.

Let’s look at an example:

Objective:  Growing your business by knowing your money.


1)     Calendar time one day a week for the sole purpose of getting your financial records in order.   The size of your business will determine how much time you need to block off.   Treat this like any other appointment you calendar.

2)     Organize your work space and all of your bank statements, check registers, credit card statements, etc. and get started.  If you need software to help, then calendar the purchase of that as well.  I happen to like QuickBooks as it is easy to learn and use.

3)     Honor the appointment on your calendar and work on your financial records.  Continue the bookkeeping updates while at the same time refining your records so that the income and expense information you want to know is clearly captured.  Always reconcile your checking, savings and credit card accounts on a monthly basis by adding an appointment to your calendar and then honoring that appointment.

4)     Keep at it!  Doing what it takes to know your money is a forever activity.  In order to start measuring for growth every business must know where they are at!  As your business develops and grows,  you must always have this information readily available in order to assess the financial health of your business.  This is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

5)     Start knowing your money.  Many business owners find they are actually able to generate profit and loss reports that are meaningful very soon after starting the financial record keeping process.  Don’t be discouraged if it seems to be taking you longer than you thought.  Finding out how much time is needed to do this, whether or not you are up to the task or if it is not a good use of your time is great information in and of itself.  If you need help, now is a great time to get it!

6)     Analyze the results.  How much money are you making?  What are your expenses?  Is it what you thought?  Why not?  Decide what changes are needed or what you need to know and …. wait for it …. get your new objectives and actions on calendar.

7)      Experience financial success.

I think it should be obvious that each of us must do more than “decide” if we want to achieve financial success.  Whether you have a goal that takes 4 weeks or 10 weeks, you’ll never get there without taking action.  This is why I never tire of telling the small business owners I coach in San Luis Obispo County the story of the five frogs.  What are you waiting for?  Start today!  JUMP!

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Lorna Whiteaker

Lorna Whiteaker is a San Luis Obispo business consultant and coach dedicated to helping business owners get the results they want. Lorna has over 30 years of experience working with small businesses, working as an administrator in the legal industry and as an independent business consultant helping hundreds of entrepreneurs. With clear and realistic expectations of just what a business owner must deal with in running their business, big or small, she has worked with firms making 7 figures and start-ups with little more than elbow grease and a dream.