Metro Bank launch - magic money machine
Creative Commons License photo credit: EG Focus

Magic Thinking

This is a little story about a business owner, let’s call her Silly Sally, who’s running a business that is doing just OK but not growing and thriving like she wants. The reason, you see, is that Sally has some funny ideas about money. She has magic thinking about money. She thinks that money is the same as intangible attributes like respect, self worth and even security.

Sally wants her business to be successful so she’ll have more money but she believes that the money will make her feel more secure and make people look up to her. Worst of all, she’s certain that just having more money will make her feel better about herself.

Poor Sally, she’s so taken with these enchanted ideas about money that she blindly goes along with the notion that “It’ll all work out” without any proof. She has a terrible case of baseless optimism.

Sally’s managed to keep her business going for three years but is having more and more trouble managing now that her Sparkly Snig-widgets are starting to sell. She’s missed a few payments to her biggest supplier and has a chance to have the Snig-widgets placed in a national catalog if she changes her packaging a little. Too bad Sally has no idea how to pay for the new packages or how many Snig-widgets she would have to sell.

What Money Is


One day, as Sally was fretting over her troubles and clicking around her usual internet sites, she saw an oddly bright and glimmering link. It was so enticing she couldn’t help clicking on it (now we all know to be careful when the Internet offers you links but this one was special) and was instantly whisked to a page that had only one phrase on it.

  • Money is a tool.

Sally was confused and looked around for more explanation or links or something to explain this odd thing. There was no more and once she went back in her browser, the glittery link seemed to have disappeared. How Strange!

In desperation, Sally turned to the dictionary and found this definition of the word tool: anything that serves as a means.

As she thought about the idea of money being nothing more than a means to the end of making her business more profitable, she began to understand that having the money itself wasn’t what she really wanted.

Getting to Work

Sally decided to start trying to use the money she had to make her business better. The first thing she had to do was find out exactly how much money was in her bank account. Sally had been so blinded by baseless optimism she didn’t even keep track of her bank balance regularly. So, she started by setting up a simple notebook with a line for each time money came in or went out and the amount left. After doing this for a while, Sally was much more comfortable with the idea and the process of routinely checking her stock of money.

Once Sally had the hang of measuring her money, she was ready to move on to actively using it as a planning tool. She started monitoring her basic cash flow and was able to avoid missing any more supplier payments as well as put back enough funds to pay for the new Snig-widgets packages. With the packages in hand, Sally approached her new catalog distributor for some sales information that allowed her to calculate how much she would have to sell to break even on the new venture.

Happily Ever After


Now Sally sees that money is both manageable and useful, she’s become Sally Serious – at least where managing her business is concerned. She’s more comfortable using money and is learning how to invest it and make it work for her to make her business more profitable so she can live the life she wants.