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  • Writer's pictureJacob Curtis

Cash is King: How to Master Cash Management for Your Online Store

Updated: 3 days ago


Running a business involves juggling multiple financial aspects, and it's easy to get lost in the complexities of revenue, expenses, and cash flow. The Profit First methodology offers a transformative approach, prioritizing profit to ensure long-term financial health and stability. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the principles of Profit First, its benefits, and how to implement it in your business.

What is Profit First?

Understanding the Profit First Methodology

Profit First, created by Mike Michalowicz, is a cash management system that flips traditional accounting on its head. Instead of the formula Sales - Expenses = Profit, Profit First advocates for Sales - Profit = Expenses. This shift ensures that profit is prioritized from the start.

Core Principles of Profit First

  1. Prioritize Profit: Allocate a percentage of income to profit before covering any expenses.

  2. Segment Accounts: Use multiple bank accounts to segregate funds for different purposes (profit, taxes, operating expenses).

  3. Control Spending: By limiting the funds available for expenses, businesses are forced to operate more efficiently.

  4. Regular Profit Distributions: Regularly distribute profit to owners to reinforce the habit of prioritizing profit.

Why is Profit First Important?

Ensuring Financial Stability

Prioritizing profit creates a buffer that protects your business from financial instability. It ensures that you always have a reserve to fall back on, reducing the risk of cash flow issues.

Encouraging Sustainable Growth

By limiting the funds available for expenses, businesses are encouraged to grow sustainably. It fosters creativity and efficiency, ensuring that every dollar spent is necessary and adds value.

Reducing Financial Stress

Financial stress is a common issue for business owners. Implementing Profit First reduces this stress by ensuring that you always have a profit reserve, making it easier to handle unexpected expenses or downturns.

Building a Strong Financial Foundation

Profit First helps build a strong financial foundation by ensuring that profit is not an afterthought but a primary focus. This approach leads to better financial planning and healthier business practices.

How to Implement Profit First in Your Business

Step 1: Assess Your Current Financial Situation

Start by analyzing your current financial statements. Understand your revenue, expenses, and profit margins. This will give you a clear picture of your starting point.

Step 2: Set Up Multiple Bank Accounts

Create separate bank accounts for different purposes:

  • Income Account: Where all your revenue is deposited.

  • Profit Account: A percentage of income allocated to profit (think: growth fund).

  • Tax Account: Funds reserved for tax obligations.

  • Operating Expenses Account: Money allocated for daily business expenses.

  • Owner's Compensation Account: Funds for the owner's salary.

Step 3: Determine Your Allocation Percentages

Based on your current financial situation, determine the percentages of income to allocate to each account. Start with small percentages and adjust as your business grows.

Step 4: Regularly Allocate Funds

Consistently allocate funds to the designated accounts based on your predetermined percentages. This should be done on a regular basis, such as weekly or bi-weekly.

Step 5: Monitor and Adjust

Regularly review your financial situation and adjust your allocation percentages as needed. This will ensure that your business continues to grow sustainably while maintaining a healthy profit margin.

Overcoming Common Challenges with Profit First

Challenge 1: Resistance to Change

Many business owners are resistant to changing their financial management practices. To overcome this, start with small steps and gradually increase the percentages allocated to profit and other accounts.

Challenge 2: Cash Flow Issues

If your business is experiencing cash flow issues, start with a lower profit percentage and gradually increase it as your financial situation improves. This will help you build a profit reserve without straining your cash flow.

Challenge 3: Maintaining Discipline

Maintaining discipline with the Profit First methodology can be challenging. To stay on track, set up automatic transfers to the designated accounts and regularly review your financial statements to monitor progress.

Benefits of Profit First for Small Businesses

Improved Financial Health

Profit First ensures that small businesses prioritize profit, leading to improved financial health and stability. It helps businesses build a reserve that can be used for growth, emergencies, or reinvestment.

Enhanced Cash Flow Management

By segregating funds into different accounts, businesses can better manage their cash flow. This ensures that there are always funds available for necessary expenses, taxes, and owner compensation.

Increased Owner Satisfaction

Regular profit distributions to owners increase satisfaction and motivation. It reinforces the importance of profit and encourages business owners to maintain a focus on financial health.

Real-Life Success Stories

Case Study 1: Turning Around a Struggling Business

A retailer was struggling with cash flow issues and mounting debt. By implementing Profit First, they were able to prioritize profit, reduce unnecessary expenses, and build a reserve. Within 18 months, the business turned around and started generating consistent profits.

Case Study 2: Sustainable Growth for a Start-Up

An ecommerce start-up adopted the Profit First methodology from the beginning. This approach helped them manage their finances efficiently, avoid debt, and achieve sustainable growth. Today, the company is thriving with a solid financial foundation.


What is the Profit First formula?

The Profit First formula is Sales - Profit = Expenses. This means that profit is prioritized and allocated first, and the remaining funds are used to cover expenses.

How do I determine the right allocation percentages?

Start by analyzing your current financial situation. Begin with small percentages and adjust as your business grows. The key is to ensure that profit is consistently prioritized.

Can Profit First work for any business?

Yes, Profit First can be implemented in any business, regardless of size or industry. The principles are universal and can be adapted to fit different financial situations.

How often should I allocate funds to the designated accounts?

Funds should be allocated to the designated accounts on a regular basis, such as weekly or bi-weekly. Consistency is key to maintaining the Profit First methodology.

What if my business is already in debt?

If your business is in debt, start with a lower profit percentage and gradually increase it as your financial situation improves. The goal is to build a profit reserve while managing debt responsibly.

Is it necessary to have multiple bank accounts?

Yes, having multiple bank accounts is crucial to the Profit First methodology. It ensures that funds are segregated and allocated for specific purposes, making it easier to manage your finances.


The Profit First methodology offers a revolutionary approach to business finance. By prioritizing profit and ensuring sustainable growth, Profit First helps businesses improve their financial health, reduce stress, and build a strong foundation for future success. Start today by assessing your current financial situation, setting up multiple bank accounts, and allocating funds consistently. With dedication and discipline, Profit First can transform your business and help you achieve long-term financial stability.


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