A Book Review Of ‘Profit First’ By Mike Michalowicz

Last Updated: September 25, 2023 | by Paul Harstrom

Did you know that according to the Small Business Administration, nearly 50% of small businesses fail within the first five years? Read this full book review of Profit First by Mike MichaloWicz to know WHY!

A Review of Profit First By Mike Michalowicz for Reinventing Financial Management

One of the primary reasons behind this staggering statistic of 50% of business startups failing is the lack of profitability which is a significant contributor to the high failure rate among small businesses. 

However, a revolutionary approach is challenging the status quo and transforming how businesses handle their finances in this Profit First Review

Mike Michalowicz’s book “Profit First” is the blueprint for financial management that has helped thousands of businesses survive and thrive in today’s competitive entrepreneurial world. It presents a distinct and valuable method for handling a company’s finances. 

Learn the key principles of 'Profit First' through our in-depth book review. 
Uncover strategies to increase profits and financial stability.
Profit First Book

In Profit First, Michalowicz takes readers on a journey to profoundly change their perspective about money and make their businesses lucrative through engrossing storytelling, practical tactics, and real-world examples. 

Whether you are an established business owner or are just getting started, this review of “Profit First” offers helpful advice and detailed instructions to assist you in achieving success in financial management while building a solid and successful company. 

The ability to interpret financial data, mitigate risks, allocate resources effectively, and make informed decisions ultimately yields profitable outcomes for the company.

In this article, we’ll also get deep insight into “A Book Summary of ‘Profit First: Transform your Business from a Cash-Eating Monster to a Money-Making Machine” for Reinventing Financial Management and explore how prioritizing profitability leads to the creation of a sustainable and prosperous business foundation.

The Summary of “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz:

The groundbreaking book “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz presents a distinct and valuable method for handling a company’s finances. In this book, Michalowicz offers an alternative to the conventional equation of sales minus costs equals profit.

Instead, he calls for a radical structure that puts profit first from the beginning. Business owners can take back control of their finances, reduce financial stress, and achieve sustainable success by implementing the Profit First approach.

Operating a small business is no easy task. Entrepreneurs often face numerous challenges that hinder their growth.

Unfortunately, the traditional approach to business finances, where sales minus expenses equals profit, often sets small businesses up for failure.

As stated by the author:

“Money is the foundation. Without enough money, we cannot take our message, our products, or our services to the world. Without enough money, we are slaves to the businesses we launched.”

Mike Michalowicz

In this model, profits are an afterthought, often nonexistent, as businesses prioritize paying bills, suppliers, and employees. The result is a constant struggle to stay afloat, with little room for growth or financial stability.

This is where “Profit First” steps in with its revolutionary approach. By flipping the traditional accounting formula to:

 Sales – Profit = Expenses

‘Profit First’ challenges business owners to prioritize profitability from the start. This approach forces business owners to be more disciplined with their spending, make informed financial decisions, and prioritize profit as a key performance indicator.

By implementing the “Profit First” system, businesses can:

  • gain greater control over their finances
  • experience improved cash flow management, and 
  • establish a solid foundation for growth

Profit becomes a driving force behind decision-making, empowering businesses to make strategic investments and expand their operations. A company needs to turn a profit and produce money to survive. 

Click here to learn more about how successful companies applied an open book management technique and dive their businesses toward profitability and growth.

Profit First Methodology: Increase Profit With This System:

The “Profit First” system, introduced by Mike Michalowicz, is a revolutionary approach to financial management for successful businesses. 

As mentioned earlier, this system challenges the traditional accounting formula of “Sales – Expenses = Profit” and flips it to “Sales – Profit = Expenses.”

This methodology fosters a feeling of financial discipline, pushing companies to live within their means and focus on making a profit

It aids business owners in avoiding the usual pitfall of overspending or depending on excess money for profit, which frequently results in unstable finances and low profitability. 

“You must figure out the things that make a profit and dump the things that don’t.”

Mike Michalowicz

By implementing the “Profit First” system, small businesses can experience various benefits that positively impact their financial health. Some of them are discussed below.

Benefits of a Profit First System:

As discussed in the book, the following are some benefits of adopting a Profit First System.

Financial Resilience: 

Prioritizing profit is a buffer against unexpected expenses, market fluctuations, or unforeseen challenges.

By building up a reserve of profits, businesses can navigate difficult times without relying on external funding or incurring debt. This resilience strengthens the overall financial health of the organization.

Sustainability and Business Growth: 

Profit is the lifeblood of any business. It provides the necessary resources for a company to sustain operations, invest in growth opportunities, and weather economic downturns.

By prioritizing profit, businesses ensure they have the financial stability to thrive long-term.


When profit becomes a priority, it influences decision-making at every business level.

Business owners and managers are more likely to evaluate potential investments, expenses, and strategies with a critical eye, considering their impact on profitability.

This disciplined approach leads to smarter financial decisions and efficiently allocates resources.

Improved Cash Flow Management:

By setting aside profit first, businesses establish a habit of consistently allocating funds to ensure profitability. This disciplined approach helps prevent the common trap of spending all revenue without considering profit, leading to improved cash flow management.

With a focus on profit, businesses can more effectively plan and allocate resources, avoid cash flow crunches, and maintain stability even during challenging times.

Enhanced Profitability:

Businesses are motivated to find creative ways to increase their profitability by making profit a priority rather than an afterthought.

The system encourages business owners to evaluate their expenses, identify areas of inefficiency, and explore revenue-generating opportunities. This emphasis on profitability can lead to higher margins and improved financial performance.

Mike Michalowicz – Profit First

What is Profit First Accounting and How Does it Work?

Profit First Accounting is a financial management approach introduced in the book “Profit First” by Mike Michalowicz. 

The central idea is that businesses using Profit First allocate a predetermined percentage of their income towards profit from the outset before any expenses are paid. 

This forces business owners to operate within their means and make strategic decisions based on available resources, ultimately driving efficiency and growth.

To implement Profit First Accounting, businesses set up multiple bank accounts, each designated for specific purposes like profit, owner’s compensation, taxes, and operating expenses. 

When generated, revenue is immediately distributed among these accounts according to predetermined percentages. The system ensures profit is taken off the top and expenses are constrained by what remains. 

The Profit First System compels businesses to become more disciplined in managing their finances and fosters a consistent focus on profitability. 

Regular assessments and adjustments of these percentages allow businesses to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining a healthy profit margin.

Learn how to excel in financial leadership with the 'Profit First' strategy. Explore our insights and tips for leading diligently.

Establishing “TAP” For Effective Financial Management:

Mike Michalowicz introduces “Target Allocation Percentages” or TAP in the book “Profit First”. These target allocation percentages refer to the recommended proportions or percentages of revenue that should be allocated to different bank accounts within the Profit First system. 

The Target Allocation Percentages help business owners determine how much of their revenue should be allocated to specific accounts. The following categories of accounts are discussed in the book:

  • The Profit Account
  • Owner’s Compensation Account
  • Tax Account, and
  • Operating Expenses Account

These percentages provide a framework for distributing funds to ensure profitability, financial stability, and proper cash flow management. The specific target allocation percentages may vary depending on factors such as:

  • The size of the business
  • Type of industry, and 
  • Individual circumstances 

The book “Profit First” provides general guidelines and recommendations on these percentages. Still, business owners need to adopt them based on their unique situations and financial goals.

The TAP’s goal is to ensure that your money is distributed in a way consistent with your company’s values.

You can decide how money is allocated and divided among various parts of your organization by setting specified percentages for each spending account. 

By following the TAP, you may efficiently manage your cash flow and make judgments on how to distribute your company’s revenue. It is a structured approach to financial management that ensures profitability and Successful Business Growth.

Profit First for Personal Finances: How to Implement It:

Implementing the “Profit First” system is a step-by-step process that starts with setting up separate bank accounts for different financial purposes, just like we have discussed before in profit-first accounting.

Business owners create accounts for profit, owner’s compensation, taxes, and operating expenses. This separation helps to allocate funds and prioritize profitability.

Once the accounts are set up, business owners can allocate a small percentage of their revenue to the Profit Account. 

This percentage can gradually increase over time as the business becomes more profitable. By prioritizing profit, you create a strong foundation for the company’s financial health and sustainable growth. 

“When less money is available to run your business, you will find ways to get the same or better results with less. By taking your profit first, you will be forced to think smarter and innovate more.”

Mike Michalowicz 

Throughout the implementation process, it’s crucial to: 

  • Closely monitor cash flow
  • Track expenses
  • Review financial reports regularly

This allows small business owners to gain a clear understanding of their financial health and make informed decisions. 

Mike Michalowicz emphasizes the implementation of the Profit First strategy with the following confession:

“I created the Profit First system to eradicate my financial struggles. And I am honored to say that as of writing this, over 175,000 companies have implemented the system.”

Mike Michalowicz

Case Studies Implementing Profit First Methodology:

Here are a couple of real-life case studies that implemented the “Profit First” system and gained profitable success. 

Pinnacle Exteriors:

Pinnacle Exteriors is a roofing and solar energy installation company based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. By implementing the Profit First strategy, the company experienced significant financial improvements. 

Learn how Pinnacle Exteriors utilizes the 'Profit First' strategy to maximize profits and financial stability in the exterior industry.

They increased their profit margin from 2% to 10% within the first year of implementing the strategy. This allowed them to reinvest in the business and expand their operations.

Mighty Squirrel Brewing Company:

Mighty Squirrel Brewing Co, a craft beer company based in Massachusetts, implemented the Profit First strategy and experienced significant improvements. 

By prioritizing profit allocation, they could reduce unnecessary expenses and streamline their operations. This allowed them to reinvest in their business, diversify their distribution, and develop new products.

Key Web Metrics:

Key Web Metrics, a digital marketing agency, implemented the Profit First strategy to enhance its financial management. 

By prioritizing profit allocation, they gained better control over their expenses, increased their cash reserves, and achieved higher profitability. 

This allowed them to invest in marketing initiatives, hire additional staff, and expand their service offerings.


The profit concepts discussed in this book review of Proft First completely transform how firms think about their finances by putting profit at the center of everything they do.

Businesses can reap enormous rewards by adopting a profit-first mentality, setting up designated bank accounts, and observing target allocation percentages (TAP).

‘Profit First’ by Mike Michalowicz allows companies to weather economic downturns, invest in expansion, and maintain long-term financial stability. 

Share your thoughts in the comments below! If you have more exciting ideas to generate profit for the company.

How LEAD Diligently Can Help You

Lead Diligently offers expert-led leadership development programs to help you build business executive skills & advance profitable enterprises.

We are on a mission to help our clients gain the clarity they need to wholly pursue their God-given purpose and grow profitable enterprises.


What is a profit in business?

Profit in business is the surplus after deducting all expenses from total revenue, representing the financial gain or positive outcome.

How Profit First System introduced by Mike Michalowicz is different?

Profit-First Book Cover Mike Michalowicz

Profit First, introduced by Mike Michalowicz, emphasizes allocating a portion of revenue for a profit before addressing expenses, promoting consistent profitability.

Is Profit First suitable for all types of businesses?

Profit First can be adapted for various business types and sizes, promoting financial health and stability across industries.

What are the five profit-first accounts?

The five Profit First accounts are Income, Profit, Owner’s Compensation, Tax, and Operating Expenses, each serving a specific purpose in the Profit First financial management system.

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