Profit First: Taming Your Money-Gobbling Monster

By Lynn Wise

Are you familiar with Profit First? It’s something I explored in my previous article, but even if you didn’t read it, you may have heard of this revolutionary approach to cash flow. Based on the best-selling book by Mike Michalowicz, Profit First presents a simple way to rethink your business accounting. While the conventional cash flow formula is revenues minus expenses equals profit, Profit First offers a subtle tweak: Revenues minus profits equals expenses.

In other words, it’s an accounting paradigm in which you set aside profits from each bank deposit you make, and only then do you pay the bills. It forces entrepreneurs to proactively set aside real cash earnings, and it can transform any business from a money-gobbling monster into a profit-generating machine.

In short, it’s all about taming the beast that is your business—but where to start, exactly?


Understanding the Problem

It’s probably fair to say that most business owners review their income statements infrequently. Chances are, you simply don’t have the time to review your important financial documents every single day, and that’s okay! But you probably do check your bank account daily—if only to make sure you’ve still got enough in the reserves to cover the day’s operational expenses.

This is human nature: We want to know what’s happening now, at this very moment, and to make our decisions based on that snapshot of information. There’s actually a psychological term for this tendency; it’s called the Recency Effect. This is the human inclination to overemphasize the right now. This practice of making financial decisions based solely on the current account statements is also called Bank Balance Accounting.

Bank Balance Accounting is common, but also problematic. It’s all but impossible to make real long-term plans or to prepare our companies for growth when all we’re looking at is today’s balance. Business owners who rely on Bank Balance Accounting tend to fall into the Survival Trap—not necessarily working toward a vision or a long-term goal, but simply doing whatever’s required to keep their business afloat in the here-and-now.

The other piece of the puzzle is GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Practices. It is the paradigm that most small businesses use, and the one that often goes hand-in-hand with Bank Balance Accounting. GAAP simply refers to that conventional formula discussed earlier—Sales minus expenses equals profits.

GAAP makes logical sense. What it suggests is that we should sell as much as possible, spend as little as possible, then pocket the difference. The math checks out! The problem here is human nature. We’re not logical creatures and GAAP may make numerical sense, but it hardly makes “human sense.” All too often, GAAP manifests as an obsessive desire to sell more and more, to make your company bigger and bigger, improving top-line revenues and hoping that translates into a big increase in profit. Again, it’s not really a visionary approach. It’s all about doing something now to keep the company afloat. But the real problem is that, as we grow our businesses and making them bigger and better, it causes operational expenses to balloon. The more we make, the more we spend. Essentially, there’s nothing left to claim as profit.


A New Way to Consider Your Business’s Financial Health

In short, what business owners need is a way to monitor the financial health of their business while also working toward real, long-term growth solutions. Profit First provides exactly that, and it does so in a way that uses our natural human behaviors advantageously. In fact, Profit First actually encourages business owners to continue with their Bank Balance Accounting habits!

Maybe you’re ready to get started with Profit First and learn how you can actually be smart about generating business profits. I can recommend a few action steps: Draw a line in the sand today and commit to taming your money-gobbling monster. No more paycheck-to-paycheck living. No more survival mode. Make real growth your goal!

A Certified Profit First Professional that is knowledgeable about home services businesses can coach you on the best approach—how to tame your beast and turn into a cash generator. Ask your Profit First Professional about taking an Instant Assessment, which can provide you with some specific numbers and calculations as you rethink your business accounting practices.

Your company may seem untamable, but Profit First can work for any business—assuming you pursue it with the right coaching. Take a minute to seek a Certified Profit First Professional today!


Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These group of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!

Yes, Your Next Hire Should Be A Woman

By Vicki LaPlant

How exciting is it to write an article on why hiring a woman should be a part of your thinking with that next hire? I, like many people (not just women but men as well), stumbled into this industry. Having taught high school English for four years, I didn’t even know an industry such as ours existed. And if I had any conscious recognition of it, my assumption would have been that it was for engineers or people who wanted to work on the air conditioner or heater. (My Texas upbringing is showing.)

The point being is that 30 years ago upon my entry into HVACR, we were an invisible industry and today we still remain so to most young people – men or women. So for career opportunities, the industry is not on the radar. And this is in spite of the fact that states that an HVAC mechanic is one of the top 10 highest paying two-year degree opportunities.

So the first answer to the question of why women should enter this industry is opportunity and money. With the shortage of skilled application and mechanical engineers, technicians and plumbers, our industry will continue to require more people for the foreseeable future and it is an industry recognized to pay well. So the opportunities for women are abundant.

Next, this industry needs women. What we bring is an ability to listen, to translate technical language into consumer language, to recognize needs and provide solutions. When I entered the industry, I didn’t know the difference between a heater, a standard furnace, a condenser, an evaporator coil and an air conditioner. Yet, I was hired to write and edit training materials. I didn’t know the technical jargon, but I did know how to communicate and how to explain technical information in a way that students learning the industry could grasp. This is a skill that many women have based on our willingness to ask questions and or for clarification when we don’t understand. I never encountered anyone who wasn’t willing to help me learn the technical aspects of the industry.

This industry also needs motivators. This is another role women do well. We long ago learned how to motivate siblings, our children, spouses, and employees to reach for more, to accomplish things they didn’t always know they were capable of.  In one of my first major career promotions, I had to create a department that had never existed in the company before.  I had to create goals, hire people to accomplish these goals, and motivate them when we were all tired and somewhat despondent. Women do these activities in their everyday lives so why not apply these same skills in an industry that desperately needs them?

Focus and priorities are often missing elements in many businesses. HVACR businesses have a tendency to run in one direction for a while and then an opportunity – sometimes good, but often not – cause the company to change course and move in another direction without a lot of analysis or forethought on whether the company and the skill sets of the employees are ready for the new course of action.

Yes, change is often necessary, but once again, I think women bring clarity of purpose and focus on priorities as part of our skill sets. We have had a great deal of practice organizing and staying focused on what needs to be accomplished today, this week, and this month both at work and at home. Many times in my career in the industry, I have been tempted or even on occasion altered my focus, only eventually to realize that my skill sets and my personal satisfaction required me to be in the role of educating and helping others realize their potential in their jobs or their businesses. I think women bring that ability to the companies that they work for or the companies that they own.

Some of the most successful women I know own HVACR businesses. They bring their skills of organization, prioritization, motivation, and genuine care and concern for employees and customers to their businesses. No wonder women owners are so successful.

One of the new buzz words in the world of business is gamification. So many young people have grown up playing games on their computers and internet that the concept has carried over into the business world. The younger generation wants to like where she or he works. They want to have fun at work. And who better than a woman to understand how much more effective and efficient people are if work seems like fun? (If you question this logic, just watch the next time a Mom gets toys cleaned up with a timed race.) I always understood the importance of making work fun. At one point, in my career, I had a department of 80 people and once a quarter, we organized a “fun day.” One time, we went bowling at two in the afternoon. Another time, we had a road rally with clues. Work for all of us can sometimes be drudgery so from time to time, do something fun and let women help you with that.

Yes, I stumbled into this industry, but don’t let my mistake become yours. Instead, seek out this industry if you are a woman or if you are looking for an employee, make sure you are including women in that search.


Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!

It’s Your Busy Season – Train Anyway!

By Steve Mores

I’d like to jump outside of our industry for a moment to mention a few unrelated fields with a common component: Training.

My soon to be daughter-in-law works in the insurance industry, and as you can imagine with the constant changes going on in the insurance world, they have continuing education training all year to keep them up-to-date on current trends and changes. Even during their busy open enrollment season, training continues.

I have several family members that have devoted their life to nursing, and they always have seminars, workshops, and continuing education classes to keep up with the ever evolving medical industry. They never seem to have a slow season. They are busy all year round and training continues.

Years ago, when my accountant was studying to be a CPA, he continued to go to night classes and study for the CPA exam. Now as a CPA, he still attends law and tax update seminars while managing his practice. Even during the busy tax season, training continues.

So, why should our industry be any different? Yes, we have seasons where we are super busy with service and installs, yet not so different than the busy seasons mentioned above. I know your team is exhausted right now. My team and I have been partnering and training with contractors for close to 30 years now. The seasonality hasn’t changed, but our industry keeps moving forward. To stay ahead of the competition, trends, and industry changes, we need to continually look at constant ongoing training for our team. You may have to adjust the times, venue, and frequency, but training should never grind to a halt, even during the busiest of times. You never know when you’re going to pick up that new bit of information, communication technique, or that great new product that will increase revenue and profit throughout the year!

Plus, having training all year round shows that you are committed to your team’s success, which will in turn help grow your company. Great training also contributes to job satisfaction, employee retention, and satisfied customers!

Major League Baseball has their season and playoffs that lead to the World Series. The NFL has playoffs and the Super Bowl. The NHL has playoffs and The Stanley Cup Finals. NASCAR has playoffs and the final race to determine a champion. All of these sports have an off season, a regular season, a grand finale, and the training still continues all year long. Even during the “busy season!”

With all that said, your training needs to be productive, covering new product features and benefits, communication, and customer service skills, while continuing to stress the basics of how to effectively work a call.

“You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” – Michael Jordan


Putting training off until there becomes a convenient time or season will get you in the habit of being inconsistent, and your team will get the impression that it is not a company priority.

 “Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky


Finally, productive, scheduled, and ongoing training will always benefit you, your team, and your customers. Even when it hurts to do so!

“I don’t count my sit-ups; I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count.” – Muhammad Ali

Consistent, ongoing, and productive training will produce consistent, ongoing, and productive results!


Service Roundtable is dedicated to growing your bottom line and helping your business maximize its full potential. These groups of contractors work together to assist you with marketing, sales, business, and so much more. Twice a month, seminars around the United States and Canada are held to network and further assist your business. Visit Service to see if there are Success Days in your area!