Ep. 206 Relay Financial: A Cash Flow Tool for Independent Retailers

Managing cash flow is a difficult task for most indie retail store owners, but it doesn’t have to be! I’m excited to share a virtual banking solution that helps you automate your cash flow management: Relay Financial.

When I first read Profit First, I was skeptical. The cash flow management system proposed in the book required setting up multiple bank accounts. When I finally took the plunge and implemented it, though, it made all the difference in the financial health of the store I co-owned with my sister and Savvy Shopkeeper. 

I wish Relay Financial had been around when I first set up my Profit–First-style cash management system—it would have made things so much easier! 

Read on to learn more about how to ease your cash flow angst by managing your retail business’s cash flow with the Profit First method and the official Profit First banking platform, Relay Financial.


Cash flow is an issue for many indie retail store owners.

 I don’t just mean generating revenue, though (although that has its difficulties, too!). Revenue is what your business makes—aka, income—while cash flow refers to the money that flows in and out of your business. 

Unfortunately, income and expenses are like two roller coasters that don’t always travel in unison. One month’s income is high with low expenses, while another month’s expenses are sky high while your income is low. 

Think about those summer months when all your holiday products start arriving—it makes sense that your cash flow is wonky when you’re paying for inventory that you won’t sell for a few months.

Relay Financial

Managing Your Cash Flow With Relay Financial

You can significantly impact your cash flow success by managing it with banking! By setting up a good banking system, you can help alleviate some of the cash flow angst. 

That’s where Relay Financial comes in. It’s a tool specifically tailored to the needs of entrepreneurs on that bumpy roller coaster ride.

While I am a Relay Financial affiliate, they did not sponsor this podcast episode or blog post. I’m sharing about it because this is a platform that I wish I’d had when I started.

How to Implement the Profit First Method in Your Retail Business

Managing your cash flow gives you a clear picture of your financial health, making it crucial for indie retailers. 

But what exactly is “cash flow management?” When I use this term, I’m referring to setting up a system where you create cash buckets. 

Back in the day, this was known as the envelope system. People would cash their checks at a bank, then divvy up the money into envelopes for different bills. The modern version of this system for entrepreneurs is the Profit First method. 

What I’m suggesting—and what Profit First author Mike Michalowicz teaches—is to apply the envelope concept to your business. 

First, you’ll determine what percentage of your business’s income you need to set aside every month for certain parts of your business. 

For example: every 2 weeks I would put 8% of all income received into a sales tax account. Come tax time, I always had the money to pay the bill! 

I would also set aside money for our owner’s pay. We knew the money was there when it was time to pay ourselves.

When I started using this system, the percentages I used weren’t perfect. I tweaked these numbers along the way. But the benefit of implementing this system, even imperfectly, was my peace of mind. I knew I could always pay what I needed to pay.

Another BIG benefit? Setting up a system like this forced me (in the best way) to pay attention to my numbers, particularly at the store I co-owned with my sister! 

Profit First is just one version of cash flow management. The book will give you some aha moments, but other experts and financial gurus teach versions of this concept. Profit First just happened to be the one I came across first.

Why Some Shopkeepers Are Hesitant to Try Profit First

After teaching about Profit First in Master Shopkeepers (and even hosting a Profit First book club!), I’ve learned that many business owners love the idea—but struggle with implementing this system. 

The reason? They don’t want to set up multiple bank accounts.

Some local banks won’t allow you to have multiple business accounts, or they want to charge hefty fees for each account. 

Luckily, this was not the case for me as I have a great local bank (and a wonderful relationship with my banker!). Even so, I resisted the idea of setting up multiple accounts! But after reading the book for a second time, I knew it would be worth it. 

Relay Financial is the Best Banking Solution for Profit First’s Cash Management Method 

Finding a banking solution that understands independent retailers’ unique needs is a challenge. There are very few banks that understand that shopkeepers are trying to create a cash flow system that works for THEM by opening multiple accounts. 

Enter Relay Financial. This is a new business banking platform that offers a streamlined banking experience and allows you to set up a cash flow system with ease.

When I first implemented Profit First, I had 5 accounts for the store I co-owned with my sister and 3 accounts for Savvy Shopkeeper.

With Relay Financial, you can create up to 20 accounts for free and easily create automated transfers between the accounts.

For example, you can set up a rule that says, “Every 2 weeks, take 8% of my income account and transfer it to my sales tax account.” Having the ability to set these rules is a game-changer for implementing the Profit First cash management system!

How Much Do Relay Financial’s Tools Cost?

Now the big question, at least it is for me when it comes to banking: how much will it cost? 

It’s free. 

Yes, you read that correctly! Relay Financial’s banking service cash management tools are free. 

Relay still makes money, of course, but not from the cash management system you’ll set up. Their revenue comes from the credit cards and other services they offer. 

If you’re wondering if this is too good to be true, I can tell you that we have Master Shopkeepers members who use it and love it.

Relay Financial

How to Get Started With Relay Financial

Ready to take control of your banking and implement the Profit First cash flow management method? Getting started with Relay Financial is simple!

First, go to savvyshopkeeper.com/relay. From there, you’ll head over to Relay Financial and click “Sign Up.”

The initial sign-up is easy—you’ll enter your first and last name, phone number, and date of birth before creating a login with your email address and unique password. 

If you’re a member of Master Shopkeepers, be sure to watch the exclusive demo that Relay Financial’s team gave in 2023.

Other Benefits of Using Relay Financial to Manage Your Retail Business’ Cash Flow

Here’s a quick highlight reel of what Relay Financial is and offers:

Relay is a financial technology company that offers a 100% virtual banking solution. While Relay itself is not a bank, the services it provides are through Thread Bank. Thread Bank is FDIC insured.

Relay Financial offers an app. This makes it easy for you to manage your cash flow in an instant, directly from your smartphone. You can also deposit checks via their app.

There are zero fees. No account fees, no overdraft fees, and no minimum balance requirements mean you keep more money in your pocket. 

Relay Financial is the official banking partner of Profit First. Business owners can create up to 20 individual accounts and automate their Profit First percentage allocations using smart transfer rules. You can also create up to 50 physical or virtual debit cards to keep track of your spending.

You won’t have to worry about physical checks. While Relay doesn’t currently offer physical checks (although this is coming soon!), it can issue checks on your behalf when needed for free. 

Unlimited payments in whatever way works for you. You can make payments to other businesses, vendors, yourself, or employees via ACH, wire transfers, or Relay-issued checks. 

Earn interest on every spare dollar with Relay’s savings accounts. Relay offers 1-3% APY on business savings, depending on your savings balance.

Your accountant or bookkeeper will love Relay, too. Relay Financial lets you provide secure, read-only access to your accounts for your accountant or bookkeeper. You can also sync your accounts directly to QuickBooks Online and Xero.

Local Banking Still Has a Place in Your Retail Business

I still recommend establishing a local banking relationship, as you’ll need a local bank for cash deposits. Having a local banker to talk to can also be very useful!

When my sister and I opened the store in 2015, we established a relationship with a local banker and she was FANTASTIC. She hand-delivered all the paperwork to us for the multiple accounts we opened so she could meet us in person. 

When I had questions, she always replied to my emails. I knew that IF we needed to apply for additional banking services or open a line of credit (we didn’t), she would have helped us. 

Funnily enough, our local banker is also a creative and a great wreath maker—she ended up teaching workshops in our store!

Relay Financial

Take Control of Your Cash Flow With Relay Financial Today

Relay Financial is revolutionizing the way independent retailers manage their finances with the Profit First method. 

If you’re struggling with cash flow, do yourself a favor and get a cash flow management system set up! Whether you use Relay Financial or not, implementing a system like Profit First will give you a clear picture of your business’s financial health. 

This website may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through those links. The inclusion of affiliate links does not influence the content or opinions presented on this site. I only recommend products and services that I believe in and feel will provide value to you. Any earnings generated through affiliate links help support the maintenance, growth, and services provided by Savvy Shopkeeper. Thank you for your support!

Relay is a financial technology company, not an FDIC-insured bank. Banking services and FDIC insurance are provided through Thread Bank, Member FDIC. The Relay Visa® Debit Card is issued by Thread Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa® debit cards are accepted.

Resources

Timestamps

  • [03:23] Managing Your Cash Flow With Relay Financial
  • [05:03] How to Implement the Profit First Method in Your Retail Business
  • [07:47] Why Some Shopkeepers Are Hesitant to Try Profit First
  • [09:40] Relay Financial is the Best Banking Solution for Profit First’s Cash Management Method
  • [10:58] How Much Do Relay Financial’s Tools Cost?
  • [11:48] How to Get Started With Relay Financial
  • [13:10] Other Benefits of Using Relay Financial to Manage Your Retail Business’ Cash Flow
  • [15:50] Local Banking Still Has a Place in Your Retail Business
  • [17:02] Take Control of Your Cash Flow With Relay Financial Today

Connect With Kathy

Kathy Cruz is an Independent Retail Coach who helps store owners work smarter, profit more, and grow their brick and mortar businesses. 

Connect with Kathy and learn more here:

Website: www.savvyshopkeeper.com
Instagram: @savvyshopkeeper
Mastermind Group: Master Shopkeepers

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