how to calculate burn rate

Looking back at our previous example, if our startup has $900,000 in cash remaining and has a burn rate of $100,000/month, we’ve got 9 months of runway—or nine months until we run out of cash. For small and well-established businesses, finding ways to increase revenue will be a better long-term fix than simply reducing costs. Examine your marketing and sales processes and test out some new ideas before resorting to selling assets or cutting expenses. Startups, especially those in high-growth industries, often take years to become profitable on their own, relying instead on venture-backed investments to fuel their development and growth. Many startups will go through several rounds of funding on their road to profitability, often receiving a larger sum of money with each successful round.

  • Enter at least 3 months, but you can get a more accurate answer if you enter more .
  • So if you have $600,000 in available cash, a burn rate close to $50,000 would be good.
  • As a small business owner, it’s essential to understand your cash burn rate.
  • Layoffs can be sensitive, but they can also help reduce your burn rate by removing employees who aren’t contributing as much as they should.
  • If you calculate burn rate using data from only one or two months, any fluctuations in spending may give you an inaccurate read on how quickly you are, in fact, spending money.

An example of this is the development costs of building an online platform. The business isn’t generating any cash while the engineers are coding. The business is spending the amount of cash they have at a certain pace, and the pace of that spending is the burn rate. If you’re an investor-funded company, you’ll want to be focused on reducing your burn rate. Reducing the size of your workforce or cutting wages are not the only strategies to achieve this. For example, proactively managing spending with tools that provide real-time visibility can help businesses avoid reactive measures like layoffs or pay cuts. High burn rates indicate that a company is depleting its cash supply rapidly.


Gross burn rate is the amount of cash that you spent in a single month. Learn how below, and get access to Causal’s model to calculate it like the world’s best-run finance teams do. Keeping your burn rate in check ensures that your company has ample cash runway to continue operating for the long-term. Gross burn is the total amount of operating costs it racks up each month, while net burn is the total amount of money a company loses monthly. It isn’t difficult to calculate the burn rate in your business. Although it can be uncomfortable to admit that you have a high burn rate , it is far better to address these metrics before they become a problem. Burn rate isn’t the only important metric companies need to keep an eye on there is a wide range of financial KPIs.

  • Calculating burn rate is essential for determining how much cash the company needs in order to keep operating and growing.
  • Runway will decrease, investors won’t be as keen and you’ll need to make changes to stay sustainable.
  • Since you’re evaluating three months , you’ll divide $60,000 by 3 and end up with a cash burn rate of $20,000.
  • As simple as that may sound, there are actually two types of burn rate — gross and net — each with its own unique indicator.
  • Review your COGS and operating expenses closely to look for extraneous spending that could be cut.
  • It indicates that it is at a higher likelihood of entering a state of financial distress.

Your cash runway measures how long your cash will last at your current cash burn rate. The higher your cash runway—or the lower your burn rate—the more likely it is your business will how to calculate burn rate survive. By tracking the metric, a management team can quantify the number of months they have left to either turn cash flow positive or raise additional equity or debt financing.

Gross burn calculation

Revenue numbers should be registered in your accounting software. If you don’t have software set up yet, use your bank statement to count deposits. Burn rate is the rate at which a business is “burning” their venture capital.

  • Many small business owners think a low burn rate, high cash runway and positive cash flow are things that happen in the future if they are lucky and their business is profitable.
  • Profitable companies have a negative net burn rate because they are bringing in more than they are spending.
  • You calculate this by subtracting the customer acquisition cost from the customer’s lifetime value .
  • Gross Burn Rate is the total amount you’re spending each month.
  • So, in that case, you would aim for a burn rate that’s one-sixth of your cash on hand.

If you only have three months of runway but your product won’t launch for another six months, then clearly, you don’t have enough runway. But if you have rising revenues and a product that’s recently launched, three months of runway is less worrisome . You’d also be in good shape if you’re expecting to score funding in a month or two. Many startup founders want to know their burn rate regardless of ongoing funding.

Burn rate and cash runway

That is called your “runway.” Think of it as how much room you have to become profitable before your business fails. This information can help you determine how long you can operate at a loss before you need to close your business. Enter how much money you’re starting with under “starting balance.” NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions.

Thus, it is important to not view the rate as a standalone metric when evaluating start-ups, since the contextual details can provide more insights into the reasoning for the high spending rate . While an unsustainable rate over the long run can become a cause for concern to management and investors, it ultimately depends on the given company’s specific surrounding circumstances. Given the amount of funding raised in the previous round, the $10mm, running out of cash in one year is considered fast. Even well-established businesses falter; fads change, and suddenly your fidget spinner emporium isn’t making a profit.

Gross Cash Burn Rate Example

An engineering startup that spends $10,000 per month on office space, $20,000 on equipment maintenance costs, and $30,000 on salaries and wages would have a gross burn rate of $60,000. On the other hand, if the company already had revenue, its net burn would be different. Even if the company operates at a loss, with revenues of $30,000 a month and costs of goods sold of $10,000, it would still work to reduce its overall burn. The Gross burn rate helps understand how much money a startup is spending.

how to calculate burn rate

Calculating burn rate is essential for determining how much cash the company needs in order to keep operating and growing. It helps you see if you need to change your current cost-to-income ratio by pursuing new fundraising opportunities or cutting costs. Conversely, it lets you know if you have extra cash to reinvest in your company to increase marketing efforts or improve product development. Burn rate refers to the amount of cash your business spends in a month. You can use this information to calculate cash runway and determine whether your costs to income ratio is too low or whether you can afford to invest more in growth efforts like marketing and advertising. Burn rate is a metric used by startups and small businesses to track how much cash they’re burning through each month.

Business owners don’t always focus on short-term profitability when a company enters its initial startup phase. Instead, they tend to direct their efforts toward building a customer base and optimizing their product or service. In this example, your startup has only 3 months of cash before running out of money. The resulting number is how many months you have left before you run out of money (assuming expenses and revenue are constant and that you don’t add additional VC funding). The easiest place to find the information you need is in a cash flow statement . If you want to know your burn rate while including VC funding, then you don’t need to make any adjustments to the numbers you see.

how to calculate burn rate

As an early-stage startup, setting benchmarks and projections for burn rate will only help you to measure and reach your goals more effectively. So if you are a profitable company, then you have a negative net burn rate due to the fact you are bringing in more money than you are spending.

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