13 Ways To Reduce Cash Burn Rate And Extend Your Cash Runway


cash burn rate calculator

Regardless of your cash reserves, it’s vital that every expense represents potential growth. Whether it’s new software, office equipment, or a new round of fresh hires, you’ll want to double-down on making sure you are growing your business above all else. Cash spent on unnecessary expenses is cash better spent on research, development, marketing, or sales. After you have entered your most important inputs, go into the detailed assumptions to fine-tune your template. Every input is variables – can be modified and the financial model, dashboard and cash flow templates will update instantly. In this way, the template is easy enough for someone with no knowledge of spreadsheet modeling to use, but can be infinitely customized by one with knowledge of Excel and spreadsheet modeling. The financial model, dashboard and cash flow templates automatically creates summaries and graphs of key financial and metrics relevant for your business.

cash burn rate calculator

Practically speaking, what does the net burn rate actually mean? Well, it provides a rough estimate of how long a company is expected to survive. Using the previous example of a net burn rate of $100,000 and remaining cash balance of $700,000, the “life expectancy” of the company, known in the industry as “runway,” is seven months. These are just a few examples that can affect your business’s profitability. Therefore, understanding both your burn rate and cash runway will reveal how long your business can survive with the cash you have available.

An Example Of Calculating Burn Rate

Burn rate is commonly used by entrepreneurs, seed stage investors and venture capitalists to assess a startup’s short-term performance. It helps money-losing companies and their backers understand how long the company’s cash on hand is likely to hold out. And it suggests when and how to take steps to address the cash bleed.

  • The resulting runway estimation is thereby more accurate in terms of the true liquidity needs of the start-up.
  • Burn rate is also very useful when there is a major change or a shock to a business .
  • You’d also be in good shape if you’re expecting to score funding in a month or two.
  • Based on the two data points gathered, we can estimate the implied cash runway for each.
  • The first step is to derive it using an internal financial forecast model that includes cash sales, expenses, and capex.

However, a high burn rate only means that your company is burning through cash at an accelerated rate. Whether or not your unique burn rate is untenable is largely dependent on your specific circumstances.

But in a transparent analysis, you need to account for the time and effort obtained from fulltime, regular staff. That’s a straightforward calculation, but the number nudges higher if other employees must fill-in or cover for the employee absorbed by the demands of the project. Tim Brady explains how to calculate your companies burn rate, runway, and growth rate. Tim is a partner at YC and was a Co-founder and Partner at Imagine K12.

Gross burn rate is just a summation of your expenses, so it will always be positive. Keep in mind that if your company is trying to scale, gross burn rate will always be slightly higher than usual. Again, tracking the burn rate and your cash flow balance sheet will be key for survivability. If your net or monthly cash burn rate is negative, this means that your company’s expenses are exceeding your revenue. On the other hand, if this metric is positive, that means revenue is exceeding expenses.

Sure, your business may be profitable on paper, but without enough cash to support expenses, you can still find yourself on the verge of closing down. Often, companies spend on marketing in order to achieve growth in their user base or product use. However, start-ups are often constrained, in that they lack the resources to use paid advertising. As such, “growth hacking” is a term often used in start-ups to refer to a growth strategy that does not rely on costly advertising. One example is Airbnb engineers reconfiguring Craigslist in order to redirect traffic from Craigslist onto its own site. A fall in revenue with no change in costs can lead to a higher burn rate. Payroll Pay employees and independent contractors, and handle taxes easily.

It’s often expressed in dollars per month, though it can be expressed in any timeframe. The burn rate is an important calculation for startup businesses because it tells them how much time they have before they must become profitable. The typical pattern for startups is to get funded, use that cash cash burn rate calculator to build the business, and then aim to get to positive cash flow before the money runs out. It’s a big concern for funded startup companies—particularly if you’re working with venture capital or angel investment. Now, the burn rate is still important for businesses that have achieved profitability.

Where To Find Your Burn Rate In Liveplan

When you do offer credit to customers, be sure to bill them promptly. Clearly state the credit terms and follow up with appropriate collection activities if they don’t pay on time. Adding late-payment charges may also help more timely payments. Look for ways to boost your traffic, get more prospects into your pipeline, increase your conversion or close rates, or raise your pricing. Are you strategically investing that money to fund faster growth?

cash burn rate calculator

This is a very important distinction because it affects the amount of money a company has in the bank and therefore its financial runway. Even if it’s spending $30,000 gross, the actual amount it is losing per month is $20,000. This means, for example, that if it had $100,000 in the bank, its runway would be five months rather than around three months. This dictates the way in which the managers outline the company’s strategy and the amount that an investor would want to invest in the company. Your cash runway measures how long your cash will last at your current cash burn rate.

Monthly Cash Burn Rate

Review your COGS and operating expenses closely to look for extraneous spending that could be cut. In between rounds, they’ll start spending that money on initiatives that will yield profit down the line.

As a general rule, keep both of your burn rate metrics in mind and you’ll avoid unpleasant surprises. After all, cash spent on growth, marketing, sales, or talent acquisition is What is bookkeeping not necessarily a bad thing! If you’re interested in learning more about what a high burn rate means for your startup, the experts at Founder’s CPA offer free consultations.


A company can be salvaged from a worrying burn rate, though not without sacrifice. High burn rates will have to be remedied by targeting cost drivers like staff and premises.

The figure, which is typically calculated monthly, is key in setting the budget of a business. Cash is king and it’s definitely something you want to keep track off. To make sure your company doesn’t run of our cash, scroll back up and learn how to improve you cash burn rate. Aiming for a positive net or monthly burn rate is always the goal, but not always possible. Having a negative burn rate is not necessarily a bad thing, especially when a company is trying to scale and grow. Growth strategies and initiatives need cash to be implemented so during these times of high growth or early-stage startups, burn rate may be negative.

Gross burn rate is an accounting method that consists of the total amount of cash spent each month. For example, imagine that your company burns through $10,000 per month (e.g., salaries, supplies, and server costs). The Cash Management tab, within the Bookkeeper 360 app, aims to provide insight into the relative cash flows of your business over time. The bars represent cash in and out, while the line plots the net effect on cash for that given month. The insights found at the bottom of the page total current cash in your accounts less any credit card debt and provide a cash runway. Armed with this knowledge we aim for all clients to attack any cash flow issues quickly, before falling behind.

You will not have to have any adjustments if you’re not including any venture capital. Just take the cash amount from the cash balance of the previous month. Specifically, the burn rate is the net cash amount of money spent each month. The cash burn rate is the rate at which a company uses up its cash reserves or cash balance. Essentially, it’s a measure of negative cash flow, typically recorded as a monthly rate.

Burn rates will help you forecast when you are nearing the end of the road and how to steer onto the correct path. Additionally, you will be able to see the efficiency of your spend and see its return based on how much expenses impact your original cash balance. An investor will continue to look at the burn rate even after investing. If the burn rate continues to worsen, it’s a vital clue that the business is not being run effectively.

Runway refers to how long a company can operate before they run out of cash, also typically measured in months. Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. Understand the analysis done by venture capital professionals in early-stage investing. Taking the cash inflows into account, this implies that the start-up will run out of funds in 12 months.

Encourage Cash Sales

The burn rate shows how much cash the fledgling business needs each month to stay in business, and it can indicate when a business will require additional funding. Often the burn rate is used to time the next stage of fundraising. The burn rate of a company is a measure of its negative cash flow in a set period of time, typically a month. Investors, especially venture capitalists, monitor this metric closely to gauge when the company will be self-sustaining or profitable. Business owners monitor this rate to see what, if any, adjustments need to be made to a company’s expenditures. Here’s an explanation of the burn rate and how investors evaluate it.

The calculator above will give you your average burn rate in addition to your company’s burn rate for each month included. Net burn rate takes the incoming revenue from cash into account. In other words, you subtract revenue from spending and use that number to calculate your net burn rate. Net burn rate helps you understand how much more revenue you’d need to break even and how much longer you have until you run out of money if nothing changes. Insert your company cash balances from the previous three months to calculate your burn rate and cash runway. Let’s say that your business already had $200,000 in the bank before the investor funding was received. After three months, you check back in and see that your cash balance has dropped to $900,000.

Your cash runway is how long your cash will last at your current cash burn rate. When your cash runway runs out, you’re out of cash and you’re out of time. To determine the burn rate for a selected period, you find the difference between the starting and ending cash balances for the period of time— say a quarter. Then divide that total by the number of months in the selected period. If you’d like your average burn rate, repeat the process above for as many months as desired. Add the monthly burn rates together and divide by the number of months included. For example, to get your three-month average burn rate, you would add the burn rates together and divide by three.

Gross burn rate is simply the cash expense incurred on a monthly basis. Although burn rate is an important metric which investors and founders watch closely, one should not get obsessed about it and should remain open toward opportunities that may arise along the way.

Author: Mark J. Kohler

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