On the other hand, keeping your burn rate low will give you a cushion of cash that you can use to invest in growth or endure any bumps in the road. Any number of factors—many of them outside of your control—can lead to an unexpected downturn in revenue and cash flow in your business. When you address your burn rate and cash runway proactively, while things are going well in your business, you will be better able to weather any storms your business encounters.

  • You hate to do that to vendors who must also pay their bills, but it is necessary to extend your cash runway.
  • In that case, you may use a small business loan or a line of credit to keep the lights on while you build new strategies to start breaking even again.
  • It’s essential to keep an eye on your burn rate because it can majorly impact your business’s health.
  • Yet, raising funds results in dilution, so in theory, one should only raise exactly what is necessary.
  • For example, if your startup spends $10,000 every month on office space, computers, and wages, but sales only amount to $8,000 in that same month, then your burn rate is $2,000 ($10,000 – $8,000).

When a company is experiencing a cash crisis, that company may need to calculate a weekly burn rate—or even a daily burn rate—to see how long it has to turn its financial situation around. On the other hand, a financially stable company may only need to calculate a quarterly or annual burn rate. As a rule of thumb, most entrepreneurs and experts recommend having at least 12 months of cash runway. The formula for monthly burn rate is simply (Starting Month Cash Balance – Ending Month Cash Balance) / Number of Months.

Understanding the basics

To reach that position, keeping your burn in line with your forecast will maximize your chances of obtaining how to calculate burn rate cash from existing investors, as trust is reinforced with them. Yet, having a bullish market and potential access to more liquidity does not mean that startups should feel compelled to tap investors for as much as they can. Every fundraising results in dilution for founders and existing investors. The aim is, therefore, always for startups to reach a point where their operations finance activities with as few rounds as possible. These are typically excluded from burn rate—most notably, the actual cash received from investors. Setting a forecast cash burn rate should be done in two complementary ways.

  • Gross cash burn is applicable in positive operating cash flow, breakeven cash flow, and negative operating cash flow situations.
  • When you refinance at a lower interest rate, your monthly payments decrease while maintaining the same payment schedule until the loan is paid off in full.
  • Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us.
  • When I discuss operating cash flow, I will be using EBITDA as my measure.
  • This will help you capture expenses and other outlays of cash that don’t occur monthly.

That “smooths out” a lot of the spending and gives a good picture of the company’s actual burn rate. Some companies prefer a three-month average, which will show more of the spending ups and downs, and makes sense if you are rapidly growing revenue, adding headcount, etc. But whichever method you choose, you should look at it every month.

Look For Additional Funding

Besides getting an accurate picture of your company’s financial health, knowing your burn rate and runway is an important step in securing funding. Some venture capitalists believe your company’s burn rate is a key metric for decision-making, especially if you haven’t launched a product yet. If we have enough cash to cover operating expenses, we have positive operating cash flow.

Since burn rate reflects the net cash that left your account in a month, you can use that trend to extrapolate and see how many months it would take before you “burn” through your cash balance. Burn rate is the actual amount of cash your account has decreased by in one month. Most of the time, it describes a company’s negative cash flow. It doesn’t include outstanding obligations, money that was transferred into another account, or money that’s on its way.

Gross Burn Rate

While the above calculation is simple enough, it’s when we get into burn rate runway that things get a little more complicated. That said, the equations for the two types of burn rate runway are pretty straightforward. That’s why the sharks on Shark Tank always ask about a business’s burn rate. They know that it’s an outward sign of the health of your company and that it can indicate a good investment or a bad one. They know how important numbers are to the success of a business.


Net burn rate is useful if you want to measure profit growth since it shows how much you’ve earned versus how much you’ve spent. Burn rate is also important to startups looking for funding that don’t have investors yet. When fundraising, they present financial projections explaining how much venture capital they need to develop their product, when they expect to start earning a profit , and what their burn rate will be. Starting with the cash runway for the gross burn, the calculation is the total cash balance divided by the monthly gross burn. In this context, burn rate is a representation of a company’s monthly operating costs. For example, if a company is seven months into its operating year and has spent $850,000 to date, the burn rate is approximately $120,000 per month.

How Do You Calculate Burn Rate?

In many cases, they might read a declining burn rate as an unwillingness to take the calculated risks and make the necessary maneuvers to help them see the returns they’re looking for. The burn rate tells you how much cash the company is burning through, but it doesn’t address whether the burn rate is reasonable. It’s up to each analyst to carefully assess the business plan and determine whether the burn rate is justified or troubling. Tracking expenses, organizing receipts, and compiling expense reports are all tedious jobs that waste your employees’ time.

  • It’s best to compare your bank balance at the beginning of the month versus the end of the month to ensure all expenses are included.
  • It will come as no surprise that growth and annual recurring revenue make an impact on burn rate, and companies with faster growth and high ARR will have a lower burn rate.
  • Accounting software will calculate for you directly; but by using your financial statements, you can calculate it easily.
  • But a thorough, honest burn rate analysis can help minimize overruns and improve your team’s chances for success.

Selling shares will give you cash to work with and more time to try new strategies to increase revenue. Monthly operating expenses include everything you spend to keep your business running—rent, utilities, wages, and the rest. Starting capital is the cash balance you first invested in your business—either out of your own pocket, borrowed, or from outside investors.