Neil Patel

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What is the formula for break-even analysis? Every business operates to fulfill one common goal, and that is to generate profit. However, before a company can start being profitable, it has to cover all the costs. The point where a company’s cost and revenue reach equilibrium is called the break-even point.

Now keep in mind that no two companies are going to have the same break-even point. Because each company is going to have different costs and revenue figures. It is important for a business to compute its break-even analysis in order to understand how many units they need to trade, or how much revenue they need to generate to cover the cost of a specific product and the company as a whole.

The process of calculating the analysis can be further complicated if a company has multiple products in its product range and has to compute the break-even point for each product. With that said, calculating this point, or doing the break-even analysis is an essential part of running a business if you want to stay profitable, and stay in business.

If you are wondering what the formula for break-even analysis is and how you can use it to compute the break-even point for your products, then keep reading. Because this article is going to cover everything you need to know about calculating the break-even point, stay tuned.

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What exactly is the break-even point?

At the point where your business breaks even, your total sales equal your total costs. What this means is that you are generating precisely the sum required to pay all of your operating expenses and maintain a steady profit. When your business breaks even, it doesn’t mean it’s profitable, but it’s not a loss either. So you need to reach “break-even” before your business can start making money.

This is an important calculation in the business plan for any new business. Investors planning on investing in your startup will want to know not only what kind of return they can expect on their money, but also when they will see this return.

This is because it can take some companies years to make a profit, and they often lose money in the first few months or years before they break even. Because of this, the formula for break-even analysis is an important part of any business plan that an investor might look at.

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If you’re planning on getting investors to put their money into your business, you’ll increase your chances of getting funding if your break-even analysis looks promising. Even if you are a mature firm, you should still know the break-even points of your products to better understand the profitability of your product and costs.

Keep in mind that in fundraising, storytelling is everything. In this regard, for a winning pitch deck to help you here, take a look at the template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.

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What is the formula for calculating the break-even point?

Calculating the break-even point for your product might be a tedious task if the formulas for break-even analysis didn’t exist. The equation for the break-even point allows you to calculate yours with the help of some basic information regarding the product in question. Generally, there are two kinds of equations that are used for this purpose, and each of them calculates it using different information. So without further ado, here are the two formulas for this calculation:

The break-Even formula for units

Fixed Costs ÷ (Profit per item – Changeable Cost per item (Unit))

Breakeven formula for dollars

Set Costs ÷ offered Margin

The contribution margin for this formula is calculated by subtracting the cost of the product from the changeable or variable costs. Now, as mentioned above, before you can calculate the break-even point using these formulas, you will need the relevant information, including the fixed cost, variable cost, and revenue per unit, among others. So before you go ahead and start using these formulas to compute the break-even point of your business, you need to know more about the components of these formulas. That is exactly what we will explain in the next section of this article, so keep reading.

Key components of the break-even formula explained

Unless you know what components you need to put into the break-even formula and how you can calculate them, you won’t be able to accurately determine this point for your products.

Fixed cost:

A fixed cost is one that does not rise or fall in relation to any activity. It must be paid on a recurring basis by an organization, even if there is no business activity. These can include, for example, rent for storefronts or manufacturing facilities, computers, software, and wages. Fees paid for services such as marketing for the promotion of the product, and public relations are also part of fixed costs since they tend to remain constant over a period of time.

Contribution margin:

As mentioned earlier, if you want to calculate the contribution margin, take the selling price of an item and subtract its variable costs. So, if a product sells for $50 and the costs associated with it amount to $20, then the profit margin is $30. The fixed costs are then paid for with this $30, and any money left over is your net profit.

Contribution margin ratio:

This ratio, which is usually represented as a percentage, is calculated by taking your contribution margin and subtracting your fixed costs from it. This ratio can help you in planning your future actions, such as reducing cost or increasing the per unit price to reach break-even.

Benefits of using the formula for break-even analysis

By now, you probably know that break-even analysis is a great way to predict the success of your product and adjust factors such as pricing and cost to reach the profitability stage faster. But the benefits of this analysis go further than just predicting success. With that said, here is a list of key benefits of break-even analysis:

Help set the pricing

The formula for break-even analysis is a very useful tool for a business, and it has many advantages. It shows how many items they need to sell to make a profit. It decides if a product is safe enough to sell or not. It shows how much money the business will make at each level of production. Once you know this information you can set the price of your product so that you can reach profitability faster.

Getting investment

The break-even analysis is usually an important part of a company’s plan when it comes to getting money. Almost certainly, you’ll need to do a break-even study if you want to get money for your business or start up. Also, a low break-even point will probably make it easier for you to take on more debt or funding.

Setting revenue targets

A break-even analysis could also help you figure out what your team’s sales goals should be. Setting revenue goals is often easier when you have a specific amount and time frame in mind.

Risk management

Some business ideas are just not meant to be successful. break-even analysis can help you reduce risk by acting as a warning to stop pursuing products that are too risky or less likely to be successful.

You get accurate information. Costs are sometimes both fixed and variable at the same time. This can make math hard, and you’ll probably have to fit the numbers into one of the two categories.

For your break-even analysis to be correct, you need to use the correct data. If you don’t put in good data, the calculation won’t give you a reliable answer.

Provides a roadmap for success

The break-even analysis will help you know for sure what you need to do to be successful. However, this analysis is not the only method you should use to base your future game plan before starting a business or making a change.

Helps understand the costs

Most companies consider how much it costs to make their product when they are setting the price of their product. These costs change from time to time, but you still have to pay for fixed costs like insurance and building a website. A break-even analysis can help you figure out how to do this.

Help with decision making

Entrepreneurs often base their decisions on how they feel. If they’re excited about a new business idea, they’ll go after it. Having an idea of how you feel is important, but it’s not enough.

Entrepreneurs often make decisions based on their instincts which is not always the most accurate way to make business decisions. However, when you’ve put in the work and have useful information in front of you after the break-even analysis, it will be much easier to make a choice.

The break-even point can prove to be a valuable metric when you’re looking to get traction for your business. If you need more information on how to do that, check out this video I have created. You’re sure to find it helpful.

Disadvantages of the break-even analysis

It is not all smooth sailing now that you know how to use the break-even formula. This formula, similar to other analysis types, has its limitations. Here are some of the disadvantages that the formula for break-even analysis might have.

Prone to mistakes

First, for a break-even analysis to work well, it needs to take into account all of the variables and components mentioned above. If you want to know when production will break even, you need to include all of your production costs, both fixed and variable.

Incorrect revenue estimates could lead a company to believe it is profitable while it is actually operating at a loss if important details were overlooked. The entire analysis process can fail due to a lack of attention to detail or a skipped phase.

Can be complex for businesses with a lot of different products

If a company is solely interested in selling one product, a break-even analysis may be helpful. However, some organizations deal with a dizzying array of items and expenses that defy easy categorization. This can quickly make the break-even analysis harder to understand.

The analysis may not be particularly useful because of inaccurate results or because it takes too long to complete. Sometimes it’s better for a business to use a different way to figure out how well they’re doing and plan their sales strategies for the future.

It doesn’t handle change very well

The formula for break-even analysis can be useful if all other variables remain constant. Changes happen all the time in business, which is a part of running a business. Prices go up and down for raw materials, production might be low or high, and demand changes for many different reasons.

In particular, over the long term, cost forecasting is challenging because of the dynamic nature of businesses. While a BEP could be helpful for a quick assessment, it is not appropriate for long-term strategy development.

Competitors are ignored

As a new player in the market, you will affect your competitors, and at the same time, they will impact your business as well. They might change the pricing of their product, which could force you to change how much you charge.

If they grow quickly and a raw material you both use becomes scarce because of this, the price may go up. The break-even analysis doesn’t consider the competition in the market, which can limit its reliability in certain high competition scenarios.

With this in mind, it is helpful to use a dynamic financial model which allows for running multiple scenarios, and quickly readjusting calculations as you go.


The formula for break-even analysis is a great way for startup owners with a single product or a small product range that want to prove the profitability of their product. However, as the business grows and its product mix increases, it can be difficult to keep track of things using this basic formula. So while this analysis might be effective as a stand-alone for small companies, larger firms need to use various types of analysis when making decisions about their product’s pricing and reducing costs.

You may find interesting as well our free library of business templates. There you will find every single template you will need when building and scaling your business completely for free. See it here.


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Neil Patel

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you want help with your fundraising or acquisition, just book a call

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