Financial management 4 – Breakeven point

Once you have made some realistic estimates of your sales and expenses, it is time to move to the next important financial management tool.   That is your ‘break even point’.

Break even point is that point where you stop making losses and are about to make a profit.  Break even point is different for every business because no two businesses are the same.

I will show you a simple example:

Let’s say you make $80,000 sales for the year.  Whatever it is you sell, there is a cost of making it, creating it and delivering it.  The total cost includes things such as raw materials, parts, the cost of your time or someone else’s time and freight in and out.  Even if it is only your time and expertise involved, there is still a cost.

So let’s say that the total of the costs directly related to making / creating / delivering your product or service is $50,000 for the year.

That means your Gross Profit for the year is $30,000 (i.e. $80,000 – $50,000).  Before you go thinking that this is your profit for the year, this amount left over must now be used to pay your overhead expenses.

All businesses have overhead expenses, and yours will be no different.  These are expenses incurred in running your business but are not directly related to making / creating / delivering your products and services.  Overhead expenses include things like rent, telephone, vehicle expenses, leases and other financial commitments that you must pay whether you make a sale or not.

So let’s say your overhead expenses are $30,000 for the year.

Recall above that your Gross profit (contribution to overheads) was $30,000.  If your overheads are more than this figure, you make a loss.  If your overheads are less than this figure, you make a profit.  (Profit is a strictly defined accounting term but let’s not complicate the example).

In this simple example, your overheads are $30,000, equal to your Gross Profit.  You make neither a profit nor a loss.  This is your breakeven point!

So the way your business is currently organised, and with your current pricing and cost structure, your break even sales are $80,000.  If you make any more sales, the Gross Profit from those sales (i.e. deducting the cost of the sales) will fall straight to the bottom line because your overhead costs are paid (providing they remain fixed).

This is great information to have – to know that if sales fall below $80,000 (or $6,667 per month, you are in trouble.

You can achieve gains either by increasing price, increasing sales volume, or by reducing your overhead costs, or by reducing the costs of making / creating / delivering what you sell.

Any change in these variables will of course affect your break even point.

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Until next time!