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What is Burn Rate?

Burn Rate is a financial metric that indicates the rate at which a company, typically a startup, expends its available cash reserves. It is often used to measure the speed at which a company spends its venture capital before generating positive cash flow from operations. The burn rate is a critical indicator of a company’s financial health and sustainability, as it provides insights into how long the company can continue operating with its current cash reserves.

To illustrate, consider a startup company that has $1 million in its bank account and spends $100,000 per month. In this scenario, the company’s cash burn rate would be $100,000 per month, and its “runway” or the time it has before it runs out of money, would be 10 months.

How To Calculate Burn Rate?

The calculation of this metric involves two types: gross burn and net burn. Gross burn refers to the total amount of money spent each month, while net burn is the amount of money lost each month after considering any possible company revenue. The formula for calculating the net burn is:
(Monthly Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold) – Gross Burn Rate = Net Burn Rate.

What Does a High Burn Rate Suggest?

A high burn rate suggests that a company is depleting its cash supply at a fast rate, indicating a higher likelihood of entering financial distress or even bankruptcy. If a company burns cash too quickly, it risks running out of money and going out of business. Conversely, if a company doesn’t burn enough cash, it might not be investing adequately in its future, potentially falling behind the competition.

How To Reduce Burn Rate?

Reducing it is crucial for a company’s survival and can be achieved through various strategies such as increasing revenue, reducing payroll expenses, cutting unnecessary overhead costs, and consolidating teams. Other methods include carrying out an expense survey, evaluating recurring expenses, streamlining expense approval processes, and negotiating better payment terms.

Application in Financial Modeling

In financial modeling, the burn rate is used to track the amount of monthly cash that a company spends before it starts generating its own income. This metric is particularly useful for startup companies and investors as it serves as a measuring stick for the company’s “runway”—the amount of time that the company has before it runs out of money.


Understanding and managing the burn rate is vital for any company, especially startups. It provides valuable insights into a company’s financial health and sustainability, helping managers make informed decisions about spending, investment, and fundraising strategies.

Learn about other key financial metrics every startup needs to track.


1. How to Calculate Burn Rate?

Gross Burn = Monthly Cash Expenses
Net Burn = (Monthly Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold) – Gross Burn Rate

2. What is a good Burn rate?

Typically, startup businesses are advised to maintain a reserve of six to twelve months’ worth of expenses. If a company holds $100,000 in its bank account, an appropriate burn rate would range from $16,667 (for a six-month period) to $8,333 (for a twelve-month period).

3. What is the burn rate formula?

It’s typically measured on a monthly basis and can be calculated using the following formula:
Burn Rate = (Starting Cash Balance – Ending Cash Balance) / Number of Months


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What is Customer Concentration?

Image shows a graph of customer concentration, also known as client concentration of business every year

Customer concentration, also known as client concentration, is a measure of how a business’s revenue is distributed across its customer base. It refers to the degree to which a company’s revenue is dependent on a single customer or a small group of customers. For instance, if more than 10% of a company’s revenue comes from a single client or 25% comes from a group of five of its most prominent clients, the company is considered to have a high customer concentration.

How To Measure Customer Concentration?

To measure customer concentration, one needs to identify the amount of revenue that the business earned from a particular client during a specific year. This amount is then divided by the business’s total revenue for that year. The resulting number is multiplied by 100 to complete the calculation. The final figure represents the client concentration level expressed as a percentage.

What is a High Customer Concentration?

High customer concentration occurs when a single or a small group of customers accounts for a significant portion of a business’s revenue.

Specifically, if a single customer accounts for 10% or more of the revenue, or if the largest four to five customers account for 25% or more of the revenue, the business is considered to have a high customer concentration. This situation can make the business’s revenue highly sensitive and potentially unstable.

Risks Associated With High Client Concentration?

There are several risks associated with high client concentration. One of the primary risks is the potential loss of a significant portion of revenue if a major customer is lost. This could jeopardize the business’s financial stability and even its survival. Additionally, it can negatively impact a business’s ability to secure loans with favorable interest rates due to perceived instability.

How To Avoid or Reduce High Customer Concentration?

To avoid or reduce high customer concentration, businesses can employ various strategies. One of the most effective strategies is to diversify and increase the customer base. This can be achieved through various means such as expanding into new markets, offering new products or services, or forming partnerships with other companies.

Another strategy is to enter into long-term supply agreements (LTSAs) with customers, which can provide a more stable and predictable revenue stream.

Diversify Your Customer Base

Here are a few techniques to broaden your customer reach:

  • Networking: Establishing a network of industry contacts can be an invaluable effort for a small enterprise. Forming relationships with other businesses can lead to more customers through client referrals and open up new opportunities.
  • Search Engine Optimization: An effective SEO strategy enhances your Business’s visibility to potential customers and improves your website’s ranking on Google or other search engines.
  • Leveraging Social Media: Social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn can be a crucial digital asset for your enterprise as they enable you to connect with both current and potential customers. Instead of utilizing all available platforms, conduct some research to identify the most suitable one for your enterprise.
  • Product or Service Diversification: If your enterprise offers a niche product or service targeting a relatively small market, attracting new customers could be challenging. If it’s feasible to broaden your enterprise’s offerings by introducing a slightly different but related product or service, it could be a viable strategy to increase your customer base.


In conclusion, understanding and managing customer concentration is crucial for the financial health and stability of a business. High client concentration can pose significant risks, but these can be mitigated through strategic planning and diversification efforts.

Related blogs: Key startup financial metrics, Startup Cashflow


1. What are some real-world examples of the impact of customer concentration?

Some famous examples include companies that faced financial troubles when their major customers reduced orders or switched suppliers. For instance, when BlackBerry lost its dominance, its reliance on a few major carriers resulted in a significant revenue decline.

2. What is the rule of thumb for customer concentration?

If more than 10% of a company’s revenue comes from a single client or 25% comes from a group of five of its most prominent clients, the company is considered to have a high client concentration.

3. What is a healthy level of client concentration?

It depends on the industry and the nature of the business. However, a lower client concentration is generally considered healthier, as it signifies less reliance on a small group of customers for revenue.

4. Are there industries more prone to customer concentration?

Yes, certain industries such as technology, manufacturing, and retail can be more prone to customer concentration due to the nature of their business models and relationships.

5. Are there any advantages to high client concentration?

Supporters of significant client concentration highlight the potential to cultivate enduring relationships with a select number of prominent customers. This approach allows for customized contractual arrangements tailored to each client’s specific requirements.