How to Perform a Break-Even Analysis: Step-by-Step Guide Provided By PORTAL CFO

break-even analysis

As a business owner, it goes without saying that your ultimate goal is to make a profit but, before you do that, you have to reach a break-even point (BEP). This is the point at which revenue earned will match your expenses.

If you can figure out how to perform a break-even analysis, you can determine whether or not your company has reached its BEP. Even if you haven’t reached that point yet, performing a break-even analysis can help you determine when you will reach that point so that you have something tangible to work toward.

Let’s take a look at the various methods that many companies have used to see how close they were to their own BEPs and you will see for yourself how to perform a break-even analysis.

Your Company’s Costs

When it comes to trying to determine what your company’s BEP will be, there are several factors that you need to consider. Among them are:

  • Your Fixed Costs – These are the costs associated with your company that stay the same every month. Things like the rent on your office space, your insurance, utilities and the like.
  • Your Variable Costs – These are expenses that can change from month to month. Things like shipping payments can be considered variable costs that your company has to undertake. If you perform a service, the quantity of how many items you need to buy in order to perform that service can also change from month to month.
  • Your Prices – How much are you going to charge a single customer for a unit of what your provide? Having a concrete answer for this is essential to determining your company’s BEP.
  • Your Revenue After Each Sale – After performing the service, you have to look at how much money is left (from the customer’s payment) once you’ve recovered the costs directly related to performing the service. This amount is your average gross profit.

Each of these costs goes in to figuring out how to perform a break-even analysis. Once you have these costs sorted out, you’ll know exactly how much you need to sell in order to cover all of the costs associated with your business.

In order to figure out exactly what your BEP is, you need to divide your company’s fixed costs by the contribution margin of your of your product.

The contribution margin is what you get when you subtract the variable costs related to a unit of whatever you sell from the sale price of that unit.

Say you run a pizza shop and you want to figure out the margin on a large cheese pizza. Let:

Margin (M) = ?

Price (P) =  $12

Ingredients (I) = $3

Wage (W) for the employee who makes the pizza = $7

The formula for the contribution margin would be P – (I + W) = M or 12 – (3 + 7) = 2

This means that you make two dollars off of every twelve dollar pizza that you sell.

From there, you take the fixed costs that you business has over a certain period and divide them by the two dollars that you make on every pizza. This would tell you how many pizzas you need to sell in order to break-even over that given period.

The complexity of the formula for how to perform a break-even analysis depends on the variety of your offerings. In the above example, for instance, you would need to factor in the different kinds of pizzas you sell, as well as other food items, but the general idea is always the same.

Cutting Your Company’s Costs

If, after you figure out how to perform a break-even analysis, you BEP is higher than you’d like it to be, you can look at your costs and figure out where you can retool certain aspects of your business in order to lower the BEP.

This can range from raising the prices on your products and services to using the most cost-effective supplies to finding another office space where your rent isn’t as high.

By figuring out how to perform a break-even analysis, you can take variables and put them in place of the actual numbers to try and find the best solution for running your business, so that you can make a healthy profit.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your small business profitably, please check out our website www.portalcfo.com.

How to Reduce Operating Costs: Cost Saving Strategies for All Businesses

reduce operating costs

Whether you want to reduce operating costs out of desire or necessity, the options that you have available to you are varied enough that you should be able to find a solution that fits your company.  With that in mind, let’s look at how to reduce operating costs and what other entrepreneurs, as well as business experts, have done in the past.

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How to Undertake a Financial Restructuring: Tips on Turning Your Company Around

how to undertake a financial restructuring - portal cfo consulting

how to undertake a financial restructuring - portal cfo consultingIf you’re a business owner who’s interested in creating the best possible financial environment for your company, then you’re probably wondering about how to undertake a financial restructuring that will make that a reality.

With the state of the economy being such as it is, you have every reason to examine the shape that your company is in.  Whether things are going well or not, you need to evaluate your situation so that you can come up with a clear, attainable plan as to how you’re going to be able to remain competitive. You want to reach a point where, despite economic conditions being what they are, you’ll be able to eventually grow and expand in the future.

Before you ask about how to undertake a financial restructuring, let’s get a quick look at common scenarios that warrant taking that path to see if this is your best option.

  • Does your company have excess personnel? – Many times, staff responsibilities can overlap to the point where teams, divisions, or departments are doing the same thing. In some cases, one of these can be repurposed for other tasks, or the department can be eliminated outright in order to reduce cost and consolidate workload.
  • Has Your Net Profit Been on the Decline? – There could be one big reason why this is happening or several smaller ones that are working together to hurt your company’s financial viability. Regardless of the cause, an expert financial consultant who initiates a financial restructuring can help eliminate these and put you back on the right path.
  • Has Your Company’s Offering Been Overshadowed? – This can happen in technology more than anything else but, when something new is introduced to the market and your company is unable to keep up, you may have to change the way to do business so that you can compete once again.

These are just a few scenarios that warrant restructuring your company’s operations but, despite the reason for a rearrangement, there are several things you can do to get back right on track.

How to Undertake a Financial Restructuring: Common Strategies

It’s important to remember that no two firms are exactly alike, so the advice provided here may have to be adjusted slightly to suit your company’s situation.

That said, these strategies have proven to help companies across a diverse number of sectors time and again.

  • Work with New Leadership – More often than not, a restructuring brings in new management. Whether this is a new CEO, CFO, project manager or any other position, this person may have new ideas and insight that can help get the company get back on track. Listen to what they say and take their advice. It could lead you to great things.
  • Consult Outside Help – When it comes to figuring out how to undertake a financial restructuring, a fresh set of eyes can make all the difference. If you bring in an expert who has no bias toward your company, you may be made aware of issues that you never knew about before.
  • Practice Transparency – The worst thing that you can do when your company is rearranging its operations is to keep people in the dark.

Everyone from your employees to your investors deserves to know exactly what’s being done to keep the company afloat and see to it that the doors stay open. Doing this doesn’t just make it so that there aren’t any surprises, but shows that you’re someone who can be trusted. People will be more likely to stay by your side during transitional periods.

  • Establish Your New Goals Early, Reiterate Them Often – In working through how to undertake a financial restructuring, you want to make sure that you never lose sight of the objective. Make it clear what the entire point behind your company’s restructuring is and, once you see what you want to do, pursue that vision as aggressively as you’re able to.

Regardless of the strategies that you use to turn your company around and make it profitable again, you’ll want to make sure that your practices are sustainable so that you can avoid turbulent times in the future.

Adopt many of the strategies used by successful turnaround companies who figured out how to undertake a financial restructuring.  Continue to practice those strategies even when you’re in the black and you can make sure that your own company sees a bright future.

How to Pay Employees: What You Need to Know About Pay Structures

employee pay structure - Portal CFO Consulting

employee pay structure - Portal CFO Consulting“How to Pay Employees?” This is a question that many who are new to owning their own business ask themselves.

And why not?

The people who work hard to make sure that your company succeeds deserve to be compensated for their time and effort, but it can often be difficult determining how pay is going to be distributed among your workforce. This is because there are a lot of different factors that you have to keep in mind.

When determining how much an employee should be compensated, you need to keep in mind qualities like:

  • Your location and what the average person in your area makes for the same kind of work
  • The condition of the job market
  • The employee’s background and experience
  • The industry standard

Beyond that, figuring out how to pay employees also involves how frequently they get paid, the method through which they get paid and how things like benefits and company perks will affect that employee’s pay.

Let’s take look at many of the other factors that you have to determine when it comes to employee pay and, hopefully, you’ll be able to conclude what the best practices for your own company are.

Ways to Pay Your Employee

When it comes to how you pay the people who work for you, the most important thing to remember is that you have three basic methods for determining how they will receive their income:

  • Commission – When an employee gets paid on commission, he or she receives pay based on what has been sold. A percentage of the goods that the employee sells will be given to them as their compensation, so if you want to determine how to pay employees so that they stay motivated and you keep key talent then commissioned pay might be right for you.

While this structure has advantages like unlimited earnings potential and some degree of freedom, you have to be aware of the fact that this pay structure can also lead your salespeople neglecting good customer service in favor of chasing the biggest possible sale.

A salesman who only receives commission may not take the customer’s needs into consideration, or they may choose which customers they aid based on who they think will lead to the biggest payday.

  • Hourly Wages – This is by far the most common method of payment in our society. With this structure, the employee is paid a regular rate that gets multiplied by the hours that they work over a pay period. If you’re looking for a method on how to pay employees that will produce work when you need it and keep you from paying an employee when business is slow, then this is the kind structure that you should use. You may also get employees who are willing to work at times when others aren’t, like holidays, because they may need the money.

Some Disadvantages to Consider

As a business owner, one disadvantage you face with hourly employees is that labor laws state that you have to pay overtime (the employee’s hourly rate plus half) for every hour over forty that they work. If you don’t limit how often those employees work, payroll can start to encroach on your margins.

  • Salary – Through this form of payment, the employee receives a set amount of money per year, distributed in the same amount every pay period. Salaried employees typically don’t receive things like overtime, but the tradeoff is that they have a bit more flexibility about when they work.

One disadvantage that you face as an employer is, if this is how you pay employees, your ability to offer compensation as a reward for additional work is limited because of the employee’s fixed income. Salaried pay may also offer little in the way of appreciation shown for the extra work that an employee does. This could potentially affect morale.

Which of these structures you use to compensate your employers can have a lot to do with what kind of business you run and the size of that business, among other things, but the structure of the pay isn’t the only consideration that you need to take into account when figuring out how to pay employees.

Other Considerations

Besides the structure, you also have to consider the method of delivery (traditional paper check or direct deposit) as well as the perks that you can afford to offer.

In addition to adequate pay, many employees and job seekers also look for benefits to make their lives easier.

Some benefits that many people typically look for in employment can consist of:

  • Insurance like health, dental, and vision
  • Adequate vacation time
  • Employer sponsored retirement plans where contributions are matched by the company
  • Flextime to work at least some hours at their convenience provided the quality of their work doesn’t suffer.

Remember, when thinking about how to pay employees, it usually goes beyond what you offer in the form of a paycheck.

Your employees want to feel like they’re valued and their contributions matter in the larger scheme of things. Beyond that, you can retain loyalty by offering benefits that ensure security and promote a healthy work/life balance.

Show your employees that they matter and you’ll get quality work out of them in return.

Remember, running a business successfully does not need to be complicated.  Keep it simple!

For more information on business analysis, business planning, and ways to grow your small business profitably, please check out our website www.portalcfo.com.  Follow us on Twitter @portalcfo

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