# What Is Break-Even Analysis and How to Calculate It for Your Business

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After entering the end result being solved for (i.e., the net profit of zero), the tool determines the value of the variable (i.e., the number of units that must be sold) that makes the equation true. Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance.

In nuclear fusion research, the term break-even refers to a fusion energy gain factor equal to unity; this is also known as the Lawson criterion. The notion can also be found in more general phenomena, such as percolation. In energy, the break-even point is the point where usable energy gotten from a process equals the input energy. Or, if using Excel, the break-even point can be calculated using the “Goal Seek” function.

## Options Trade Breakeven Points

Any number below the break-even point constitutes a loss while any number above it shows a profit. The term originates in finance but the concept has been applied in other fields. Businesses share the similar core objective of eventually becoming profitable in order to continue operating. Otherwise, the business will need to wind-down since the current business model is not sustainable. There is no net loss or gain at the break-even point (BEP), but the company is now operating at a profit from that point onward.

• Also, break-even analysis ignores external factors such as competition, market demand, and changing consumer preferences, which can have a significant impact on a businesses’ top line.
• Using Goal Seek in Excel, an analyst can backsolve how many units need to be sold, at what price, and at what cost to break even.
• Break-even analysis can also help businesses see where they could re-structure or cut costs for optimum results.
• Break-even analysis is a financial tool that is widely used by businesses as well as stock and option traders.

The break-even point is one of the simplest, yet least-used analytical tools. Identifying a break-even point helps provide a dynamic view of the relationships between sales, costs, and profits. For example, expressing break-even sales as a percentage of actual sales can help managers understand when to expect to break even (by linking the percent to when in the week or month this percent of sales might occur). Break-even analysis is often a component of sensitivity analysis and scenario analysis performed in financial modeling. Using Goal Seek in Excel, an analyst can backsolve how many units need to be sold, at what price, and at what cost to break even. If the price stays right at \$110, they are at the BEP because they are not making or losing anything.

## The Importance of Break-Even Analysis to Businesses

It enables you to gauge the profitability of your business and can help you make important decisions around your pricing strategies, inventory, operations and more. Break-even analysis can also help businesses see where they could re-structure or cut costs for optimum results. This may help the business become more effective and achieve higher returns.

To calculate BEP, you also need the amount of fixed costs that needs to be covered by the break-even units sold. Alternatively, the break-even point can also be calculated by dividing the fixed costs by the contribution margin. Let’s say that we have a company that sells products priced at \$20.00 per unit, so revenue will be equal to the number of units sold multiplied by the \$20.00 price tag. Although investors are not particularly interested in an individual company’s break-even analysis on their production, they may use the calculation to determine at what price they will break even on a trade or investment.

## Unit Economics and Cost Structure Assumptions

It’s much easier to answer whether you can exceed the sales needed to break even, than it is to guess your future sales,” says Rob. Get instant access to video lessons taught by experienced investment bankers. Learn financial statement modeling, DCF, M&A, LBO, Comps and Excel shortcuts. The incremental revenue beyond the break-even point (BEP) contributes toward the accumulation of more profits for the company. Break-even analyses are also important for managing financial risk, as Brian Cairns, CEO of ProStrategix Consulting, explains. “When I ask someone how much they’ll sell, they usually answer, ‘I don’t know’.

Meanwhile, the breakeven point in options trading occurs when the market price of an underlying asset reaches the level at which a buyer will not incur a loss. The total variable costs will therefore be equal to the variable cost per unit of \$10.00 multiplied by the number of units sold. Then, by dividing \$10k in fixed costs by the \$80 contribution margin, you’ll end up with 125 units as the break-even point, meaning that if the company sells 125 units of its product, it’ll have made \$0 in net profit. The break-even point (BEP) in economics, business—and specifically cost accounting—is the point at which total cost and total revenue are equal, i.e. “even”. There is no net loss or gain, and one has “broken even”, though opportunity costs have been paid and capital has received the risk-adjusted, expected return.

## In finance

If a company has reached its break-even point, this means the company is operating at neither a net loss nor a net gain (i.e. “broken even”). Take your learning and productivity to the next level with our Premium Templates.

Costs may change due to factors such as inflation, changes in technology, or changes in market conditions. It can be an excellent tool to use when you’re starting up a new business, as it helps you to decide whether the idea is viable. Plus, it provides you with information you can use when designing your pricing strategy. In addition, it’s a good idea to do a break-even analysis when you’re creating a new product, particularly if it’s particularly cost-intensive.

A breakeven point tells you what price level, yield, profit, or other metric must be achieved not to lose any money—or to make back an initial investment on a trade or project. Thus, if a project costs \$1 million to undertake, it would need to generate \$1 million in net profits before it breaks even. Companies can use profit-volume charting to track their earnings or losses by looking at how much product they must sell to achieve profitability. This comparison helps to set sales goals and determine if new or additional product production would be profitable. If you’re running a for-profit business, your break-even point should always be top of mind.