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Three Tips for Calculating Your Company's Cash 'Runway'

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This story appears in the April 2012 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Are Your Runways Clear for Takeoff?Most entrepreneurs spend a lot of time on runways, but not always at the airport. Rather, they're balancing cash runways, which, loosely defined, are the amount of time or money with which they can operate in the red. For example, if a firm that's not generating revenue is burning $20,000 per month and has $100,000 in the bank, it has a "runway" of five months.

While the concept is straightforward, the reality is more complicated. Entrepreneurs must understand their personal cash runways, as well as those of their employees and the company as a whole. Knowing the length of those runways, and how to navigate them, is crucial to predicting and troubleshooting the inevitable ups and downs of starting a business.

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