How Does Capital Budgeting Work for Startups With Less Money?

Konstantin Lichtenwald

March 7, 2023

When a business decides to take on a new project, it must be analyzed and budgeted carefully. This applies to projects such as buying land, constructing a new plant or purchasing a new piece of machinery. Capital budgeting is a process that evaluates long-term investment proposals and helps managers decide whether to invest in the project or defer it. It uses several valuation methods, including net present value (NPV), internal rate of return (IRR) and payback period.

How It Works

Owning a profitable business means making wise financial decisions and controlling spending. Still, there are times when you need to invest in a large project that will push your company forward. This is where capital budgeting comes in handy.

A standard capital budgeting method is to estimate how much new revenue you expect from a particular project versus how much you would need to spend on it to make it work (in other words, future cash flow). This provides an idea of how long the business will take to break even and determines what type of return a particular project can generate.

Another common factor used in capital budgeting is opportunity cost. This is the amount of money a business could have earned from its investment in a different project if it had taken the time to pursue it instead.


Capital budgeting is a process that helps businesses make informed decisions about significant monetary expenditures. It can be used for any investment, from acquiring new equipment to expanding business operations.

Investing in capital projects can help a company grow and increase its profits. However, a company’s investment amount is limited, so management must choose wisely.

One of the most critical considerations in capital budgeting is opportunity cost. This is the value of a business’s future earnings that would have been earned if it had invested in another project instead.

In addition, timing is also an essential factor in capital budgeting. All else equal, a company should prefer to invest in an investment that will generate cash sooner rather than later.

While capital budgeting is a valuable tool, it can be costly for businesses with next to no start-out cash. Conducting thorough financial analysis and comparisons of potential projects before deciding is essential.


Capital budgeting is a process used by businesses to assess potential projects before they are approved or rejected. It involves analyzing a prospective project’s lifetime cash inflows and outflows to determine whether the expected return meets a target benchmark.

Several factors can affect the accuracy of these estimates, including the timing of cash flow. These estimates can be especially difficult for longer-term projects.

The right approach to capital budgeting is crucial to a business’s success. Using the correct method can save a company time and money by ensuring that they invest in a project that is both profitable and appropriate for its company.


When a company decides to invest in long-term projects, it has to weigh multiple project options to determine which will yield the most significant benefits. The goal is to choose a project that will result in greater profits and increase the value of the business.

During the budgeting process, companies evaluate the potential benefits of each proposed project by using a variety of metrics to assess its feasibility. These include the payback period, net present value (NPV), internal rate of return and profitability index.

Capital budgeting methods also consider opportunity cost, which is the benefit a company misses by choosing one investment over another. For example, suppose a company decides to purchase a second pizza oven. In that case, the opportunity cost of this investment is the money it could have earned in interest by leaving the cash in a savings account.

It is also essential to project the timing of cash flow carefully. This is because it affects the calculation of NPV and other capital budgeting metrics.