Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Valuable ‘Lessons from the Recession’ 0

I was happy to see in this morning’s email that James Barrod and Brian Moran’s Lessons from the Recession is out now and being promoted on an innovative crowd funding site IndieGo.com.

I like the title because that’s exactly what this book is: lessons learned. Remember 2008? Particularly the end of 2008, September and October? All economic indicators plunged together. We all worried about what now-president Obama could do to keep us out of a depression. Those were some hard times. And they put business fundamentals to the test.

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James and Brian subtitled it: Real Solutions for Every Small Business Riding the Economic Roller Coaster. I think that’s accurate. I’m one of about a dozen co-authors who contributed. My chapter uses some case studies to show how the right kind of business planning can help to manage change and uncertainty by keeping control on the dashboards of the business. Other chapters are written by experts I consider friends, Rieva Lesonsky and Barbara Weltman, and a roll call of experts I’d like to know better.

Disclosure: I got a check for writing a chapter.

More disclosure: one of the three companies I used as a case example for my chapter is not doing well, and I’m not sure about the other two. You be the judge of that factor. I’ve been wrong before with my praise of early startups that didn’t do as well as I expected. I think I’m too much of an optimist. Sometimes wanting these people to succeed clouds my judgement.

On that of course I’m in good company. Jim Collins’ excellent book Good to Great included Fannie Mae and Circuit City as great (and both tanked). And In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman included some (Digital Equipment, Wang, for example) companies that they called excellent that tanked later. ¬†Predicting the future is tough.

Which, by the way, is the main point of my chapter on business planning: with the right kind of business planning, you don’t predict the future, you manage the future by setting specific goals and milestones and following up with tracking and revisions as necessary.

One final thought: the IndieGo.com site is an interesting approach to funding a book effort. Take a look. I hope it works for James and Brian. They put a lot of work into this book, and what they created has some very good content.