A Pile of Cash

How to Make Money on Your Brilliant Business Idea

by Tim Berry

So you have a brilliant business idea that will be very successful. My congratulations to you. Now read all ideas are brilliant and nobody is going to pay you for your ideas. Are you still sure? All right then, let’s continue.  And – this is important – do not even think about getting investors yet. Do a... Read More »

Cash Mousetrap

Why Bootstrapping is Better

by Tim Berry

The normal startup process doesn’t go from idea to plan to funding by outside investors. Funding is the exception, not the rule. Most startups are bootstrapped. That means we start a business with what resources we have. We fund it from early sales, promises, savings, and maybe friends and family; not outside investors. We all... Read More »

Investment Sweet Spot

Angel Investment vs. Bootstrap: Startup Sweet Spot

by Tim Berry

Successful angel investment is a win-win for both sides, the startup founders and the investors. And I mean win-win right at the beginning, at the time of the investment, not the obvious win-win later when years have gone by and the business succeeds and investors exit. The win-win sweet spot exists from the beginning, when... Read More »


Important Pitch Lesson: the Best Business Plans Change

by Tim Berry

My favorite moment in a recent business plan contest: The entrepreneurs put up a projected income slide. One of the judges commented that what was on the slide was different from what he saw in the business plan. The entrepreneur immediately answered “no, of course not, that was an earlier iteration.” Business Plans Change. They... Read More »

Video: Startup Funding. Bootstrap. Then “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You.”

by Tim Berry

I stumbled on this brilliant video of an after-hours startup funding event at the Stanford business school, a panel discussion putting two of the best-known, most influential, and most successful investors (Marc Andreessen and Ron Conway) together with another successful entrepreneur (Parker Conrad, founder of Zenefits), a moderator, and a group of interested entrepreneurs. The... Read More »

Good Life Project

Restaurants, Bootstrapping, Good Stories, and Divine Intervention

by Tim Berry

This is a great look at one example of a successful restaurant business. Jonathan Fields calls it “bootstrapping with a bit of divine intervention.” That story is about four minutes in. The whole interview is interesting, and a good background look for anybody curious about the restaurant business, particularly one successful restaurant business, not stylized... Read More »


Quick Funny Disruptive Game Changing Paradigm Shift Video

by Tim Berry

In my post here yesterday I questioned the value of the phrases “game changing” and “disruptive” for what every startup promises investors and few really offer. Right after posting I caught Sramana Mitra’s fun video cartoon here, a quick riff on the similar phrase “paradigm shift.” Aside from the fun video, I’ve mentioned Sramana before... Read More »


Can’t Get Funded? Maybe There Are Better Ways

by Tim Berry

Today I joined Ian Sigalow, Jim Estill, and Mike Edelhart on a free webinar titled “Revolution in Venture Funding.” If you’re interested, here is the link to the permanent archive: http://myventurepad.com/93875/audio-archive-revolution-venture-funding. The sizzle in this one is the idea of crowd funding: specifically, there’s a bill in congress that would loosen up restrictions on small-time... Read More »


Blaming Angels and VCs for Choosing is Like Blaming Up for Down

by Tim Berry

I was happily reading Sramana Mitra’s The Other 99% of Entrepreneurs on Read/Write Web, agreeing with every detail, when I ran into a snag. It’s in italics in this quote from Sramana’s post. Over 99% of entrepreneurs who seek funding get rejected. Yet, the entire world is focused on the 1% that is “fundable.” The media,... Read More »


Reflection: 10 Lessons Learned in 22 Years of Successful Bootstrapping

by Tim Berry

(I posted this about two years ago on Small Business Trends. I’m reposting it here today because this is a good time of year for this kind of reflection. And maybe also for not writing a new post. Tim ) Last week a group of students interviewed me, as part of a class project, looking for... Read More »