5 Ways to Make Your Projected Profits Realistic

by Tim Berry

I’m well into my business plan marathon again this year, in Houston today looking forward to judging the Rice Business Plan Competition, one of my favorites. Regarding business plans, instead of just complaining (again) about unrealistically high profitability projections, today I have some specific suggestions. And this has nothing whatsoever to do with the six... Read More »


Business Plan Contests Grow Up and Mean Business

by Tim Berry

It’s time to note a major change. Just a few years ago business plan contests were an academic oddity, a dress-up exercise at a few business grad schools. Suddenly, or so it seems, they’re pretty much for real. Some very powerful new businesses are appearing at business plan contests, winning significant money, attracting investors, getting... Read More »

Big Mistake: Huge Unbelievable Sales Numbers

by Tim Berry

Jeffrey Moskovitz added an important comment to my big mistake post from last week: I read an blog yesterday, written by someone I respect, who asserted that investors know and even EXPECT that projected sales and profits will be overstated. Aware of this expectation, the entrepreneur plays the game by inflating the numbers, fully aware... Read More »

No, You Can't Just Pull Numbers Out of The Air

by Tim Berry

Question: I’m in the process of writing an Internet startup business plan to present to prospective investors. The site isn’t live so I don’t even have a basis for speculation with respect to the financials. I would essentially be pulling numbers out of the air. Being that the Internet business as it pertains to advertising... Read More »


Big Mistake: Business Plans And Investor Returns

by Tim Berry

Another problem that comes up a lot as I read on with my business plan marathon: too many business plans are taking too much time and effort telling supposed investors what their supposed return on investment will be. This is usually a waste of time, energy, and space. It’s certainly a mismatch between what the... Read More »

Yes No Maybe

Big Mistake: On Business Plans, Cash, Investment, and Whose Peace of Mind Matters

by Tim Berry

This seems so strange to me. My business plan marathon has turned up several plans calling for way more money than the plan itself says it needs. How can that happen? For example, a plan calls for $3 million investment for 2010 and its projected cash balance at the end of 2010, and again at... Read More »


10 Requests From Your Business Plan Reader

by Tim Berry

I’ve started my business plan marathon season again. Between now and the end of May, I’ll read several hundred business plans: some for my angel investment group (Willamette Angel Conference), and others for judging business plan contests at the Universities of Oregon, Texas, Rice, Princeton, and Notre Dame. I’d like to use the famous T.S.... Read More »

Do Business Plan Contest Winners Make It in the Real World?

by Tim Berry

Craig from asked me last week in a comment he added to my Willamette Angel Conference post: I was wondering with all these business plan competitions that you judge, how many winners or even non winners have you seen turn into successful companies? Are there any examples that you could give? Yes, a lot... Read More »

Turning Good Advice into Bad News

by Tim Berry

Imagine, if you will, this scene: You are in a group of angel investors talking with entrepreneurs looking for funding. Or you are in a group of venture competition judges giving feedback to teams after the judging is over. The entrepreneurs listen intently, nod, they’re understanding, and then suddenly one or more of their faces... Read More »

Don't Shade Your Eyes, Summarize

by Tim Berry

What if you had to take the classic business plan, developed for an MBA-level venture competition, and shrink it down to 10 pages? Last Friday I spent a fun and fascinating day as a semi-finals judge at the University of Oregon New Venture Competition. My part of the program was evaluating four ventures developed by... Read More »