10 Reflections On 2 Business Plan Competitions

by Tim Berry

Last week I spent three days in Houston as a judge of the Rice Business Plan Competition. I haven’t been home since I left April 7 to judge the University of Oregon’s New Venture Championship. Both of these competitions include four components: the business plan, the business pitch, the responses to questions, and the elevator... Read More »

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 Marathon Again … and Your Profits Are Still Way Too High

by Tim Berry

This morning I start my annual business plan marathon. This is my day as a semi-finals judge at the University of Oregon’s New Venture Championship. From here I go to Houston next week for Rice University’s million-dollar business plan competition, and then in early may to Austin for the University of Texas’ Venture Labs competition.... Read More »

Business Plan Contests Leave Out Bootstrappers

by Tim Berry

I consider myself something of an expert on business plan competitions. I ran one myself for several years, I’ve judged several dozen including several of the most prestigious, my company sponsors more than a dozen a year, I’ve had students in my undergrad business classes competing in them, I’m an investor member of an angel... Read More »

Our Angel Group Chooses to Invest in Healthy Natural Organic Intimacy Products

by Tim Berry

I fear you’d have to know the quirky nature of Eugene, Oregon, my home town, to understand how well the choice of our local angel investor group matches the area. Some people call Eugene “Berkeley North.” We have to have way more health foods stores, organic foods, and natural products per capita than any national... 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 »