Planning not Accounting

Planning Principle: It’s Business Planning, Not Accounting

by Tim Berry

It’s business planning not accounting.  Your projections, although they look like accounting statements, are just projections. They are always going to be off one way or another, and their purpose isn’t guessing the future exactly right, but rather setting down expectations and connecting the links between spending and revenue. Then when you do your monthly... Read More »

Business Management

Planning Principle: Good Business Planning Empowers Accountability

by Tim Berry

It’s easier to be friends with your coworkers than to manage them well. Every small-business owner suffers the problem of management and accountability. Good business planning empowers accountability. Good business planning sets clear expectations and then follows up on results. It compares results with expectations. People on a team are held accountable only if management actually... Read More »

Planning as Dribbling

Planning Principles: Business Plan in Constant Change

by Tim Berry

One of the strongest and most pervasive myths about planning is dead wrong: planning doesn’t reduce flexibility. It builds flexibility. Lean business planning manages change. It is not threatened by change. This is the third of my five main principles of business planning. The first was do only what you’ll use. The second is that... Read More »

Plan Run Review Revise

Planning Principle: Continuous Process, Not Just a Plan

by Tim Berry

Don’t think of planning as just a plan that you do once. Planning done right is a process of continuous improvement. Keep your business plan always fresh and current. Never finish a business plan, heave a sigh of relief, and congratulate yourself that you’ll never have to do that again. Don’t use it once and throw it away.... Read More »

Unhappy Guy

True Story: My Worst-Ever Business Plan Consulting Engagement

by Tim Berry

In more than 30 years with business planning, my worst-ever business plan consulting engagement was for a startup that should have been funded but wasn’t. It was a good business plan. But the business plan process became the fatal flaw. A good plan, excellent team, good startup I learned this lesson while sitting in a series of meetings,... Read More »


Understand The Essential ‘Why They Buy’

by Tim Berry

Close your eyes. Step away from the daily routine. Answer these questions. Why does anybody buy what you're selling? What do they get out of it? Do you fill a need? Do you offer identifiable benefits? Some 30 years ago... Read More »

Video: 5 Fundamental Principles of Business Planning

by Tim Berry

Through the decades, what I recommend for real business planning has changed a lot; but these five fundamental principles of business planning remain constant, from then straight through until today. And for lean business plans as well as formal traditional plans. Read More »


Planning and Paradox

by Tim Berry

Business planning is full of paradox. Here are some interesting examples. Business plans are always wrong, but nonetheless vital. Wrong because they're predicting the future and we're human, we're fallible, so we don't get it right. Vital because we need... Read More »

Future of Business Planning 2006

Business Plan Software Then and Now

by Tim Berry

I was shocked, over the weekend, to discover that it’s been more than 10 years since I posted The Future of Business Planning Software here on this blog. I wrote then: As time goes on, more people are going to use planning as process to manage their businesses better. More will see the power of regular plan... Read More »


Business Planning is not Accounting

by Tim Berry

The picture here represents the legendary Stargate, a science fictional gateway between two dimensions. There was a 1994 film starring James Spader and Kurt Russell. I often use it to illustrate the difference between planning and accounting. Planning begins today... Read More »