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 »

Form Follows Function

Lean Business Plan: Form Follows Function

by Tim Berry

Your lean business plan is no more than what you need to run your business. In the beginning, it might be as simple as an elevator speech. Be able to talk through those key points: the customer story, what makes you unique, how you’re focusing and on what you’re focusing, and, if it comes to that,... Read More »


Pop Quiz: Do You Know How to Start a Business Plan?

by Tim Berry

People often ask me how to start a business plan. Sometimes I’ll say it depends on you, your preference, and your style, so some people do a sales forecast first, some do a vision statement. But the right answer is that you start by scheduling your monthly review and revise meeting. That’s by far the... Read More »


Planning: It’s About Management and Accountability

by Tim Berry

Every small-business owner suffers the problem of management and accountability. It’s much easier to be friends with the people you work with than to manage them well. Correct management means setting expectations well and then following up on results. Compare results with expectations. People on a team are held accountable only if management actually does the work... Read More »


Business Plans are Always Wrong, But Still Vital

by Tim Berry

(Note: It feels like business planning season to me. Fall, or almost fall, time to think about next year. So I’m reviewing business planning fundamentals, this week and next, refreshing some of my older posts.)  Business plans are always wrong. That’s because we’re human. Business plans predict the future. We humans suck at predicting the future.... Read More »


10 Tips For Starting a Service Business

by Tim Berry

You can see the request here on the right, posted to me on Twitter. I decided it’s a good subject for a blog post here, and I went on my own first as a service business and survived that way for 12 years before Palo Alto Software finally established itself as a product company.  So... Read More »


Time For a New Kind of Business Planning

by Tim Berry

[Note: this is a special post placed here as part of Pamela Slim’s Escape Community. It was modified from a post that originally appeared here.] It is time to adapt a new kind of business planning, which I want to call “plan-as-you-go” business planning. It leaves the formal plan document for the special cases that... Read More »


The 3 Most Often Overlooked Pieces of the Business Plan

by Tim Berry

Yes, it is true that plans are stories and stories drive plans, but that’s not stories as visions of the future and plans as managing and steering to make those visions true; we’re not talking about fairy tales. Make your planning real. Make it help your business. Make it help you control your destiny and... Read More »


Planning Fundamentals 2: All Business Plans are Wrong, But Vital

by Tim Berry

(I posted most of this in 2007, but it’s even more important now) Business plans are always wrong. That’s because we’re human. Business plans predict the future. We humans are dismally inaccurate when predicting the future. Paradox: nonetheless, planning is vital. Planning means starting with the plan and then tracking, reviewing progress, watching plan vs. actual results,... Read More »


Planning Fundamentals 1: Form Follows Function

by Tim Berry

(Author note: I’ve been asked to go over some business planning fundamentals, and maybe collect those into a series. Consider this a first installment.) Your business plan isn’t necessarily a document; it’s what you want to do in your business or organization, what’s supposed to happen, and why. It’s a combination of goals, directions, long-term... Read More »