Tim Berry

Tim Berry

Founder and Chairman of Palo Alto Software, founder of bplans.com, co-founder of Borland International, angel investor, baby boomer, ex-hippy Stanford MBA father of five, married 45 years. Now working on lean business planning (leanplan.com), a new way of business planning for all business owners, not just those who need a formal plan to get investment.

Recent Articles Published by Tim Berry

managing

Profits vs. Growth, yes. Maximize Profits, No.

Understand the inherent tradeoff between profits vs. growth. I’m struck by how much business writing and thinking takes optimizing profits as the objective. Maximize your profits. I disagree. Usually the optimal is not maximizing profits, but rather maximizing the value of the business, which often means a balance between profits and growth. In general, a... Read more »

planning

Somebody Stole My Idea

How do you feel when somebody steals your idea? It’s a frequently asked question. Here’s my answer. That happened to me once. A business associate listened to my idea that I shouldn’t have shared in a cocktail party setting, and he went quietly off and executed. I was annoyed because he didn’t invite me to... Read more »

planning

How Do I Start my Business With No Money?

(Note: consider this one a guest post from Paul O’Brien, CEO of MediaTech Ventures. It’s his answer to a Quora question “how much money do I need to start.” It’s adopted from his post What is the minimum capital required to start up a new tech company? | SEO’Brien) How much do you need to... Read more »

planning

How Investors Look at Startup Forecasts

Investors look at startup forecasts for concepts, not accuracy. When investors look at your projections, they are looking not for just the numbers, but essential insight into the knowledge, experience, and goals of the founders. Important: you need to forecast to manage your business. Hard as it is to forecast, it’s much harder to run... Read more »

starting

Entrepreneurs Without Salaries?

Question: How do entrepreneurs without salaries sustain their families and pay bills? My answer: As an entrepreneur without salary, I built a business and supported my family at the same time by continuing to consult in the same field I was developing software for. That’s not unusual. I did not have the luxury of not... Read more »

planning

Top 10 Entrepreneurship Skills

What entrepreneurship skills do you need before you start? Here is my top 10 list, revised for 2021. This isn’t the first such list I’ve prepared, but it is the latest. I don’t think it matches many of the millions of other such lists. That’s fine with me. Here is my list Empathy. Understand what... Read more »

planning

How to Pitch a Startup Idea by Email.

How to pitch a startup idea by email? I scoffed a bit when I saw the question, on Quora. Nobody invests in ideas, I mumbled to myself. And pitching by email? Fat chance. But then I read the answer here, written by Brett Fox, former CEO of Touchstone Semiconductor, and now a CEO coach. Here... Read more »

starting

What? Founders with Kids?

The question surprised me: “Is it a red flag for a founder to have a child while a startup is still in an early age?” It’s an odd view on startup founders with children. Enough to prompt me with this blog post. I could summarize my answer with simply, “absolutely not.” But here’s my more... Read more »

funding

What Makes a Successful Pitch

No, it’s not really the format, the pictures, or the design … although those help. Ugly, confused, or disjointed is never an advantage. But what makes a successful pitch in a pitch presentation to investors is not the cosmetics; it’s the content. Question: Is there one unique piece I’d seen in a successful pitch that... Read more »

managing

Horror Story of Small Business Fraud

If you’re a business owner, and especially if you’re in the expert business, you should know this small business fraud story. It involves a very sophisticated scheme, including a fraudulent cashier’s check, and a very well faked charity, that would have fooled me. This could happen to me or to you Melinda Emerson, a good... Read more »

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