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

starting

Startup Founder Compatibility is Vital

Please don’t ever estimate the importance of startup founder compatibility. It’s vital. And it may not be what you think. The relationship among founders of a healthy business is like a marriage. Compatible goals, thinking, values, and decision-making styles is really important. Even if a well-run and successful business, there will be a lot of... Read more »

planning

Do those summaries, sure. Use those frameworks. But don’t think they replace business planning.

There is some bad advice floating around in the startup world. Useful as the Lean Canvas is, and despite some well-intentioned suggestions of summaries, those are not business plans. They don’t deal with the drivers and components of cash flow. They don’t set milestones, metrics, and tracking. You can’t run a business with them. And... Read more »

planning

10 Prevailing Myths Of Business Ownership

I was asked about common myths of business ownership, that people still believe in 2019. I came up with a list of 10 common myths. Do you agree? That the business idea matters. As if ownership ought to depend on having the big idea. As if people steal ideas, or that’s even possible, much less... Read more »

planning

Know Your Industry: Average Margins

Know your industry. In a recent post here, I wrote that the most common stumbling point I see in multiple business plans is absurdly unrealistic profitability. Specifically … Most of the business plans I see project profits too high, or profits too early. In the real world, startups choose growth or profits, not both. The... Read more »

planning

Advice to Young People Looking to be Entrepreneurs

How does a young person work towards a career in entrepreneurship? I was asked this question on Quora. Here’s my answer. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Make sure you focus on your education while you’re young; don’t think success is supposed to happen immediately. School is the best way to build options later on.... Read more »

planning

10 Tips on How to Protect a Software Idea

How to protect a software idea? I recently answered a related Quora question on this one. I took parts of this post from a previous post on how to protect an idea while building a business, but this one focuses more on software, specifically. That’s where I’ve spent most of my career, and still my... Read more »

starting

Listing Resources for Women Entrepreneurs

My thanks to digital.com for this useful list of resources for women entrepreneurs and women business owners. The list includes sources for grants, loans, and investments; plus business and business plan competitions; and training and additional resources. Read more »

planning

5 Most Important Illusions About Startups

Q: What some illusions about start-ups? A: here’s my list of the five most important illusions about startups The illusion of the idea. Few businesses have truly new ideas. Apple didn’t; Facebook didn’t; Google didn’t. They took an existing idea and did it better, or differently. Quite often the second or third entrant into a... Read more »

planning

CEOs Change the Deeper Meaning of the Ultimate Bottom Line

As I read this morning about the Business Roundtable changing this fundamental principle, I was really glad to see it. It’s about time. Several hundred influential CEOs got together and agreed to revise priorities. The next quarter’s profits — which maximizes short-term share price — are no longer the supreme goal and top priority. Here’s... Read more »

planning

Infographic: 7 “Crazy” Startup Ideas That Worked

I believe many people put way too much stock in the startup idea. Doing the business, doing the work, getting things done, and execution are all more important. Obviously a bad idea can make a business unsuccessful, but a good idea is no guarantee. And very few successful businesses are based on being the first... Read more »

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