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.
What are the critical mistakes in startup financial projections? Here is my list of five critical mistakes. It comes from reviewing more than a hundred possible startups with either detailed projections or pitches and, of course, business plans. Good news at the bottom: these are much easier to fix than some more common startup problems... Read more »
What’s a good business plan? A business plan is as good or bad as its results. The decisions it causes. Divide this into two parts: First, how can you tell a good business plan after the fact, after time, after the business has been running with it. Second, how can you tell a good business... Read more »
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 »
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 »
(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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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 »
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