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.
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 Bret 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 »
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 »
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 »
… is where you are. Sure, there are exceptions. Maybe you’re young, and have no roots. Or maybe you just want to move to somewhere else. But, barring special cases, look around you. The best place to start you business is where you are. In my email and on Quora I get a steady stream... Read more »
I get it. What a nice dream … just sell the business idea, and let somebody else take the risk, find the money, and do the work. Except that the work, the risk, and the money is what gives the business idea value. So nowhere. The answer to your question about where is: nowhere. Business... Read more »
These are very common false assumptions in entrepreneurship. “What gets us into trouble is not what we don’t know. It’s what we know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain I answered a Quora question about this. Here’s my list of seven: That being profitable means having cash in the bank. Seems obvious,... Read more »
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