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


10 Pervasive Business Plan Myths

In dealing with business plans and business planning for four decades, I’ve come to know well some very pervasive business plan myths that should be debunked. The business plan myths can create unnecessary hurdles for entrepreneurs and hinder their chances of success. Here are the 10 most common business plan myths that I run into... Read more »


Avoid these 5 Critical Mistakes in Startup Financials

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 »


How to Know a Good Business Plan

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 »


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 »


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 »


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.”) How much do you need to start? Here is Paul’s Answer Zero dollars. What “should be” the minimum?? Nothing. It takes nothing to start: Total spent?... Read more »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »