Tim Berry

Founder and Chairman

Tim Berry is the founder of Palo Alto Software , a co-founder of Borland International, and a recognized expert in business planning. Tim is the originator of Lean Business Planning. He has an MBA from Stanford and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. Today, Tim dedicates most of his time to blogging, teaching and evangelizing for business planning. His full biography is available on his blog. You can follow Tim on Google+.

Recent Articles Published by Tim Berry

starting

Practical Market Research Resources for Entrepreneurs

Most every organization will benefit from even the most elementary market research. If it does not provide new information, it will confirm what is known. Market research is the process of gaining information about your market. Preferably, this is specific information about your target market and the key factors that influence their buying decisions. Market... Read more »

planning

How to Forecast Cash Flow

  A good cash flow analysis might be the most important single piece of a business plan. All the strategy, tactics, and ongoing business activities mean nothing if there isn’t enough money to pay the bills. And that’s what a cash flow projection is about—predicting your money needs in advance. By cash, we mean money you... Read more »

managing

Set Tactics to Execute Strategy

It happens all the time. You take your team away from the routine for a few hours, brainstorm, and develop a brilliant new strategy. And when you all get back into the routine, the routine wins and strategy loses. Nothing changes. The strategy was brilliant on the whiteboard, but never got to the real world.... Read more »

planning

How to Create an Expense Budget

An expense budget is part of the bread-and-butter basics of good management. Set your budget as a goal, then review and revise often to stay on track. Being right on budget is usually good, but good management takes the regular review to check on the timing, efficiency, and results of what your business spends. For... Read more »

planning

The Different Types of Business Plans

Different situations call for different types of business plans. This is our guide to the most common types of business plans and how to use them. Read more »

planning

An Overview of Lean Business Planning

A lean business plan does what every business owner and aspiring startup needs to manage strategy, tactics, execution, and essential business numbers. It exists for internal management, not for outsiders. It stays lean and simple with just bullet points for essentials and a collection of lists and tables. It should be reviewed and revised at... Read more »

planning

What Makes a Business Plan More than Just Strategy and Wishful Thinking?

What’s the value of a business plan? Decisions. Action. How do you build decisions and action into your business plan? Milestones. What makes a business plan more than just strategy and wishful thinking? Milestones. Milestones are concrete, specific achievements, such as a product launch, some number of customers, opening of a new location, number of... Read more »

starting

How to Develop Your Business Strategy

I love the Michael Porter quote here because it’s so true, and more so the more you dig down into the front lines of real business, such as small business and startups. Strategy is what you’re not doing. My favorite metaphor is the sculptor with a block of marble—the art is what he chips off... Read more »

funding

30 Questions Angel Investors Will Ask You

When you pitch a startup to angel investors, you want to get questions. If you don’t get questions then your pitch fell flat and nobody is interested. So plan on answering questions—and hope you have some to answer! Embrace interruptions Most of the business plan competitions I judge ask the judges to listen quietly for... Read more »

funding

10 Things the Bank Will Ask When You Need a Business Loan

That bank loan you want for your company? Well, the bank is going to want a lot before they give it to you. Do you find this daunting? Me too. I was really disappointed when I needed my company’s first commercial bank loan to finance receivables of more than $1 million—from well-known distributors no less—and we... Read more »

funding

Business Pitch, Elevator Pitch, and the LivePlan Pitch: What’s the Difference?

What’s a business pitch? Clearly that depends on who you ask and what they’re thinking about when you ask. It might be a slide deck, or a 20-minute presentation livened by a slide deck, or a short talk, or even a strategy summary. Either way, it’s confusing and I’d like to help clear it up. Here’s... Read more »

planning

What Type of Business Plan Do I Need?

We get this question a lot, mainly because there are so many different things labelled as business plans: strategic plans, annual plans, operational plans, feasibility plans, and, of course, what most people think of, business plans for startups seeking investment. And also, what real business owners want—lean business plans for better management. In this article,... Read more »

funding

What Do Venture Capital Firms Want?

What do venture capitalists want in an investment? If you have to ask, then you (and your business) are probably not a good candidate. And—just in case you don’t recognize it—that’s a reference to an old joke: When someone asks a Ferrari salesman how much it costs, the salesman answers, “If you have to ask,... Read more »

managing

How to Anticipate Cash Flow Problems

Why don’t all business owners watch cash flow constantly? I recently caught up with a 2007 survey of business owners showing that only about one-half said they track cash flow regularly. Business experts constantly warn about cash flow. So why did so many business owners say they didn’t watch cash flow? Many business owners are... Read more »

funding

10 Tips for Finding Venture Funding

How do you find venture funding? I have to start with a major negative: if you have to ask if your startup can get venture capital, then it almost certainly can’t. Venture capital is a very rarified atmosphere of high-end startups and emerging businesses with experienced management teams, high potential growth, secret sauce, and so on.... Read more »

planning

How and Why to Manage Cash Flow

No matter how profitable your company looks, it can still be in danger of going under without sufficient cash flow. Cash is your business’s lifeblood, its survival. Yet the world is full of “profitable” companies bleeding themselves dry and slowly—or sometimes not so slowly—going under because they haven’t paid due attention to cash flow. How... Read more »

planning

What Startups Need to Know About Exit Strategies

  Startups looking for angel investors or venture capital (VC) absolutely need an exit strategy because investors require it. The exit is what gives them a return. Exit strategies related to startup funding are quite often misunderstood: The “exit” in exit strategy is for the money, not the startup founders or small business owners. The... Read more »

funding

5 Essentials for Angel Investment

Three months ago I posted Securing Angel Investors in this space. I was responding then to a request that I explain the process step-by-step. But I’m afraid I skipped the first and, for some, the most important step. Before you begin, it’s vital to determine whether you actually have a solid investment opportunity, regardless of how good... Read more »

planning

How to Forecast Sales

Sales forecasting is much easier than you think, and much more useful than you imagine. It’s not about guessing the future correctly. We’re human; we don’t do that well. Instead, it’s about assumptions, expectations, drivers, tracking, and management. You review and revise your forecast regularly. Since sales are intimate with costs and expenses, the forecast... Read more »

planning

5 Simple Steps for Better Management

This article was originally published on SBA.gov. It’s been republished here with permission. Good news: Here is a simple process, with five easy steps, that will help improve your business. It’s easy to do and if you’re not doing something like it already, then this simple addition to your process will offer you substantial business... Read more »