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


10 Tips on How to Start a Consulting Business

Are you considering starting your own consulting business? Business planning expert Tim Berry offers 10 tips on how to do it well. Read more »


How to Define Your Target Market

What’s my target market? What should it be? How would I know? Here’s a list of five things that will help you figure it out. Read more »


A Simple Recipe for Startup Marketing Strategy

Marketing for your startup will be a bit different than marketing for an existing business. How can you market your startup more effectively? An effective startup marketing strategy starts with sharp target market focus, then adds in specific identity and business offering, plus regular learning. Read more »


Is Startup Funding an Oxymoron?

How ironic that most of the online information on startups is about getting financed—but more than 90 percent of startups are bootstrapped. Read more »


How to Really Protect Your Business Idea

How do I protect my business idea? How can I find investors without giving it away? Here’s the hard truth about protecting your business ideas. Read more »


Practical Market Research Resources for Entrepreneurs

Are you starting a business? One of the first things you'll need to do is market research. Here are a few top resources to get you going. Read more »


The Essential Differences Between Cash and Profits

I learned how to manage cash flow first in business school, in a classroom setting, but it didn’t really mean anything to me until years later, as I was building my own business. Once my sales and profits skyrocketed, my cash flow dropped. It was all theoretical until I found myself in danger of going... Read more »


The Management Magic of Business Planning

True story: As my software business began to grow, as we went from two employees to five, then 10, I discovered how hard real management is with startups and small business that grow organically. In a startup, those first few people who join feel like friends, not employees. What they taught in my MBA courses... Read more »


Should You Stick to the Plan or Change It?

The monthly review meeting is absolutely essential to real business planning. The real value of business planning is the decisions it causes, and the management that results; and for that you need not just a plan but a regular monthly review to track results and revise as necessary. And the toughest part of the review... Read more »


How to Use Your Business Plan to Track Your Progress and Exceed Your Goals

My favorite quote on business planning is when former president Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “The plan is useless; but planning is essential.” What I’ve always taken from that is the importance of keeping a plan live; reviewing it, and revising it. The core concept of my work on lean business planning is that cycle: plan-run-review-revise. One... Read more »


Choosing Your Business Name

When choosing a name for your new company, you’re going to be concerned with finding the name that best suits your business, and making sure you pick a name you can legally use and protect. The two main concerns for startup business names are the legal requirements, and the commercial use. Now, in terms of... Read more »


How to Forecast Sales

First, allow me to deal with a very common problem: Business owners are often afraid to forecast sales. But, you shouldn’t be. Don’t think there is some magic right answer that you don’t know. Don’t think that it’s a matter of training you don’t have. It doesn’t take spreadsheet modeling, much less econometric modeling, to... Read more »


What Is a Break-Even Analysis?

The break-even analysis lets you determine what you need to sell, monthly or annually, to cover your costs of doing business—your break-even point. Illustration 1 shows the break-even analysis table: Illustration 1: Break-even analysis The break-even analysis table calculates a break-even point based on fixed costs, variable costs per unit of sales, and revenue per... Read more »


Know Your Industry Before You Start Your Business

Take a second to get into context here. If your plan is a plan to be presented to outsiders, then you need to explain the type of business you’re in. You’ll be expected to explain the general state of your industry and the nature of the business, especially if your plan is going outside your... Read more »


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 »


Strategy Is Useless Without Tactics

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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »