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 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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


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 »


What Makes a Sales Forecast Credible?

FULL TRANSCRIPT: So for me, what makes a sales forecast credible? It starts with product market fit. I want to understand the story of the need, and not necessarily big numbers, but who needs this and why. That’s the beginning. Is this really believable? That’s important. Beyond that, how the numbers grow. I want to... Read more »


What No One Ever Tells You About Business Failures

The mythology of failure rates is greatly exaggerated, I think. Not that you’re not going to do it anyhow, just like I did, but, for the record, you know they say seven out of ten startups fail within three years, and that comes from research that was done. But more and more there is an... Read more »


Joi Ito Nails It On Business Planning In This TED Talk

Here’s some great insight on the evolution of business plans and business planning, from Joi Ito, Director of MIT’s MediaLabs: Ito urges us to follow a compass rather than a map. Instead of planning out every exact points before you start, allow yourself to make the decisions you need as you go in the general... Read more »


15 Things to Blog About

(Note from Tim: I post here every Wednesday and I’ve posted more than a thousand posts since I started this blog on Entrepreneur.com in 2007. Today I’m proud to offer this space to Melinda Emerson, “The Small Biz Lady,” who is the author of this guest post.) It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced business... Read more »


It’s Easier to Teach an Innovator to be a CEO…

Who do you want running a startup: an innovator or a CEO? Read more »


Q&A: What I Recommend for a Marketing Plan

One business owner asks: How should we go about creating our first marketing plan, after we've been in business for 30+ years? Read more »


What the Scrambling Quarterback Says About Business Planning

I was delighted to catch Sometimes You Have to Scramble  in my blog feed yesterday. That post on smallbizclub.com was written by pro football hall-of-gamer Fran Tarkenton, who was famous for scrambling as quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants, back in the 1970s. Who better to point out two essential truths about real-world... Read more »


8 Tips For Getting Your Product Into Retail Stores

No matter what kind of retail sales channel you want to get your product into, there are a few key things you should know. Read more »


Could This Be You, Insulting Your Customer?

A reminder of the strange, wondrous, sometimes funny, sometimes dangerous, but pretty much unavoidable mix of human interaction, human thinking, and automation. Read more »