Should most Silicon Valley companies skip the planning process? Definitely not. Here are six good reasons why they still need a business plan.

Noah Parsons

Before joining Palo Alto Software, Noah Parsons was an early Internet marketing and product expert in the Silicon Valley. He joined Yahoo! in 1996 as one of its first 101 employees and become Producer of the Yahoo! Employment property as part of the Yahoo! Classifieds team before leaving to serve as Director of Production at He is a graduate of Princeton University. Noah devotes most of his free time to his three young sons. In the winter you'll find him giving them lessons on the ski slopes, and in summer they're usually involved in a variety of outdoor pursuits. Noah is currently the COO at Palo Alto Software, makers of Outpost and the online business plan app LivePlan, and content curator and creator of the Emergent Newsletter. You can follow Noah on Twitter.

Recent Articles Published by Noah Parsons


Why Even Silicon Valley Entrepreneurs Need a Business Plan

Silicon Valley is a crazy place. I’ve lived and worked there, first through the late 90s and the dot-com bubble while I worked at Yahoo!, and then again helping to start a company that eventually got bought by eBay. As the dot-com bubble was bursting, I left to work in the U.K. and founded a... Read more »


Think Like a Marketer and Sell Like a Superstar

Marketing and sales have changed dramatically over the past few years and every business, regardless of size, must adapt. Join John Jantsch, best selling author of Duct Tape Marketing, as he explains how business owners and marketers alike must take the best of marketing and best of selling to create the perfect mix that attracts... Read more »


Why One Business Failed (and How to Ensure Yours Won’t)

Despite having the key ingredients required for success, a new local restaurant failed. Here are the lessons that would have helped save this business, that can also help you as you search for success. Read more »


The 6 Most Important Web Metrics to Track for Your Business Website

Web analytics and metrics can be overwhelming. The key to avoid drowning in the sea of numbers is to start with six key metrics for measuring how your website is doing. Read more »


Simple (and Cheap!) Continuing Education For Your Team

I’m a big believer in providing continuing education for our team here at Palo Alto Software. Investing in furthering the professional growth of our team is by far one of the best things we can do to grow internal capacity, generate new ideas, and question old ideas. Providing educational opportunities that spark new questions and... Read more »


My favorite apps to keep productive in 2013

I’m a sucker for any app that helps me be more productive. I’ll try any new to-do list and I’m always on the lookout for the next great project management tool. Over the past year, there have been some fantastic new productivity apps as well as some refreshes of a few classics. To help you... Read more »


A new way to develop and present your business model

Here at Palo Alto Software, we’ve added a major new feature to our business planning app, LivePlan, that I think you’re going to love. It’s called the LivePlan Pitch and we’re really excited about it. But, before I dive into what our new feature does, let me give you a little context. The mythology of... Read more »


How to improve your business plan with one simple addition

We’ve all been there. We have come up with an idea for a new product or service that we think we can sell to our customers. We have written what we think is a bullet-proof business plan. We’ve gone ahead and built the new product, or purchased new inventory, or expanded our store assuming that,... Read more »


What Makes a Successful Business Plan?

Every year, I spend a lot of time reading and judging  business plans for business plan competitions. I have read some great plans and some not-so-great plans, but that is how it always turns out in any business plan competition. I thought it might be useful to talk about the most common deficiencies that have... Read more »


Can your brand be a luxury brand?

As little as 5-6 years ago, computers and cell phones were purely utilitarian devices. That is, they were used to get tasks done. They weren’t always very pretty to look at and certainly not things that you necessarily craved – unless your inner geek needed whatever was the latest and greatest technology. “Sexy” was certainly... Read more »


Friday TV: Start-up Junkies

If you’re looking for a little Friday distraction or are curious what it looks like inside a venture-funded startup, set aside a few hours and catch some episodes of Start-Up Junkies on Start-Up Junkies is very reminiscent of the 2001 movie, also a fun technology start-up documentary about the first Internet boom of... Read more »


How to Evade the Email Tsunami

Does your company receive hundreds or even thousands of emails every day? How do you ensure that every correspondent gets a response? The New York Times focused yesterday on the problem of too much email and how to handle it, highlighting a few possible solutions gleaned from both technology leaders of today and from the... Read more »


Why Competition is a Good Thing

Talking to small businesses and entrepreneurs writing business plans, I find that business owners often wish that they had no competition. Businesses usually are thinking that with no competition, the entire market for their product or service will be theirs. I don’t think that is the case – especially for newstartups that have truly innovative... Read more »

Lessons to be learned from The Apprentice

The latest series of The Apprentice commenced on BBC 1 on Wednesday last (March 26, 2008) with the latest batch of candidates seeking to work for Sir Alan Sugar, founder of Amstrad. While the programme is both entertaining and dramatic in equal measure, it also provides a wonderful insight into teams, team dynamics, and how... Read more »


Turn customers away and grow your business

If you follow the Duct Tape Marketing blog, you’ll know that one of John Jantsch’s core strategies for small business marketing is to define your ideal customer. Today he turns that notion upside down and asks readers to define who you don’t want as your customer. This is good advice. In fact, turning customers away... Read more »


How to Write Great Copy for Your Website

You don’t know what’s going to work on your website. What copy is going to work. What layout is going to work. What colors are going to work. Is it going to be better to put a product image at the top of the page or the bottom? Should it be on the left or... Read more »


Don’t just Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk

I live and work in the (relatively) small town of Eugene, Oregon. This is a town where supporting local merchants is taken very seriously and where the local Saturday farmers’ market is always crowded. I very much enjoy supporting local merchants and do so whenever I have the option. Buying local has many benefits including... Read more »

News Interview with Tim Berry

Tim was interviewed yesterday after his presentation at eBay Live in Boston. Click here for the video interview. — Noah Read more »


About our Authors: Tim Berry Founder and President of Palo Alto Software and a renowned planning expert. He is listed in the index of “Fire in the Valley”, by Swaine and Freiberger, the history of the personal computer industry. Tim’s days are filled with writing at his blog  Planning, Startups, Stories and contributing regularly to... Read more »


How to Write an Effective Marketing Plan

Contributed by Alan Gleeson. A marketing plan is a core component of a business plan. It relates specifically to the marketing of a particular product or service and it describes: An overall marketing objective A broad marketing strategy The tactical detail related to specific marketing activities The various costs associated with these activities Those tasked... Read more »

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Should most Silicon Valley companies skip the planning process? Definitely not. Here are six good reasons why they still need a business plan.