Stories

True Story: A Challenge

I was the planning consultant to Apple Computer’s Latin America group from 1982 until 1991 or 1992, the end of the relationship being a bit hard to define as I was called on steadily more by Apple Japan and less by Apple Latin America. The challenge came in the spring of 1985. The annual business...


My Worst-Ever Business Plan Engagement

It’s not for nothing that I always say a business plan has to be your plan and nobody else’s. It can’t be your consultant’s plan. You must know it backward and forward and inside out, or it won’t work. I learned this the hard way, sitting in venture capital offices at 300 Sand Hill Drive,...


A Military Exercise

In chapter four of his book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell describes how Paul Van Riper, a retired Marine commander, drove the U.S. military to fits in a war exercise called “Millennium Challenge.” It’s a brilliant argument for the plan-as-you-go idea compared with the traditional plan method. The Millennium Challenge was an exercise designed to test the military’s...


Spreadsheet Basics

You probably know this already, but I’ll go over it just in case. I recommend using Business Plan Pro software so you don’t have to do this, but it’s good to know anyhow, and you can certainly do everything in this book without that software. So here’s a bit about spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are normally arranged in rows...


Run Silent, Run Deep, Run Out of Money

The most important problem is getting people who haven’t been running companies to believe that cash flow and profits are different. That’s so vitally important because, on the surface, it doesn’t add up. It isn’t believable. I developed business planning software originally as templates for business-planning clients to deal with the following amazingly typical exchange:...


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