EP19: Angel Investor Tim Berry Shares His Secrets on Business Plans & Raising Capital

Pamela Slim, author of the best-selling Escape From Cubicle Nation, calls entrepreneur Tim Berry the Obi-wan Kenobe of business planning. Guy Kawasaki made Tim his business plan expert in “How to Write a Business Plan.” He’s also the official business plan expert at Entrepreneur.com.

Tim Berry describes business planning as “a fascinating combination of words and numbers, stories and dreams, and business steps.”

It’s just this fascination that took the former journalist and foreign correspondent on a life path that moved him from Mexico City in the 1970’s to Stanford’s MBA program to life as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and angel investor.

He is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software, the company that produces leading business-planning software, LivePlan; founder of BPlans.com, and co-founder of

HavePresence.com and he says that when it comes to developing your Lean Business Plan if it’s not measurable or trackable, it doesn’t belong.

Lean Planning Defined

Berry’s Lean Plan Methodology involves four key components:

1.) Strategy
2.) Tactics
3.) Concrete-specifics
4.) Essential numbers

And he suggests that all start-ups require a business plan as part of the due diligence process.

“You can’t run a business without a sales forecast, and a spending budget, and a cash flow plan,” he says, as he stresses the importance of having established essential numbers.

Measurability

Concrete-specifics are the milestones, metrics, and responsibilities that creates measurability, and your ability to track progress. The ability to gauge progress and outcome success is the thing that’s going to tell you if you’re on the right track to accomplishing your vision and goals.

It’s not to say that along the way, you may not need to adjust your concrete-specifics, along with your strategies, tactics, and essential numbers.

“Things are going to change,” he emphasizes. This is why a business plan requires regular review and revisions. It’s not going to stay the same, just as life and business evolve, so too must your business plan.

Resources:

Tim Berry Website

Lean Business Plan Book

Lean Plan Website

Plan As You Go Business Plan Book 

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I was fired from my first job and after 10 years working at WebMD I had an epiphany while in Costa Rica. I started my second business, Change Creator, to help early-stage social entrepreneurs grow a profitable impact business through our signature program, Captivate, magazine and podcast. To date, I've had the privilege of talking with people such as Jay Shetty, Seth Godin, Muhammad Yunus, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and so many great minds.
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