Thoughts on startups by investors that
fund them & entrepreneurs that run them

Viewing all posts by Tim Berry

user Tim Berry

Tim is the founder of Palo Alto Software and, the co-founder of Borland International, and the official business planning coach at He has been called the "Obi-wan Kenobe of business planning" and "The Father of Business Planning." He is a serial author of books and software on business planning.

Up-to-date Investors Want Social Proof from Startups

I just read Social Proof Is the New Currency on the Social Media Today blog. Author Daniel Lay writes: 

Whether you like Mark Zuckerberg’s mug or not, the social web is here to stay, and businesses that can integrate social proof into their marketing efforts seamlessly will join this new “socially rich” class. We mean richness in fans and followers, not number

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Startups: A Verbal Wave at Social Media Means Diddly

Startups: Investors expect new marketing. The fundamentals still apply but tools and realities are different now. If you don’t understand the broader implications of social media, content marketing, curation, engagement, and relationships, then you desperately need a great reason why not. And don’t think you can just wave your hands at it.  You have to really know it.

Here’s are

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What are good questions to answer for business plans?

This is my answer on Quora to ‘what are good questions to answer in a business plan?’

Congrats on your question. Basing your planning on what questions to answer, as you suggest, is a really good way to do it. Everything in business planning is case by case, and every plan is unique, so you’re on the right track.


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Good Advice, Bad Advice, Land Mines on a Path to Heaven

Having just read James Altucher’s Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Starting and Running a Business, I’m fascinated by a collection of bold, very well written, and remarkably unambigious advice, most of it great, some of it terrible. The effect is like a path to heaven with hidden land mines.

Read it, but don’t believe it. Think about each of the 100

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Paul Graham Predicting New Opportunities in Angel Investment

Posted by on July 16th, 2013

In his essay published last month, Startup Investing Trends, Paul Graham (that’s this Paul Graham, Y Combinator co-founder) says “one of the biggest unexploited opportunities in startup investing right now is angel-sized investments made quickly.” Here’s the full quote:

I think one of the biggest unexploited opportunities in startup investing right now is angel-sized investments made quickly. Few investors understand the

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Which is Better? The Whole Big Market or the Strategic Niche?

Posted by on July 9th, 2013

True story: After this particular startup team pitched a couple dozen investors, many of the investors told them their strategy was too narrow and too focused. One comment: “there’s a huge potential market, and you’re boxed into a niche.”

Later, when I talked to the startup founder about it, she was disappointed. “The last time we pitched they all

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Is Connecting People a Business Model? I Doubt It.

Posted by on May 28th, 2013

Is connecting people a business model? I don’t think so.

Connecting people is what happens when the entrepreneur gets recommended to the investor, or group of investors. It’s an introduction. In some cases it’s a door opener. And it can seem like the connection leads to investment that might not have happened otherwise.

The startup and angel investment ecosystem in

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If They Ask You to Judge a Business Plan Competition, Say Yes

Posted by on May 7th, 2013

I’ve had the pleasure of judging several dozen real business pitches in the past six weeks. Some were pitches for angel investment at the Willamette Angel Conference, an angel group in Oregon. More to the point, others were for the University of Oregon New Venture Competition, the Rice University Business Plan Competition, and the University of Texas’ Venture Labs competition.

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True Story: Why We Turned This Deal Down

This is about a deal my angel group turned down.

The software looks excellent. I wanted to use it immediately. There’s urgent and widespread market need. It’s obviously proprietary too. It’s a crowded noisy market, but it feels like this one has a real shot at it. Furthermore, the entrepreneur behind it is proven. The software grew out of the

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The Right Way to Not Pay Yourself

Posted by on April 9th, 2013

Today I received an email asking me to clarify what I wrote last month in Why sweat equity often stinks. The person quoted the sentence in italics below and asked “what does that mean, exactly?” I’m including the whole point because the context helps:

Founders work for less than fair value and record the difference between actual pay and fair

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