Category Archives: Self Promotion

Two Entrepreneurial Relationships: Uncertainty, and Real People

Hardly surprising that I recommend Befriending Uncertainty on Stephen Lahey’s Small Business Talent podcast, released yesterday: he interviewed me. 

Tim Berry Stephen Lahey Small Business Talent

There’s a lot about relationships in that interview. Important entrepreneurial relationships: 

  1. Your spouse, partner (life partner, not just business partner — and maybe both), and family. I think it’s important to manage your priorities so you can build a business, do that work, and not forget that your people are more important. In my case, my wife gets the credit for that, not me. 
  2. The uncertainty thing is very real. Watching people struggle for more analysis and more data and better projections of the future sometimes drives me crazy. So often the fact is: you don’t get to know. You have to guess. 

I hate the cliches of small business success: overemphasis on the idea, passion, persistence, instead of giving value and giving people what they want. I like a chance to say something different. 

Free the Numbers for Simple Lists and Tables

This is me giving back, making it up to all the spreadsheet haters. It’s a non spreadsheet: lists, tables, yes; but no formulas, functions, or programming. It just adds the rows and columns automatically. I call it Free the Numbers

I’ve been a spreadsheet guy since 1979. I wrote three books on how to use spreadsheets back in the 1980s. I published spreadsheet macros. But I always thought that bulk of spreadsheet use could be simpler, like this new non-spreadsheet. No formulas. Just add to rows and columns. Automatically. 

Project costs, estimates, worksheets, proposals, plans … the world is full of lists and tables. And, while I love spreadsheets, I get it: most people don’t. So that’s what this is about. 

It’s free. It’s easy. Please try it. And if you don’t see the video here, click here for the source on YouTube. Or just go to FreeTheNumbers.com.

What About Startups, Investment, and Planning?

Honestly, this was fun; it was a stream of interesting questions that I enjoyed answering. This one-hour video is courtesy of  Dun and Bradstreet Credibility Corp, as part of its credibilitylive.com series.

If  you don’t see this video here, you can click this link to get the original on the credibilitylive.com site.

The moderator there is Karen E. Klein, columnist with Business Week and the Los Angeles Times. She’s a pro, she helped me a lot with great questions and she managed the stream of online questions too, so it was an easy session for me to do.

I’m Loving the New Version of Business Plan Pro

If you’re a regular reader you know I don’t normally do sales pitches here on this blog, but this is special. Last week Palo Alto Software introduced a brand new version of Business Plan Pro incorporating (finally) my Plan-as-You-Go Business Planning ideas into the mainstream of the software.

With this new version, when you start a new plan, Plan as You Go is the first choice for setting up a simple, practical, management-oriented business plan. Not the whole big formal document plan, but just what you need to run a business with. That’s the key screen above (with my annotations in red):

Now the new built-in option is exactly what I suggested in the book: a streamlined, practical outline, shown here on the right. Of course you can add more later and eventually make a larger business plan, but you do that as the business plan events happen, not before. So you add the embellishment, like description of management team, or exit strategy, only when you need it. Which is great, because a lot of people really don’t need it.

I wrote the book in 2008, but because we’ve been busy with liveplan, the new online web business planning, our mainstream software had to wait. So now I’m celebrating that it’s finally here.

We’ve also added a lot of video at many different points, so that – if you’re online – you get me talking about what you’re looking at, in very short snippets. That’s hard for me to watch, frankly, because I’m as self-conscious as anybody else … but as an author, I love the opportunity to talk to you while you’re working with what I wrote.

This is the 12th version of Business Plan Pro since the first one was published late in 1994, and actually hit the shelves in 1995. We’ve come a long way since the first one – it’s still my business planning advice, but I wrote a third of the code in the original, and now there’s a team of a dozen programmers – which makes it way better.

And, by the way, if you prefer an online version, or you’re a Mac user, there’s also a lot of my methodology and my instructions in the new online planning web app at www.liveplan.com.

For more information click here for the website or call them toll-free at 1 (800) 229-7526.

Helping You Teach Entrepreneurship

That was embarrassing … I was showing some people how easy it would be to modify the order of our online course curriculum, doing some quick links in WordPress, and I accidentally posted it. Sorry.

I could have just deleted that post, but it’s instantly in the RSS feed for this blog, which compounds the error if I delete it.

So, instead of deleting, I’m explaining, and adding information: I was demonstrating how easy it would be to use a WordPress site to start with our online curriculum at course.bplans.com (Start, Run, and Grow Your Business) and modify the session order to apply it to different formats like two days, two weeks, 24 sessions, etc.

That’s for and my training session for the Association of Small Business Development Centers, Sept. 6, in San Diego, the day before the annual ASBDC (Association of Small Business Development Centers) conference.

And here’s my workshop plan for that day:

Webinar March 31: Dumb Ways Entrepreneurs Fail with Technology

I’ve been a regular reader and fan of Ramon Ray’s Small Business Technology blog for several years now. I’ve watched how it’s grown in readership, coverage, and prestige. And I’m very happy to join up with Ramon next Thursday March 31 to present the free webinar shown here, Dumb Ways Smart Entrepreneurs Fail in Using Technology.  Please click the picture to go to the site and register. I’d like you to join us.

Online Video on Lies About Business Planning

(Note: the webinar this post was originally announcing already happened. It was on Nov. 17, 2010. As of today we’re waiting for the video to go online. It will include the slides, the narration, the questions, and the answers as they happened that day. I assume the way to access this from now on will be with this link. I apologize if yesterday’s recording isn’t available there yet.)

Business plans are a waste of time? That’s a dangerous lie. Don’t bother, because nobody’s going to read it anyhow? That’s another lie, because it’s about running your company, not whether somebody else reads your document.

OK, I admit: I’m keying on lies in the title because people like the negative. But the recorded webinar is about what to do with business planning, for your company, to optimize management and control your destiny, whether you need financing or not.

This is Global Entrepreneurship Week, and for the third year in a row I offered a webinar, which is now an online video, on business planning. The theme this year is the top 10 lies about business planning.

I’ll be using the lies theme to make some points about what to do and what not to do to adapt better planning to make your business run better. To move it towards what you call success.

Would you take a trip without planning it? Would the plan be a big honking document? Would it matter to you whether anybody else read it? Would having a plan mean you couldn’t change it when a flight got cancelled?

Please join me tomorrow. Here’s the link you need to access the videos of the entire series: click here to view.

Does the term “free webinar” worry you? I promise: no selling. It’s about business planning. No product will be mentioned. Yes, it’s sponsored by bplans.com (an entirely free site, which you are on as you read this) and Palo Alto Software, publisher of Business Plan Pro. But that’s all the sales pitch you’re going to get.

Thanks to Jonathan for the Profile

Jonathan Fields, author of Career Renegade, drew out the best of me for his podcast with me that he posted yesterday. He has a real knack for getting into the bigger issues, like both sides of entrepreneurship, and how important the rest of your life is, as compared to your business.

Yes, we do talk about business planning and classics of entrepreneurship in this interview, but he also got me talking about how much of my career hinged on mistakes, luck, and my wife saying things like how we’d take the risk together.

My advice: if you get a chance to do a podcast with Jonathan, say yes.

Business Boost: Business Planning for Oregon

I hope it doesn’t seem like total self promotion — I’ve tried to avoid that as much as possible on this blog — but hey, tomorrow Palo Alto Software is going to give away thousands of copies of Business Plan Pro (and not a light version, the upscale, premier version) for free to Oregonians who want it. I would like to think that’s newsworthy, even if it’s my company.

The video here is my talking for slightly less than three minutes, my summary of what happens tomorrow. And if you can’t see it for any reason, then please click here to go to the Youtube source.

And for more information, here’s the link to the page at Palo Alto Software that explains what we’re doing, and provides a map of the 85 locations (mostly town halls and chambers of commerce, no commercial locations (it really is a free giveaway)) where people can go tomorrow to get the software.

It’s just for the one day, tomorrow, July 1. For any Oregonian 18 years or older who goes to one of those locations to collect a download card.