Tim Berry, business plan expert

I’m Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, business plan expert, author of books and software . This is my main business page … not to be confused with www.paloalto.com, bplans.com, or liveplan.com for Palo Alto Software; or leanplan.com where I have my book on lean business planning.

Obi-Wan Kenobe of Business Plans

Pamela Slim, author of the best-selling Escape From Cubicle Nation, calls me the Obi-wan Kenobe of business planning and quotes me first as her business plan expert for that book.I’ve written about business planning for more than 10 years for Entrepreneur.com, and also for the U.S. Small Business Administration at SBA.gov.

Google “business plan expert” and look past the paid ads. As I write this, I am the first name in the organic search. And that’s not because I’m paying them. That’s because I’ve been doing business plans for 40 years and writing books, software, blog posts, websites, and articles about business planning for 30 years. My place in the Google search is the result of my body of work. I don’t pay for that.

Author of books and software on business planning

In business plan software, I’m the principal author of Business Plan Pro, and the main one of several conceptual authors of LivePlan, the web app that replaced Business Plan Pro. More than six million people have used my software to help with their business plans.

I’ve written  several books on business planning. The latest, Lean Business Planning, was first published in 2015 by Motivational Press. Before that one I wrote The Plan-as-you-go Business Plan, published by Entrepreneur Press. And before that, Hurdle: the Book on Business Planning, from the 1990s. I’m also co author of 3 Weeks to Startup, published in 2008 by Entrepreneur Press; and author of Sales and Market Forecasting for Entrepreneurs, published in 2010 by Business Expert Press.

Not just a business plan expert

I’ve seen business plans and  planning from a many different viewpoints. For more than 10 years I read and reviewed about 50 business plans per year as an investor member of the Willamette Angel Conference (WAC), a local angel investment group. I was investor chair in 2010 and investor fund manager in 2013. For a couple of decades I’ve been a frequent judge of business plan competitions, including the Rice University Million-Dollar Business Plan Competition and the University of Texas’ Venture Labs Competition, formerly Moot Corp, the Superbowl of business plan competitions.

I’ve seen startups and small business from multiple views, as founder, consultant, co-founder, and investor. I’ve had good years and bad ones. At one very low point, my wife and I had three mortgages and $65,000 of credit card debt. We survived that. But I really don’t recommend . I like to think I’ve never lost track of what’s really important. I’d have to give my wife of 53 years credit for us still being married after three companies, five kids, 5 college educations, 2 graduate degrees, 7 jobs, and I forget how many mortgages.

Lean Business Planning book

My latest book: Lean Business Planning

Decades of business plan expertise, in my latest book. Lean planning is simple, efficient business planning that starts with a core business plan and includes regular review and revisions. It’s a set of ideas that started about 70 years ago, revolving around PDCA: plan-do-check-adjust.

Business plan expert in a box: liveplan

My latest business plan software: LivePlan

Developed by a true business plan expert. Tools and guidance for business planning as management and steering your business, with plan-v-actual connected to your accounting, complete guided financial projections, and as much or as little text as you want.

Tim Berry's Blog

Thousands of posts and articles

My work as business plan expert goes back decades. I’ve been writing professionally since 1971 and blogging since 2007.