Interview Questions with Tim Berry

From time to time, I am asked to provide interview questions for radio interviews. Of course this is something I’m happy to do, but  I’m even happier to answer questions posed as they come up. I never want myself or an interviewer to be constrained in any way by some list of planned questions.Lean Business Planning

So,  to make sure we’re clear, these are just suggestions:

Lean business planning:

  1. Why lean business planning?
  2. What is a lean business plan
  3. How is it different from any other business plan?
  4. How is it better?
  5. Are business plans (or business planning) obsolete?
  6. You say all business plans are wrong, but vital. Aren’t they just wrong?
  7. What if I ask you “Why bother?” A business plan is a lot of trouble, so why should I bother to do it?
  8. Especially if I’m a smaller startup or small business or single-person or home office business … I don’t really need a business plan, because I’m not looking for investors or some bank loan. In that case, really, why bother?
  9. Okay, so business plans are a dime a dozen. I can get them free off the Internet. I can buy a finished plan for $25. Why bother to actually write one?
  10. What are the most important parts of a business plan?  If you were going to do only one thing, what would it be ?
  11. How long should a business plan be? A lean business plan?
  12. How should a business plan be produced?
  13. What are some common mistakes?
  14. How long have you been at this?
  15. What about business plan software? Tell us why your software product, LivePlan is worth the price.
  16. What about sample business plans? Can’t I just use one of those?
  17. When should I turn to a business plan writer, or a business plan consultant? And how much should that cost?
  18. Tell us about the best business plan you’ve ever seen.
  19. How about the worst?
  20. What do you have as a final thought?

On Starting a Business:

  1. What do you need to start a business?
  2. Is this a good time to start a business?
  3. What are some good businesses to start?
  4. What businesses have you started, and how did they work out?
  5. Have you started anything that failed?
  6. What’s the single most important factor in startup success?
  7. How do I figure out how much it’s going to cost?
  8. How do I deal with the risks in starting a business?
  9. Is there a formula for how much money I should have in the bank?
  10. How do I decide whether to hire or use consultants?
  11. Seriously, especially if I’m not looking for investment or loans, why should I do a business plan?

On Home Office Businesses

  1. Does a home office business need a business plan?
  2. Why would a home office business need or want a business plan?
  3. Seriously, even if it’s not a matter of getting investment or applying for a loan, would you still want a business plan for a home office business?
  4. What would be the main benefits?
  5. Say it’s not a matter of investment or loans … describe that plan, please. What does it cover? What does it look like?
  6. What would a home office business lose by not having a business plan? Or, conversely, what are the benefits of the business plan?
  7. What’s most important? If you could  recommend only one planning-related thing to a home office business person, what would it be?
  8. Is it true you started Palo Alto Software in a bedroom of your house?
  9. How long were you in the home office?
  10. Why did you move out?
  11. What  are the reasons for running a business from  home? What are the reasons not to?
  12. What are some  mistakes to avoid?
  13. How can you minimize the downsides of the home office?
  14. What do you recommend when people ask — start in the home office, or move out and rent offices? Why?