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Hurdle: The Book on Business Planning Paperback – July, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

You're not going to find a simpler, better, or easier to follow book... -- Jim Blasingame, The Small Business Advocate, 10/7/98

From the Publisher

This book is written by the author of award-winning Business
Plan Pro and Business Plan Toolkit software. Buy the book and get your money
Back with a $20 discount on the software. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Palo Alto Software; 5 edition (July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0971218501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0971218505
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 7.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,460,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Just Google "business plan expert" and you'll see that Tim Berry is the world's leading expert on business planning. Well-known author Pamela Slim calls him the Obi-wan Kenobi of business planning. Small business radio host Jim Blasingame calls him "the world guru on business planning." He's the expert other experts turn to. He's been interviewed on business planning by CNN, Forbes, USA Today, Guy Kawasaki, and others.

But he's not just a business plan expert; he's also a successful entrepreneur. He built Palo Alto Software from zero to 40 employees, multimillion-dollar sales, no debt, and 70% market share without outside investment. He was also founder of bplans.com, and co-founder of Borland International, which went from zero to more than $50 million annual sales in less than four years. He's involved in several current startups, has raised venture capital, and is an active investor member of the Willamette Angel Conference.

He pioneered business plan software, designing and developing Business Plan Pro, which was the first successful business plan application and the inspiration for LivePlan, the web app. He's also the author of The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan, published in 2008 by Entrepreneur Press, co author of 3 Weeks to Startup, published by Entrepreneur Press; and Sales and Market Forecasting for Entrepreneurs, published in 2010 by Business Expert Press.

He has a Stanford MBA degree and degrees with honors from the University of Oregon and the University of Notre Dame. He taught "Starting a Business" at the University of Oregon for 11 years.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is the most pragmatic, easy to understand, and easy to follow book for creating a business plan I have found yet. "Hurdle" is designed for those that want to benefit from what a business plan can offer their business. The chapter "About Business Numbers" is the best I have read to understand the numbers behind a business and how they relate to the business plan. A quick read, a great resource, and a sound business investment. After reading "Hurdle", I wouldn't plan without it.
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This was a very easy and clear read. The best book on business planning that I have ever read. It's refreshing to know that you don't need a MBA to read and write a clear business plan. Great examples and figures throughout.
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I needed to write a business plan for a service organization. Since it was back in 1988 when I wrote my last one, I bought six books on the subject. One was absolutely useless, two were written by people who had obviously never operated a company, which suggests to be careful when buying books on the subject. One was ok, one reasonably good, and Berry's was the best of all of them, though not perfect. At least it caused me to think like an investor who reads the plan before giving his money to people who he doesn't know from Adam.
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Format: Paperback
"The value of a (business) plan is the decisions it influences..."
Stanford Professor Emeritus, James March
Quoted by Tim Berry in Hurdle

"He is obviously a genius. He agrees with me."
Steven J Roy, after a wine tasting...

Hurdle emphasizes creating and implementing a working business plan-something quite different from the sterile, academically-correct document many business plan guides espouse.

Hurdle provides excellent introductory coverage of

* Cash flow planning and its relation to profit planning;
* Goal setting, milestones and accountability; and includes
* A section on capital sources that is as realistic as it is informative. (What are a startup's chances of getting venture funding? Slim to none.)

Hurdle also includes the only presentation of variance analysis I`ve seen in a business plan book.

It has always baffled me why business plan authors/instructors think it is absolutely necessary to know, to at least four significant decimal places, that your company controls a miniscule share of a very large market. Apparently, Berry (A co-founder of Borland International) has felt the same befuddlement.

Hurdle spends few words on how to correctly quantify, e.g. your market share. It says a great deal about how to present what is useful (or practical) to your plan's intended audience. If you follow Berry's guidelines, you won't produce a "plan" that gets shoved into a drawer and remains there,testimony to your prowess with internet searches, word processing, and spreadsheet software and a memorial to your ability to follow meaningless instructions. Instead, you will learn about your business and convey that knowledge to your audience.
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Format: Paperback
This book was pretty good. It is currently in its 5th edition, and acts as a marketing tool for the author's software called Business Plans Pro. In fact, this book comes free with the software if you purchase it. Personally, I am not a fan of business plan software because I think it allows the user to think of a business plan as artwork rather than a research paper assignment. But that's just me.

As business plan books go, this is a good one. It is well outlined, well written, and informative. It includes the following six parts:

1. Fundamentals
2. Tell Your Story
3. Gathering Information
4. Forecasting
5. Financial Analysis
6. Strategy and Tactics

It also includes two sample business plans, a workbook for helping to prepare a business plan, and a glossary of business plan terms. I especially liked the price since I found it as a free download off the Internet last week. 3.2 MB in size, but the price was right.

Anyway, I had a few problems with the book. Business plans are supposed to be handbooks that tell entrepreneurs how to turn their business models on paper into business models functioning in the real world. And a business model is a profit model that is a system that allows the business owner to extract cash from her customers while creating a profit that she can live on. Anybody in business knows that if they don't have customers, then they don't have a business. And anybody who stays in business knows that they have to have a sound marketing plan that finds prospects for their business that can be converted into customers. This book is lacking because it does not cover how to research a marketing plan or to write one. For me, this was a BIG problem.
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Hurdle is a fairly comprehensive book on business planning. So far it is the best I have found.

Reading the Hurdle book can help you to make sense of all the details of a business plan. It helps you to think about the different areas of writing a business plan.

If you can read Hurdle in the version with the color charts, like is on the Business Plan Pro CD, it is easier to make sense of the charts. Several of the versions recreate the charts in black and white which makes it difficult to read them.

Before you begin to write a business plan you should read five books. The first one would be Frank Bettger's How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success (Infinite Success Series). This book is a must read for everyone no matter what business they are in. The second book should be From Idea to Success: The Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network Guide for Start-Ups. The third book should be The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting AnythingThe fourth book should be this one. Finally the fifth book should be The Plan-As-You-Go Business Plan. Fortunately three of these books are bundled with Business Plan Pro 15th Anniversary Edition.
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