Developing & Using Good Executive Summaries

Most business owners have a general idea of the executive summary that comes with the traditional business plan. However, in the real world, summaries come up much more often than just in the business plan. How to create the summary, and how to use it, depends on the business objective.

The summary you say every day

I’ve always liked “Say your business plan every day,” which I heard first from Jim Blasingame, small business advocate. Business is normally chaotic, so a quick reminder is a good idea.

[More]

Why Bother with Upgrades & Updates


"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" That saying applies in many places, but NOT to computer hardware and software. It’s clear that many of today’s cyber attacks prey on vulnerabilities present in old software and hardware. This is especially true for operating systems such as Microsoft Windows.

It may not be “broke”, but it’s still old and very likely out-of-date. “Working” does not mean “secure”. Old software and hardware simply do not have the latest defenses like security patches and advances in firmware to keep you safe from new and ever-evolving threats. And depending on how old, some products are no longer supported or able to be upgraded at all.

[More]

Marketing Mistakes that Can Lead to Trouble.

Advertising and marketing is regulated by federal law, and if you’re not on top of the regulations that apply to you, your ads could end up costing you more in fines than they bring in business. The Federal Trade Commission regulates and enforces advertising laws. Here are some key advertising and marketing mistakes small business owners should avoid.  

Mistake #1: Sending SPAM email. No one likes to receive spam, but you’ll be really unhappy if you are accused of sending it. If enough of your business emails get marked as spam, the recipients’ ISPs could block your emails, or your email service provider could shut off your campaign. But that’s the least of your worries, because breaking CAN-SPAM laws could cost you as much as $16,000 for each spam email.

[More]

Local Flooding Affecting Computer Technology

During July, the Ithaca area has experienced record rainfall.  While great for most of the crops and our lawns, there have been a number of flash floods affecting several business and organizations.  Fortunately, this doesn't happen often in our area. However, a flood, even when small, can damage or destroy computer and other electronic technology.  A number of local clients had siginificant damage to some or all of their computer technology.

Some reminders:

  1. When installing new or updating computer technology, network servers, or any electrical or electronic equipment, avoid basements and other near to the ground locations.  Seems obvious, but in most businesses, putting the network server in the basement seems like "just the right place" and "out of the way".  It is, until the day water finds its way to the same place.  If you must put a server or computer in a basement, keep it well off the floor and be very vigilant should there be the possiblity of a flash flood.

    [More]

Engage your Clients with Great Content

Used with permission from Microsoft US Small and Midsize Business Blog

A few years ago, a startup called Groove that makes helpdesk software found itself just months from running out of money. The founders did something unusual for businesspeople in that situation: They devoted themselves to rethinking their content marketing strategy. Then they took the radical step of telling the story of their company on their blog with complete transparency, including revealing their actual numbers. The result of this daring move? They now have more than 6,000 customers and annual recurring revenue of $10 million.

Interested? That’s because you’ve been hooked by a story:

  • Use the power of storytelling. Narrative is fundamental to the way the human mind works. It’s how we construct meaning and make sense of the world—just think of the power of myths in shaping societies and belief systems. We tell ourselves stories about our own lives to discover who we are. Tests of blogs with identical content—where one is straight bullet points and the other first sets up the real meat of the matter with a story—show that people spend more time on the narrative version and engage more strongly with it. So tell your customers a story.

    [More]

More Entries