Business Plan Myths

Our area is home to numerous start-up businesses. It's part of Ithaca's DNA and has been since the 1800s. Just go to The History Center to find out. Business planning and the the business plan process is taught at Cornell, IC, TC3 and even at some of our high schools. But even with all the education and work that goes on around us about business plans, myths remain. Tim Berry has done a good job exposing some of those myths with many being relevant to mature companies as well as start-ups.

The need for good business planning is as strong as ever, and the potential benefits are as important as ever. Every business owner ought to have a business plan. But the best strategies for business planning are different than they used to be.

With that in mind, I’ve identified 8 pervasive myths that stand between you, the business owner, and the planning your business ought to have.

1. A business plan has to be long
Not necessarily so. A business plan can take whatever form is most useful, even if that’s just a few lists and tables.

2. A business plan is hard to make
It doesn’t have to be. List your key strategy points and key tactics, and a few important major milestones (like deadlines, tasks, the new launch or new website, and necessary hires). Include projected sales, costs, expenses, and cash flow. Voila! You have a business plan.

[More]

Freelancing - When to Save & When to Spurge

Over 57.3 million Americans currently engage in some form of freelance work, and research shows that the majority of workers will freelance by 2027. For a new freelancer, it can be scary to navigate money and create an effective budget guide when your income isn’t always steady. Fortunately, we’ve got the guide to help you learn how to manage your money- and splurge with ease.


Track Your Money

This is the first step for all freelancers, and it may be the most important step of all. You need to know where your money is going! And, no, that doesn’t just mean checking your bank account “every so often” to make sure that you’re in the clear.To actually make an effective budget guide, you need to know how much you’re spending and how much you’re saving. Are you spending too much on groceries each month? Too much on eating takeout? Too much on little impulse buys that don’t feel like much of anything- until you add them up?

Fortunately, today it’s easier than ever to track your personal finance and create a budget guide. You don’t even need pen and paper. With free money management apps, such as Mint or Personal Capital, you can simply link your bank accounts and credit cards and view all your transactions.

These apps can provide an overview to see how much income you’re actually making (in proportion to how much you’re spending). If you’re a freelancer, you already know that your money won’t necessarily be predictable. Apps like these can help you predict the downturns and plan accordingly for them.

[More]

Business Trends for 2018 and Beyond

A number of trends are beginning to take shape for this year and into the future. Here are some of the trends that our friends at Hewlett Packard are beginning to see.

Community engagement over social media interaction

Despite the proliferation of smartphones and connected devices, companies are recognizing that social media and virtual connections cannot replace the value of live, in-person interaction with their customers, or the communities they’ve created.

Smart companies will recognize that social media and technology can enhance the value, and effectiveness, of face-to-face interactions, making them even more meaningful.

Generation Z making waves in the talent pool

Generation Z – those born after 1998 – reaching an age where they’re entering the workforce, and their influence on business is starting to be felt. Estimated at nearly 70 million strong, the upper reaches of this group are into college or joining the workforce, and will soon outnumber their Millennial predecessors.

This influx in the newest generation of adults will require companies to quickly understand – and adapt – to them, not only as consumers, but also as employees.

Livestream is becoming Mainstream

Having been steadily developed and improved over the last several years, live streaming video is now poised to become a powerful tool for businesses in the years to come. It offers a chance to create a “live” component to business, giving customers access and visibility to real people and real environments in real-time, regardless of location.

Research from Livestream shows that 80% of audiences would rather watch a live video from a brand than read a blog post, and 82% prefer live video from a brand over social media posts.

Buzzword bingo will remain a popular game

Virtual Reality (VR), Internet-of-Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Augmented Reality (AR) – the buzzword list goes on and on. But behind these buzzwords and acronyms are real, tangible technologies that have the potential to significantly impact businesses. Smart companies will begin to see through the hype, and recognize how these technologies can directly impact their businesses, such as improvements to network and device security with printers that can identify, prevent, and heal from attacks.

On-demand services meet automation

On-demand services have been a staple of the B2C market for the past several years, and they’re beginning to make their way into the B2B space. From recurring delivery of cleaning supplies to printers that automatically reorder in when they run low, on-demand services will continue their integration and adoption in the B2B space.

The war for talent

As the economy continues to grow and evolve, recruiting and retention will continue to be a critical focus area for businesses. The growth of the gig economy continues to be a force to be reckoned with. MBO Partners predicts that by 2027, 60% of the U.S. workforce will be part of the gig economy, and a ManpowerGroup survey found that 94% of respondents are open to the idea of working independently.

As these trends continue to evolve, so must the approach to recruiting, hiring, and retaining top talent.

Putting the security in data security

We’ve all seen the news and heard the reports. Large, well-known corporations have been hacked. Customer data has been compromised. And each one seems to be worse than the last. In the year – and years – to come, smart companies will focus not only on data security, but also network security, physical security, and even device security.

Communication is key

With customers. With employees. With suppliers. With everyone. The pace of business in 2018 and beyond will be faster than ever. And it will take careful, purposeful, and thoughtful communication at all levels to keep it running that way. It is said that silence speaks louder than words, but communication is key to prevent misunderstandings, or misinterpretations. And in an age where perception is reality, effective communication is critical.

Other Types of Advertising to Consider

 

 

Advertising can be a powerful way to deal with marketing challenges such as low brand awareness, a declining customer base or heavy competition. Or perhaps you simply have a desire to drive more foot traffic to your business and think advertising can help.

Most of us couldn’t afford a 30-second national TV ad during a big championship game. Luckily, there are many more affordable and cost effective techniques available if you choose wisely. Here are 7 types of advertising that needn’t cost a lot, and can fit within a small business budget:

[More]

Protecting Your Business from Negative SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a website design technique to maximize how a search engine like Google ranks and displays a website search result. This article discusses how "Negative SEO" can potentially harm your rankings and damage your business.

Negative SEO -- does it really exist?   And if it does, what is it and how can you protect your site?

Consider this post a short whirlwind tutorial for a typical small business website.

What is Negative SEO?

Negative SEO is when a third party targets a website and attempts to lower its rankings and placement in search engines.  In other words, someone with bad intent uses search engine optimization techniques to harm another site.

[More]

Previous Entries / More Entries