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.

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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.

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Initial Steps to Effective Social Media Marketing

Social Media platforms are all over the headlines these past weeks and not in good ways. However, social media can be very effective in getting your message to your clients. (Your'e reading this - right?!) Here are some steps to consider if you're going to add social media platforms to your marketing mix.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more — social media can be pretty overwhelming at times. But hold on!

Success in social media may not be nearly as complicated as you think. In fact, here’s a simple formula any small business owner or entrepreneur can follow to become a social media superstar. These  steps will get you started: 

Define your marketing goals

Start with a plan. Define a small set of marketing goals. (But not too many!) For example, perhaps you want to:

  • Develop better brand loyalty in customers who already like your products or services
  • Create a mailing list to allow you share new products or other news
  • Drive traffic to your website to share more information about your brand or generate more sales
  • Establish thought leadership to distinguish your brand in your industry or market
  • Expand brand recognition in general

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When's the Right Time to Embrace Innovation

We get asked about new technology products and innovations all the time. We also get asked whether and when clients should "make" the move. Sometimes the answers are easy. With others, how and when are not obvious. This article discusses an innovation that may be a while before it's in general use.

When is the right time to embrace innovations in technology? Today, tomorrow, or 2057? There really isn’t a specific time or universal formula that will reveal the answer to you, but with so much innovation happening on a regular basis, it’d be ideal to know exactly when and how to incorporate new technology at your business for maximum effect.

Don’t fret—we’re not here to crush the dreams of early adopters everywhere. Instead, take a look at what you can control to better time your adventures with “the next big thing.”

Do virtual currencies hold the answer?

Imagine a technology so disruptive it has the potential to change how you live—or at least how you spend. This exercise shouldn’t take much creative energy: We’re talking about cryptocurrency, of course. If you don’t have the slightest interest in cryptocurrency, don’t check out just yet—it can offer a surprisingly apt lesson in how to welcome innovations in technology, no matter the industry or vertical.

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Online Tax Filing Tips

It's that time of year again - tax filing season. More people are filing their taxes online than ever before.Unfortunately the "bad guys" know that and can create enormous havoc should they get hold of your information.Here are some basic precautions to take to keep you tax information secure.

Online fraud is a fast growing crime. The ability for cybercriminals to be anonymous and conduct their crimes from anywhere in the world makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for law enforcement to curb it.

As online fraud continues to grow, a number of American citizens might face this scenario: It’s tax season, and you are getting your paperwork together in order to file your taxes. During the process of filing your taxes you may realize that it appears as if you have already filed your returns for the year. It’s possible that someone has used your Social Security number (SSN) to file taxes. As for the refund you were hoping to get, it could be in the hands of thieves and fraudsters.

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