To avoid those pesky (and meaningless) error messages like #VALUE!, I would always use the LEN function to figure out if there was something in a cell before I applied a formula to it.
It looked like this:
=IF(LEN(A1)>0,"Something is there","Nothing is there")
One day - as is the case sometimes with Excel - this approach wouldn't work for me in a particular worksheet. No matter how I tried, cells without values were being reported as having them!
Then I stumbled on ISBLANK. A simple function that does what I always wanted - to check whether something is in a cell. In retrospect, it seems somewhat obtuse to determine if something exists by checking how long it is.
=IF(ISBLANK(A1),"Nothing is there","Something is there")
How simple is that?