Jumpstarting a Business After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy filings increased by three percent in 2018, as per the latest statistics from the United States Bankruptcy Courts. However, this predicament does not prevent individuals from wanting to retrace their steps and make things right by venturing into business. Starting a new company after bankruptcy presents its own set of unique challenges. Therefore, the owner must set clear goals for their business while addressing the complexities that come with being bankrupt. Goal setting involves analyzing the situation one is in and working towards a set target and also asking for guidance from important avenues to avoid being financially distressed again. 

Seek Legal Advice

Entrepreneurs who have previously filed for bankruptcy need to understand the connection between bankruptcy and their startup. Therefore, seeking legal advice enables them to navigate the complexities of business and bankruptcy law. Legal advisors also assist entrepreneurs to best prepare for future conflicts that may arise post-bankruptcy. Matters of taxes, legal requirements and how to separate the business from the individual should be clarified at this stage. It is essential in situations where individuals filed for insolvency as sole proprietors. Therefore, the legal team could advise that the business be registered as a limited liability company to protect the owner’s assets in case of financial distress. 

Finance the Startup Without Credit

Every business requires a substantial amount of cash injection before it commences operation. Business loans come in handy for entrepreneurs to successfully operate. However, obtaining bank loans may deem futile post-bankruptcy. Besides, getting credit after bankruptcy may be expensive as financiers may charge higher interests rates on loans. Entrepreneurs should, therefore, strive to finance their venture without obtaining loans from financial institutions. Considering businesses that require little capital to start is a good option. Also, seeking financial assistance from family and friends may guarantee you an interest-free debt. Consequently, once the business is up and running, proprietors should ensure all obligations are met on the dates they are due and not on accrual basis.

Market your business

The success of any business is dependent on its customers and the effort put in place by the owner to reach them. Business owners must strive to ensure they bring on board as many clients as they can. While huge marketing techniques may be expensive for the startup at first, using friends, referrals and social media platforms are inexpensive but forthcoming forms of marketing. Consequently, the use of fliers, free samples and promotions can grow the customer base of a business. Also, having a motivated team who work in line with the business objectives will ensure quality service to clients. This, in turn, guarantees return and new customers for the business. 

Although being declared bankrupt may seem like the end of the world at first, it is not. With informed assistance, a person can go back to normalcy. Learning from previous mistakes by taking advantage of credit counseling you must attend to receive your discharge can help you prevent future financial issues. Knowing that building your credit score requires the use of any credit, acquired judiciously is a good start towards being smart when it comes to money matters.

Guest Author, Jenny Holt, is a former HR executive turned freelance writer, who now spends more time with her young family and ageing, but ever eager Labrador, Rover.

Marketing for Indie Game Designers: How to Ensure Your Work Gets the Attention It Deserves

Even the most entertaining and challenging game is a bust if nobody plays it. The internet gives customers access to thousands of video games spanning dozens of genres and age ranges. To get noticed, indie developers have to ferociously market their game through conventional and creative tactics. While there is no perfect solution for marketing success, there are a few basic tips that every game designer should use.

Build Your Game’s Reputation Before Launch

Anticipation can be an amazing marketing force, especially if the game delivers as promised. Designers should start building awareness of their game months before their planned launch date. In some cases, getting a small group of dedicated players to serve as alpha and beta testers is a great way to accelerate mechanics development and bug fixing.

Connect with Media Influencers

The video gaming industry has grown to enormous proportions in recent decades, so it’s no surprise that there are many media outlets that cater specifically to this user base. Game developers should keep in touch with the community by reading blogs, forums and industry news so they can identify potential marketing outlets. Connecting with even a few high-profile bloggers can provide a huge public relations boost.

Consider Third-Party Distribution

Third-party distribution is not an easy decision for any developers, whether they are indie or established. There are a lot of options for distribution platforms, so designers have to do their research to figure out the best one for their game. Some gaming portals are designed specifically for indie or casual games, so it can be a great way to connect directly with the target consumer base.

Create an Engaging Website

Every game designer who is serious about marketing their game needs a website where people can learn more about the game and the development team. These sites don’t need to be incredibly complex or detailed, but they should be entertaining, engaging, and represent the spirit of the game. Game site builder tools can simplify the process of creating and maintaining the site while leaving plenty of creative options for users. 

It’s tempting to brush off marketing as a secondary priority or something that will resolve itself, but this can be a disastrous attitude for indie developers. Engaging in public relations outreach may be uncomfortable, unfamiliar and confusing, but taking the time to communicate and connect with users is a necessary step in getting the attention the game deserves.

Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball.  @LizzieWeakley

Entrepreneurs, This is How You Can Build a Successful Affiliate Business in 2019

In this day and age, boosting your personal finances has become quite simple. With so many online business opportunities and side-hustle options, earning some extra income is almost as easy as 1, 2, 3.

However, while there certainly are a lot of options to choose from, the wisest course of action would be to try and identify the most profitable ones before you actually decide to commit to them. Now, running an affiliate business has proven to be very lucrative in the year that’s behind us and it only continues to grow. But, before you decide on this endeavor, make sure that you understand completely what it entails.

What is an affiliate business?

Affiliate businesses are business agreements made between two parties who provide each other with a certain service in exchange for something in return. To make it a bit less vague, you can become an affiliate by deciding to promote someone else’s products or services to your target audience for a certain commission. 

But, how can you start an affiliate business and make it profitable?

Build a website

First and foremost, in order to begin with affiliate marketing, you will need a platform to do it on, as well as the audience to present the product or service to. So, begin by making your website. You can either choose to add a blog section to your existing website or create a blog right off the bat. Once you are happy with the way your website works, you’ll need to find your niche.

Determine your niche

The niche you chose to base your business efforts in will determine the type of content you later on present to your audience and, of course, your audience itself. In order to make things easier on yourself, focus your efforts on the niche that corresponds to your personal likings and interests. This way, you will be better motivated as you’ll be dealing with things you actually enjoy.

Draw your audience

In order to attract your audience and make sure they actually stay for the show, you need to provide them with something of value – your content. The content you promote on your website needs to be unique, original and, most importantly, useful to your audience. So, offer them informative, educational and entertaining content that’s above all relevant to them.

Become an affiliate

Once you become relevant in your niche, it’s time to start looking for favorable affiliate business opportunities. When looking for opportunities, focus your efforts mostly on high-competitive niches in order to boost your income fast. Top niches in this field include beauty, health and fitness programs, as well as the world of entertainment which includes ever-so-popular online gambling and video games.

Monitor your success

By keeping a close eye on all of your affiliate links, you’ll be able to determine the most profitable ones. So, use tools, such as Google Analytics, to your advantage and monitor your affiliate success. Tools like this one will allow you to identify the most profitable links – and, of course, the least profitable ones – which will help you determine what you should focus your efforts on.

Know the risks

As with any business, affiliate business also carries certain risks. In order to avoid putting your business in danger, you should:

Assess the businesses you’re working with and see how well they are doing. If the company you’re doing business with is not showing any progress, and especially if it’s showing a significant decrease, it would probably be best to cut ties with them to avoid not getting paid for the services you’ve provided.

Next, you need to make sure that the product or service you promote to your audience or sell on your website truly is as good as you are claiming. Otherwise, if it turns out to be subpar, you may lose all of your credibility which can seriously damage your business. So, make sure you do your research and try everything out before you actually start putting your seal of approval on things.

Know how to SEO right

In order to grow your affiliate website, you’ll have to dive a bit in the world of SEO and link-building. Now, while many affiliate marketers tend to focus their efforts solely on keywords with high buyer intent, they tend to forget the importance of keyword diversity. So, don’t make the same mistake, but make sure that you conduct a thorough keyword analysis. This way, you’ll avoid getting penalized for relying heavily on just one or two keywords. Finally, minimize the use of paid links and links that come from private blog networks as they are worth far less, and relying heavily on them may negatively affect your website in the long run.

With these basic tips on how to build a successful affiliate business, you should have no difficulties finding the right business opportunities which will allow you to launch your venture and enjoy the profit and success it is bound to bring.

Emma is a business strategist-turned blogger. She lives in Auckland, New Zealand. Emma is a  passionate traveler and yoga aficionado. She is in love with coffee, interior design, books, and good vibes. 🙂 

Say What? 4 Dos and Don’ts of Business Communication Systems

If you want to run a successful business, you need the best techniques and tools to get the job done. This can empower your team to serve your customers, fulfill orders, and stay productive while on the job. However, when it comes to your business communications, a lot of businesses make mistakes. In general, stick to these do’s and don’ts. 

Do Go with a Brand You Trust 

There are a lot of communications companies out there. However, not all of them are created equal. You need to go with a name that you trust. That does not just mean going with the biggest company in the space. 

In fact, it often means going with a company that you might have just heard about. Then, doing your research on them will pay off. Research before investing is everything! You might find that they support your values more than others do in the marketplace. Check out reviews, history, and reputation of their products as well as their customer service.

Don’t Get the Wrong Kind of System

You need to ensure that you have the right kind of communication systems for your business. A golf course, for instance, would want handheld radios, like Motorola walkie talkies, while an office might rely on a office-wide messaging system

The key is to ask yourself how your team is talking to each other right now. Then find ways to improve on that communication. Great technology is something that should do its job and stay out of the way so your team can do theirs even better. 

Do Find the Right Value 

There are going to be different prices and overall values to each communication solution. The key is to understand that each will bring something different to the table. Be sure to look at the overall value, and not just the price, for what you are getting. If your company won’t use a big portion of what a particular package is offering, you might want to go in a different direction.

Don’t Go without Research 

The worst mistake you could make in business is jumping into a decision before you truly know what you are getting in return. Luckily, you can avoid this. If you stick to your plan and look at your options with a critical eye, you can come out ahead. That way, you get a system that you truly want and need. Take your time and learn everything you can about any viable option for your business. Based on your research, you can make an informed decision that will help your employees with their work.

Having a great business does not stop with your sales and marketing. In reality, it comes down to how well your team can work together. Of course, one of the most important factors in how they work together boils down to their communication systems. So don’t make the mistakes that others make. Use the do’s and don’ts above as your checklist.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Keeping It Cohesive: 3 Customer Experience Tips for Every Season

Just like a personal relationship, customer relations need variety to thrive. You might have wracked your brain in the past for exciting ways to shake things up, only to fall flat and realize that most of the large-scale options tend to come off as gimmicky. Sometimes, you don’t have to think outside the box or break the mold to make a mark. There are many small ways you can tailor your business throughout the year to provide a dynamic and engaging experience to your customers. 

A brand is only as good as the people who support it. Customer service needs to be top-notch if it’s going to stand out in today’s oversaturated market. While most business owners are focused on the four quarters of the year, try shifting your attention to the four seasons for opportunities to enhance your customer experience. 

Seasonal Exclusives

Consider offering limited-edition stock for various seasons. Have summer door-buster sales or major holiday discounts. Offer exclusive complementary items that tie into the season or major holidays. The weather and seasons play a huge role in our everyday lives, so you don’t want to miss out on the chance to connect with your customers through something so human and relatable. 

Dress Up for the Holidays

Simple logos are good for many reasons, one of the primary beings that they’re easy to change without losing their identity. Switch up your graphics and logo colors to make the seasonal holidays. You can even put your own twist on them to stand out and grab attention. Seasonal designs and custom displays are a fantastic opportunity to humanize your brand and help contribute to the spirit of the holiday, whatever the time of year. 

Fine-tune Your Content to Seasonal Needs

A content strategy should be fluid and reflect customer needs and current experiences. You don’t always have to create something entirely new in order to thrive. In fact, your target audience is already looking for what you have to offer anyway, so why not diversify your blog posts a little and branch out? Find ways to demonstrate your business’s value through content that taps into your customer’s current wants or needs based on the season.

Business analytics and metrics go a long way, but it’s important to remember the numbers on your data sheets are driven by real people. Behind every click, every impression and every engagement is a live human being who could possibly benefit from your services. 

Stay in touch with your customers through social media. Interact as much as possible so you’re always in-the-know and equipped to make changes before they’re requested.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Getting Your Name Out There: 3 Tips for Business Promotion

One study showed that one-third of businesses lacked significant marketing resources. While some business owners may let that stop them, we already know that you’re a true entrepreneur. But the question still stands: how can I market my business when I don’t have a lot of money for advertising? 

The answer? There’s a lot you can do with limited marketing resources, especially if you decide to get creative and resourceful. Here you’ll learn three ways that you can promote your business. You will get a much better idea of what you can do to put your name out there to your ideal customers. 

Go Social 

A set of researchers from the Pew Research Center found that over 75 percent of adults now use some sort of social media network. This number multiplied by ten from 2005, the last time the study was done. 

Don’t just jump on several social media channels and then quit all of them a week later. All the social media channels have their own etiquette and rules of engagement, so pick one or two and really try to make them work. But if you put in the effort, you could find that you’ll get fans of your business to engage with you.

Create Viral Content 

Your ideal customers want valuable content that they will want to share with their loved ones. Search engines such as Google want you to do the exact same thing. You can do such activities as creating infographics, making videos, blogging, hosting a podcast, and writing guest posts for authoritative websites. You won’t just become an expert in your niche, but you’ll also get web traffic. Other ways you can establish your expert status is appearing on podcasts in your niche and becoming a guest blogger on blogs in your space. 

Don’t want to sit at your laptop for hours crafting the perfect guest post for your favorite blog? You can hire freelancers and agencies to help you create high quality content. Find companies that specialize in strategic communications and promoting businesses in your industry for the best results. 

Guerilla Marketing Works 

Guerilla marketing can work if you work it. Many small businesses use this type of advertising to compete with their larger competitors. You can plenty of tactics to advertise your business. Hire an artist to draw a mural on the sidewalk in front of your coffee shop. Get a flash mob to bring people into your clothing boutique. You’re only limited by your creativity. 

Don’t let a lack of funds keep you from fighting the good fight. If you’re going to be in business, you have to weather a lot of bumps in the road. Getting your name out there in any way you can could give you great results if you stay the course.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.