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.

It’s All about Who You Know: 3 Networking Tips for Small Business Owners

As a small business owner, knowing how to effectively network with prospective clients, investors, and partners is essential, regardless of the market and industry you represent. Knowing how to network with professionals within your industry is imperative to connect with those who have the power to help and support the growth and expansion of your business as you begin to generate sales and leads among your target consumers. Here are some tips to help small businesses with networking.

Create Branded Business Cards

Branding is one of the most important elements to keep in mind when building a business of your own from the ground up. Develop branded business cards and marketing material to travel with anytime you are actively representing your company or planning to attend a networking or business event.

Always carry your branded business cards and marketing material to ensure you are fully prepared for new encounters and potential connections you make with other professionals in your industry—they can happen anywhere. Be sure your cards and materials represent your business well and include all of your website, contact, and social media information.

Attend Local Business Networking Events and Gatherings

Research and attend local business networking events and gatherings to boost your brand’s awareness while making your presence as a new entrepreneur known. Attending relevant business networking events and gatherings provides ample opportunity to get to know other entrepreneurs and business owners in your local area.

Attend networking events as a traditional attendee or consider the opportunity to rent your very own booth or trade show space to showcase your products, services, and the purpose of your business and brand. Downtime will give you just enough time to check out and chat up other professionals at the show. These strategies can help you gain insight into good universal business practices, commercial vendors, equipment suppliers, and more. Talking about business with fellow professionals is a unique experience that should not be neglected.

Build Your Online Presence

With the advent of the internet, social media, and smartphone technology, networking online with the use of social media has become more prevalent than ever. Building your online presence is extremely important, whether you are selling generic unisex t-shirts or if you are currently selling niche handmade one-of-a-kind home decor items.

Use social media to streamline your brand’s online presence using platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Create pages for your brand using the same username, logo, and color scheme to prevent confusion among users and new prospective followers. Connect with followers and create a sense of community among those who have a genuine interest in supporting your business and the products or services you provide.

Understanding the significance of networking among professionals and peers in your market is a must whether you are launching a startup for the first time or in the midst of expanding an existing business and brand. With the right networking abilities, set and achieve goals to expand your business in no time.

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.

Simple Tricks to Boost Business Productivity

As a small business owner, you know very well how hard it can be when you go through a slower period. If this is one of your first dips, it may even be difficult to determine whether or not this is a permanent thing or just another bump in the road – and you’d probably be looking for all the help you can get.

Luckily, there are tried-and-tested ways to boost your business performance even when your startup is going through a bit of a slump. Here is a handful of ways to make it happen so that you can get back on track and grow even bigger and stronger.

First: Reward productivity

Let’s start with the easiest one first. As you know, a company is nothing without its employees; and, as their manager, it’s important that you know how to reward hard work. There are a lot of ways to do this, though, and one of the best ways is to reward the entire team together in order to strengthen their bond and make sure that each employee is noticed.

Treat them to a dinner or lunch as a team after you’ve delivered a big project, for example, or take them out for a team-building experience. While you may not notice the benefits of this straight away, it will definitely have a lot to say for how the team works together in the future.

Another point to this that goes beyond rewards is to ensure that your business has access to the kind of tools that will make it more productive. Consider talking to a CRM consultant, first of all, and you’ll be a bit closer to running the kind of business you’ve had in mind.

Next: Give your team a pep talk

The problem with a business slump isn’t just that the sales are declining and that the office is slow and boring; your employees may be starting to feel a bit dull as well. You definitely need them to have your back, though, and especially now when you’re about to make things kick off again.

Give them a proper pep talk and let them know how much you appreciate their hard work. Remember to acknowledge the downtime, though, rather than just ignoring the fact that everything has been slow for a while. Your employees will surely help you out as long as you take some time to have a chat with them and keep them up to date.

Improve your communication tools

Finally, it’s time to have a look at the kind of tech tools you’re using. By improving the tools your employees are using for communication and collaboration, you might be able to inject some much-needed productivity into the office.

So many small and medium-sized businesses suffer from a lack of communication between the different professionals and it will, undoubtedly, make your business suffer. Take care of these simple tricks, and your business will be so much easier to manage.

4 Ways to Build Subscriber Lists for Your New Business

If you have a new business, then you need to have the right approach to increase sales and customer engagement. There is no better way to do that other than building a subscriber list with email. However, it can be difficult to know where to start. Luckily, if you follow the four tips below you can have a solid list in no time:

In-Store Calls to Action

When people walk into your store, they are seeing everything for the first time. They might notice a new product, your design, the layout, or something else. However, if you have a call to action to get on your list, then you are going to increase your chances of converting them in the store without having to say a word. Don’t miss out on the money you could make by getting people signed up from a simple logo or banner.

Text Messages

The reality is that sms services for small business can help you build your list. When you think about it, everyone has a cell phone today. This is different than a few decades ago.

People are checking their phones constantly. No one lets their text messages go unchecked. Eventually, they are going to look down and check their texts. When they see something from your business, you have a chance to convert them. You can use a number of enticing angles and offers to get them to sign up. Either way, having an email list is much easier when you manage them with texts.

Website Opt-ins

Do not just put up a website and hope people will come. You need to do much more than that if you want to get people on your list. You need to have some kind of offer. For instance, you can offer a free service or a discount when they sign up.

Social Media Posts

Underestimating the power and scale of social media is a big mistake. With a small budget, you can get a lot of results with social media. The key is to understand which platform your users are going to be on and then execute.

Getting more out of your business means building a list in today’s world. However, without a strategy you can execute, it is going to be difficult. So make sure you give yourself and advantage and use the tips above. That way, you are ensuring your list will grow by the day and put your business in a great position.

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. 🙂 

The Best Apps for Your Home Business

Running a home business can be fantastic. It’s a great way to do something for yourself and to follow your dreams. It’s an opportunity to work for yourself, without having to follow the rules or do as you are told. It also gives you the chance to earn money for yourself, without discrimination or glass ceilings. Home businesses are growing in popularity as more people are taking the risk and going it alone.

But, it’s not easy. When you run a business out of your house, you are likely to face many challenges and problems which you must overcome, facing head-on if you want to make your business a success.

Fortunately, in 2019 there are countless tools to help you. While you may not have the resources and finances that bigger businesses have, as they use business applications so often that they eventually need applications rationalization to help weed out legacy applications and reduce the costs. You will find that help is at hand. Small business loans and grants are often available. Digital marketing is an excellent tool when it comes to saving money while growing your business, and then there are apps. Nowadays most of us have countless apps on our phones. They help us with most elements of our life, as well as providing entertainment. So it should come as no surprise that there are also apps to help you run your business. Let’s take a look at some of the best.

Image Source – https://pixabay.com/photos/iphone-smartphone-apps-apple-inc-410311/

QuickBooks

If you are new to the business world, one of your primary challenges might be looking after your accounts. Many small business owners and sole traders find themselves in a panic as tax return season comes around as they have no idea how much money they have made, or what they can claim as a tax-deductible expense.

QuickBooks can be an extremely useful tool if you’ve got little experience in accounting. Even if you know what you are doing, using an app to manage your invoices and receipts can make your life a lot easier and save you a great deal of time. It could even save you money.

QuickBooks is one of many accounting apps on the market, but it’s often thought of as the easiest to use. You can use QuickBooks to keep records of your sales and expenses, track invoices, to pay your staff and to calculate your income. Other finance apps you may find useful include Wave, Gusto and Freshbooks.

Trello

Another big problem that home businesses face is productivity. When you are working at home, surrounded by distractions, it can be hard to organise and manage your time. Apps like Trello can be a massive help.

Use Trello to organise your days and manage your time. Create a Trello board for each project and add comments, pictures, attachments, to-do lists and deadlines to help yourself stay on track. If you often collaborate or have a team working with you, you can use Trello to assign tasks and get updates on progress. If you prefer to keep things simple, to-do list apps and even Google Calendars can be a big help.

Evernote

If you work from home, chances are you don’t always work from home. You might work at the library or in coffee shops. You might even try to get work done while you are sat in your car waiting for an appointment or meeting. This can be hard if all you have got in your phone.

Evernote can make things much easier. You’ll be able to work on your phone or tablet on the go, and anything that you do will be synced between your devices and your desktop back home. Evernote can give you a great way to maximise your time and get the most done, without worrying about losing work.

PayPal

As a small business, you might regularly work with other small companies and influencers. This often means that PayPal is the easiest, fastest and cheapest way to make and receive payments. Having the PayPal app on your phone means that you can send invoices, receive payments and transfer money on the go. It also allows you to look at your income and save receipts.

BoxMeUp

If your business is in sales, and you sell products out of your house, BoxMeUp can be a huge help. The app helps you to organise and track your packages. You can even use it to print labels and scan them into your phone to help with tracking and communicating with your customer.

Every Bit Counts: 5 Areas to Focus on to Improve Your Whole Business

Every business needs a little boost here and there with the success of a business often focused on the ability of a manager to see and reach their potential. A number of areas can be identified which are important for the future of a business, including the purchasing of new equipment and having faith in employees.

Trusting Your Employees

One of the most common areas of concern for a new manager or entrepreneur is entrusting the vision they have for their business to a group of employees. New managers and those responsible for establishing a business often feel they have to micromanage their employees to get the best results, but having faith in those you employ can result in new ideas and options for success in the future.

Take a Look at Your Current Situation

If you are looking to improve your entire business it is clear you believe new ideas are needed for the future of your career. The first step in understanding how to improve your business is to begin working to analyze every department of your business and begin understanding what is working and what is not. Analytics and the use of artificial intelligence in every industrial sector are changing the way business is being done around the world.

Use New Equipment to Improve Efficiency

A business can only work as well as the employees and equipment in place, which means outdated technology can cause major issues in any company. Small Business reports a Microsoft survey revealed millennials cite outdated equipment as the main problem with completing their work in a successful way. In many industries, the latest equipment is a requirement to reach business goals. For example, bakers need a lot of equipment. As technology advances they’ll need to update equipment. Therefore, they’ll need to find trustworthy companies to be their oven and industrial mixer suppliers.

Appearance Is an Important Part of Any Business

If you are involved in a business where clients regularly visit your office the first impression you make is always important. A clean, technologically up-to-date office space is vital to impressing existing and potential clients who will be important to the future success of your business. However, don’t fall into the trap of being something you’re not. For example, if your company boasts family-friendly services, a cozier atmosphere is probably the way to go.

Set out Clear Goals

The goals your business hopes to reach are an important part of your business and allows every member of your team to work together to achieve your stated aims. Making sure every member of your team understands the goals you have set out is important and should include a system for reviewing and addressing how successful your business has been.

Alongside making sure your business has the right equipment and tools to complete your stated aims, it is important to make sure you are clearly communicating your goals to your team. Addressing your goals and making sure they are being reached should form part of the culture of businesses of all sizes.

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.