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.

Protect Your Business: 4 Strategies for Preventing Money Laundering

You’ve put in a lot of hard effort to make your business the successful profit-churning powerhouse that it is. The idea that someone could be ripping you off and laundering money from your hard work should be disgusting to you. However, it might even be happening right now with you completely unaware. To ensure that your business is protected from criminals looking to siphon off of your hard work, utilize these four strategies to help prevent money laundering. 

Appoint an Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Officer

Initially, you should create an anti-money laundering policy that is clear in its dictation and punishments. As a further safeguard, it’s also prudent to hire an Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Compliance Officer who will routinely check the accounts and ensure there’s no fraud taking place. If they notice anything odd, they can report it to you. Keep in mind that the AML Compliance Officer should have extensive experience and knowledge in terms of financial policy, procedure, and crime.

Utilize Software 

Besides just an employee looking over the books, it’s also a wise idea to have an impartial bit of software looking over your shoulder for you, too. One piece of software you might want to consider is one that provides name matching services. This can be used as an anti-money laundering process that ensures those you bring into the business and those you do business with are legitimate people without fraudulent claims attached to their names. 

Bolster Accounting And Cash Handling Processes 

Another strategy to prevent money laundering is to bolster the accounting and cash-handling processes so that it makes laundering a lot more difficult. Additional watchdogs can be set to overlook these processes. However, you should keep the number of people who handle the accounts and cash handling as minimal as possible. Not only does this decrease the chances of someone with questionable morals from accessing your accounts, but it also helps narrow down the suspects when laundering is suspected. 

Knowing The Deal 

It’s also a good strategy to be a part of all of the deals that are made in your business. Or, at least, to be able to observe them, so you can ensure you understand the exact terms and benefits of the deal. Most importantly, you should know who is benefiting from the deal, how, and why. You may be able to sniff out questionable parties and report them. 

Money laundering is a terrible way to lose hard-earned profits in your business. By following these four strategies, you can bolster the security of your business and prevent laundering from occurring.

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

4 Ways to Put an End to Your Debt

We have strong impulses that can quickly get us in trouble, and that’s a fact. Probably the strongest is the impulse to spend money – too much money. Sometimes it’s just a stupid thing, like relying too much on the power of our credit cards, but you don’t have to be reckless to end up in large debt.  Borrowing money has become a pretty normal thing in every grownup’s life – in this capitalistic society it may be the only way to get things we want or even really need. You’d say that there’d be a great debt awareness by now, but that’s not always the case. Even when it is, not many people are prepared for the unexpected that can take many forms – childbirth, lost job, an accident, etc. All these life-altering experiences will also quickly alter your finances and prevent you from paying back your loans on time.

Even if you lead a pretty steady life and are punctual with your repayments, their end may seem far out of reach. You’d want to pay off your loans faster and be done with it, but coming up with enough money seems impossible. That’s how you get accustomed to your debt. If you’ve signed a loan to finance your business you might expect that the growth of that business will take care of the repayments. But nothing can grow in financial shackles – not your business, not your life. And you’re the only one who can break from them. Poor financial decisions can be overcome with the right ones, and debt can become a thing of the past.

1. Make it a Priority

This is the worst thing about debts – the bigger they get, the less we want to look at them. You might say that you’d rather live your life than deal with numbers all the time, but there’s not much life in the situation where you’re running in circles. If you want to find the way out you need to look the numbers straight in the eye. It is actually a pretty obvious move and a really simple one. All you need is a Google Spreadsheet or a piece of paper if you’re a pen person. First, you need to visit the websites of each financial institution you have a debt to. Then simply copy down all balances along with their respective APRs, exactly as they appear – and pay special attention to your minimum payments for every account. Only after you track down all your debts this way you’ll know how much exactly do you owe and that is the road to getting rid of it.

2. Set Goals Along The Way

Knowing the exact amount you need to pay back can be overwhelming even for the most goal-oriented person, so the best way to go is to break it. Once your debt is in the form of manageable parts it won’t be scary anymore, and every small victory will provide you with more determination. The first thing you need to do is to assess how much money can you set aside for monthly repayments since that will shape your periodic goals. It will also provide you with a rough estimate of how long it will take you to get out, eliminating the factor of a neverending financial nightmare. To make these goals even stronger and boost your motivation, try to negotiate a lower interest rate with your creditors. Most people think that this possibility of interest rate reduction is a fairytale, but if you’ve done your homework on comprehensive credit reporting you should know better.  And now you have a bigger monthly repayment budget.

3. Catch The Big Fish First

When you have a clear list of debts in front of you it might be difficult to figure out where to start and decide on debt payment portion. Most people decide to pay balances low to high, not thinking about interest rates. It is understandable to try to keep your money, but that way you’ll do quite the opposite. If you’ve succeeded in reducing your interest rates you might be encouraged to take this road, but this should actually serve as a motivation to attack the debt with the highest interest rate and continue with the buildup of your budget. Debt is probably the only area in life where working your way down will get you much quicker above the surface. So you need to focus on the big fish you wish to eliminate first, making the minimum payment on other accounts. Then simply pass onto the next debt on the list, adding the money you’ve freed up to the minimum payment. People call this the snowball method, but once you try it it will seem more like a cleansing avalanche.

4. Balance Your Work And Savings

It is obvious that you’re gonna need to work more to pay off your debt faster. People go at great lengths, working overtime, taking second jobs, babysitting in their free time, etc. Although this is a very responsible thing to do, it could take you to the extreme where you’ll make your final payment in the nuthouse. That’s why it’s important to find the perfect balance between your work and savings. Yes, but you’ve thrown your complete savings on that big fish we’ve talked about above. Well, there are other ways to save up without working your ass off. It is just the question of how you look at the money. You have your bonuses, tax returns, birthday and wedding gifts, don’t you? Instead of treating that indirect income as a reward which you’ll use to buy you something nice, apply it directly at your debt.

But this windfall money is still not the only way to save up. You can downsize, for start. You have a shiny new car in your driveway, but you also have debt. So trade it for something cheap and you’ve saved up. Do the same with all your ʽtoysʼ – there’ll be plenty of time to play once you’re out of your debt. Once you’re out of big-ticket items that don’t mean your race is run. Every house or apartment is full of things we’re never gonna need, and yours is not an exception. And there are many people who do need (or think they need) that stuff, so it’s time for a garage sale.

In the end, you’ll save up by careful spending. Start with your utility bills. It’s pointless to pay for cable if you only watch Netflix, right? Then take a look at your fridge. Do you really eat all that? How about planning your meals? Maybe you can walk to the store instead of calling delivery every time? When you go shopping, leave your credit cards at home – handing cash will always remind you that you have to save up.

There you have it – looking your debt straight in the eye and breaking it down into manageable pieces it’s already half of the work done. It will boost your motivation to work harder and determination to keep the cash flow in the right direction.

Guest author Lucas is a business consultant with a passion for writing. Doing his research, exploring and writing are his favorite things to do. Besides that, he loves playing his guitar, hiking and traveling.

What Are You Doing to Improve Your Business?

Being a business owner can wear on some individuals over time. Given all the responsibilities in running a company, it can seem overwhelming. That said you want to do all you can to improve things before it becomes too late to act.

So, what are you doing to improve your business?

Finances Are Something to Focus in on

If you need to take steps to improve your footing, start by looking at how you are doing with finances. With that in mind, you might want to go online and apply here for a business line of credit.

In taking this action, you can move closer to receiving the help you need to straighten things out. Yes, some owners run into financial difficulties over time for one reason or another. That said you can’t afford to get into a funk where there is no end in sight to your financial challenges.

Even when you gain approval for a line of credit, the work does not end there.

With this being the case, also look at how you are doing when it comes to buying goods and services for your business.

Do you get the best deals possible when working with your vendors? If you rent office space, are you paying too much each month? Could you be using a better credit card to make purchases for your business? Remember, the interest fees with some cards can be quite hefty.

No matter what you do to improve your company’s financial outlook, do not wait until it is too late to take action.

Improving Your Brand’s Reach

As important as your company finances are, do not go to sleep on the importance of brand promotions.

As an example, do you promote your brand on social networking sites?

It is important to remember that social media is essentially free. As such, you do not have to spend tons of money to be relevant on social media. With some time and effort on your part, you can have an impact on social networking sites and not break the bank.

You also want to look at how your customer service efforts are being received by the public.

If your customer service is lacking, it can come back to haunt you. Remember, most of your customers have other options besides doing business with you. As a result, you could end up losing out on future business if some customers deem you did not go the extra mile for them.

Finally, you want to make sure you have productive and happy workers on your team.

Unless you have a one-person show running things, you will need the help of others. Given this fact, you want the best employees possible by your side. When you have them, you can improve your business approach.

Be sure to engage your employees and get their two cents on how you might improve your business.

Having meetings with your staff to discuss your company and how to make it even better are a good idea. You never know what someone might suggest for improvement that you did not think about.

In looking at where your small business will be soon, will you like what you see?

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers business topics on the web.

Maintaining Certifications and Compliance—3 Areas Every Business Should Consider

Every business has to stay on top of its management. From licensure to certifications, it’s vital that every operation stays organized. Mismanagement or even a temporary lapse in attention can result in major liabilities that cost thousands of dollars down the line. In order to keep employees happy and finances in check, don’t overlook these three major compliance and certification considerations. 

Employee Insurance

Depending on the size of your business, you may be legally obligated to offer your employees some form of healthcare coverage. The Affordable Care Act employer mandate requires any organization with 50 or more full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees to offer health insurance coverage. 

Failure to offer coverage to 95-percent of full-time employees will result in a fine of $2,320 per employee, excluding the first 30. Even if you’re only left with 20 employees after the subtraction, you would still face a penalty of $46,600. 

Full-time employees are considered anyone who works 30 hours per week or 130 hours each calendar month, including paid-time-off and vacation days. Teachers and other education employees are considered full-time even if they don’t work all year. 

While healthcare is expensive, it’s more than just a liability for businesses. Offering health insurance demonstrates you care about your employees, and greater benefits will boost morale and increase loyalty. 

Quality Assurance

Depending on your line of work, quality assurance may be more than just a form of risk management. There are different quality requirements across various industries including engineering and food servicing. Failure to meet these standards don’t just open the door for lawsuits but also jeopardizes your entire business’s reputation. 

QA allows business owners to consistently gain insight into their products and improve their services and delivery. Quality assurance is more than just protection; it also provides valuable insight into your company’s day-to-day operations and ensures your customers never received anything less than what they’ve paid for. 

Taxes and Finances

Even the most diligent business owner can slip up and miss some important figures come tax season. In order to ensure that your company doesn’t get audited or fined for a costly oversight, consider outsourcing your tax preparation and business financing to a professional accountant. Accountants adhere to proper standards and are able to fully commit to managing your business’s finances. Also, using software like this HCP aggregate spend reporting can also help significantly with organization and tracking.

Remember that business is all about improvement. Revisiting your foundation and making any adjustments to your current operations will ensure that your company is always capable of accommodating new changes and adapting to growth. Staying in compliance with business laws and ethical standards will help make your company a more effective, enjoyable and reliable establishment for everyone involved.

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.

Celebrate Success! How to Throw the Business Party of the Year

A good party can bring everyone in your workplace together.If you’ve never organized one, however, you might be at a loss for how to get started. Here are just five suggestions for throwing an unforgettable company bash. 

Upgrade Your Internet 

If you’ll be teleconferencing with other offices or branches in a company-wide celebration, make sure that your Internet is strong enough for the task. Speed is probably the most important thing to keep your playback from lagging, but you’ll also need robust, reliable servers to prevent downtime. When everyone is toasting to the success of the company, you’ll want your sound and video quality to be crystal clear. 

Create a Flexible Schedule 

Since it’s a business party, you’ll probably need some kind of schedule for things like speeches and end-of-the-year acknowledgements.However, it’s important to have a little wiggle room with times. You don’t want to cut off a happy conga line so that the department manager can talk about stock trends. Mind the atmosphere of the party, and wave in your speakers when your audience is ready to hear them. 

Center Everything Around a Theme

Themes aren’t just fun for your guests. They’re also valuable tools for your party planners. When your drinks, games, activities and decorations all revolve around a specific idea like “casino night” or”winter wonderland,” it’s much easier to make decisions about what to buy. You might not be uncertain about your menu and music selection. However,if there’s a theme, it will all come together. For example, if you decide on a family-friendly theme, it’s only a short jump to buying Kaiser buns for burgers and fun pop songs to set the up-beat mood.

Mind Your Finances 

You don’t have to break the bank to host a great company party. You just need to be thoughtful and deliberate with your budget.One option is to break everything down by dollar amounts, and another possibility is allocating specific percentages of your budget to things like food, entertainment and venue. As long as you’re careful with your checkbook, you should be able to throw a wonderful party with cash to spare. 

Offer Freebies 

Everyone loves a freebie. You can generate a lot of goodwill towards both the company and the company party when you hand out goodie bags.You might also want to host raffles, giveaways or gift exchanges for the holidays. They can be a nice way to bond with your co-workers or raise money for a good cause. 

These are just a few tips for throwing a great business party. Whether you’re launching a new start-up or celebrating the expansion of your Fortune 500 brand, it’s always fun to let your hair down with the rest of your colleagues.

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 Help with Your Finances

Most of us are in debt. We’ve got credit cards, loans, overdrafts, store cards, and car financing plans. Some of us even owe money to our utility providers and landlords. Even those of us that aren’t are cutting it fine. We want to save, we even open savings accounts, but find ourselves struggling to put any money in them. Many of us want to set up businesses and build home offices, but our financial situations won’t allow it.

But, just as many of us are doing nothing about it. We’re getting by paying the minimums back on our debts.We’re letting any savings that we do have just sit there, instead of finding ways to make them grow. We’re living paycheck to paycheck without taking the time to improve things.

This is often because we’re embarrassed. We don’t want to admit that we need help or that we’re in debt. We don’t want to ask for advice on how to save or make our money grow because we are ashamed to admit that we don’t know already or that we’ve been wasting our money up until this point. We are afraid of speaking to an accountant only to find that we’ve been recording our profits incorrectly and our small business accounts are in a mess. We bury our heads in the sand because we are embarrassed and afraid. But,there’s really no need to be. There’s plenty of help out there, and plenty of people that need it. You just have to make that first move. Here’s a look at some of your options.

Visit a Financial Advisor

If you’ve got debts, you might find that their repayments are crippling. That you’ve got very little disposable income each month because paying off your debts is eating it all up. It doesn’t need to be like this, but it’s so hard to see a way out when it’s your money.

A financial advisor can take a look at your situation and help you to find ways to improve it. They’ll look at your income and expenses and recommend consolidation loans or other options that could help. They can even help you to create a budget to manage your money.

Most banks offer a free financial advisor service. But, remember your bank is only likely to recommend their own products. You may have to pay to see an independent advisor, but you could be offered a wider range of options.

Get Help with Investments

Investing your money is a fantastic way to watch it grow. But, it’s complicated and confusing. If you’ve never invested,you might worry that you can’t because you don’t know enough. The good news is,you don’t even need to meet an advisor in person, read https://budgetboost.co/etrade-review/for another option that’s great for beginners and novice traders.

Hire an Accountant

If you run your own business or work as a freelancer, you might try to manage your own finances to save money. But, it can be all too easy to make costly mistakes. Hiring an accountant can actually save you money. They’ll ensure you are claiming any tax deductibles that you are able, and they’ll make sure you don’t face a hefty fine because you’ve either missed your tax return deadlines or made a mistake in your working out.Read more about deducatbles at https://www.raymondbenn.co.uk/services/businesses/detailed-list-of-tax-allowable-expenses.