Chapter 11 Can Save Businesses That Face Financial Difficulties

There’s been a recent wave of corporations filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, with big names like General Motors, United Airlines, and K-mart choosing to go this route. Despite the fact that Chapter 11 was originally envisioned to serve just those types of major players, it can prove very advantageous to small and medium-sized businesses as well as individuals with large assets. In fact, small, family-sized firms make up the vast majority of Chapter 11 filings every year.

What Is Chapter 11?

Court Chapter 11

Also known as a reorganization bankruptcy, Chapter 11 allows debtors to restructure their business in order to better fulfill obligations to creditors under court supervision. During the proceedings, they obtain the legal quality of debtors-in-possession, and in most circumstances retain full control over their business operations.

This is arguably the most attractive part of Chapter 11 from the perspective of the debtor, as the feeling of constantly having to answer to someone for every decision can be extremely unpleasant for any business owner, not to mention that outside interference can even hinder the firm’s ability to turn a profit.

There are instances in which a debtor’s authority over the firm can be stripped away if fraud, dishonesty or gross incompetence are found by the court. In such cases, a trustee is appointed to run the business until out of debt. It is highly advisable to hire a good lawyer to ensure this doesn’t happen.

How Do You Go About Filing For Chapter 11?

Filing for Chapter 11

Filing for Chapter 11 is usually done at the initiative of the debtor, who has to first submit a petition of relief to the court, as well as schedules of his assets and liabilities, creditor information, statements of financial affairs and any other documents relevant to the proceedings.

Once these are filed, he can formulate a plan for reorganization that can involve anything from downsizing, cutting expenses and reducing personnel, down to liquidating company assets. This is to be sent to the creditor for approval, together with any relevant disclosure statements.Most negotiations take place at this stage, as both the debtor and creditor are looking for ways in which the restructuring might better serve their own interests.

Finally, the two parties reconvene for a confirmation hearing, where the court analyzes any objections to the plan, and decides on whether or not to give course.

Something To Keep In Mind

Chapter 11 small business

Although Chapter 11 is intended to provide a business with a sort of “new lease on life”, courts usually consider that the restructuring program should favor the creditor, at least for the short term, as getting out of debt a little earlier is nothing a small business owner would frown upon.

What Can The Creditor Do While Chapter 11 Is Active?

Chapter 11 can also be filed by the creditor, in which case the debtor is the one who would have to agree with the proposed reorganization, in the limits set by the court. You can make out for your own that this might not usually be the ideal position for the business owner or representative.

While normally unable to intervene in the company’s decisions, the creditor can use the court to conduct examinations, which include obtaining documents and interviewing the debtor or third parties under oath, as well as soliciting proofs of claim.

The creditor can also object to the claim of relief itself, asking the court to dismiss the filing entirely, and as we’ve mentioned previously, to the restructuring plan.

Conclusion

Chapter 11 is considered to be neither very speedy nor very cheap. However, as opposed to the other options usually available to business owners by the stage filing for 11 becomes necessary, it offers some invaluable perks: a clear way out of debt, control over their own business, and most importantly, an opportunity to keep alive the company they’ve invested time and effort in.

About the author:

Kevin S. Neiman is a Denver-based attorney with over 20 years of experience in pursuing finance-related lawsuits, often of a very complex nature. The Law Offices of Kevin S. Neiman have a wide area of expertise, including but not limited to Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, commercial litigations in state and federal courts, and appeals to bankruptcy matters throughout the United States.

FTL Finance Review – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

You get up in the morning and the house is cold. Not just cold, it’s freezing! You panic because you know there’s not enough money in the checking account to pay for a new furnace. Now what? The credit cards are maxed out, the savings account is running on empty, and you really don’t want to spend the kid’s college money on this problem. You call your local HVAC contractor and find out you can finance your new furnace with FTL Finance, the furnace financiers.

Problem Solved – Right?

You know you have good credit and the financing issue shouldn’t be a problem. That’s going to make everything go a lot smoother. The contractor shows up with a brand new furnace and an application you need to fill out to get approval for the FTL Finance company to pay for your purchase and then set you up on a payment program. Sounds easy, fast, and simple so you go for it, crossing all the T’s and dotting all the I’s.

You fill out the forms, fax them in to the company and voila’, you’re the proud new owner of the most efficient, cost-effective furnace available to modern man. Life is good, the house is warm, and everyone in the family thinks you’re the greatest. It’s a great feeling and you bask in the sunshine of your success.

Life is Back to Normal with FTL Finance

Time goes by and you make your payments on your brand new furnace. Every month, you send in your check or you make your payment online and you’re content. The furnace saves money on electricity and runs as quiet as a mouse. You’re pleased with yourself because the money you’re saving is helping to make the payment on the furnace. Things just seem to get better and better.

The Good

A few years go by and you’re getting ready to make the final payment on that excellent furnace you bought a while ago. You make the final payment on the FTL Finance contract and you’re happy as a clam and snug as a bug in a rug. You’re so happy because now that the furnace is paid off, those electricity bills and natural gas bills are going to keep staying low, saving more money on the monthly budget. Ahhhhh, life is good!

The Bad with FTL Finance

One day, several months later, you take a quick look at your credit report and notice there’s a delinquent payment notice on the report from FTL Finance. You scratch your head and wonder to yourself, “I paid them off. What’s this about?”. You decide to dig up your paperwork to confirm you paid them off and decide to give FTL Finance a call to clear up the misunderstanding. You dial the company’s customer service line and get an agent who informs you that your payoff was for the wrong amount and you owed an additional $99 “contract administration fee”. You state you were never informed of a contract administration fee and you would have paid it if you’d known.

The agent informs you that the fee was due at the contract initiation and that at this time, you owe a few thousand dollars since the debt has accumulated $0.25 interest every day it hasn’t been paid. You inform the agent you’re not going to pay thousands of dollars and they do a phone dance between you and their manager. They finally arrive at a settlement amount of $500 which must be paid immediately or the company will come and repossess your furnace.

The Ugly

Incensed, you tell the agent you’ll have to think everything over and you’ll call them back. As your face returns from crimson back to normal, you start to read the contract you signed. It doesn’t mention a $99 administration fee. The payment book you received didn’t have a $99 coupon to send in and no one ever said you were behind in your payments.

You ponder the situation for a few days and the phone rings. It’s a collection agent from FTL Finance and they want to know when you are going to pay the money you owe. You inform the agent you’re still deciding what to do and the agent tells you the debt must be paid quickly or more credit score reporting will be done.

Hanging up the phone, you shake your head and scratch your scalp. You wonder how the heck you went from happy homeowner to distressed debtor in a matter of seconds. You also wonder how this company can arbitrarily charge you additional fees and interest without you knowing about it. You’re starting to feel a little … stupid.

The Ugly on Steroids

After a few more days, the phone rings again. Once again it’s the friendly folks from FTC Finance looking for their money. You inform them you’re not going to pay them for money you don’t think you owe them and hang up the phone. Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. You walk out to the mailbox and there’s a letter from FTC Finance, telling you once more of your incredible debt and how you really need to get it paid or there will be consequences.

Desperate, you go online to check FTL Finance out and discover a Better Business Bureau (BBB) website that has a review of the company. You click on the link and find the BBB website states the company isn’t a member of the BBB. Then you discover there have been some complaints filed against FTL Finance by former customers. You start to read the complaints and discover you’re not the only one who has gone through what you’re going through.

Back to Normal Again

What you find in all the complaints is a clear pattern of a company that doesn’t play fair. You see other customers with the exact same problem you’re dealing with and you also see how they solved their problems. You decide you’re going to take a tough-guy approach and go after FTL Finance with a vengeance because you’ve been wronged. After sending out letters to the company, the credit bureaus, the BBB, and your brother-in-law (who happens to be a lawyer), you finally arrive at a satisfactory conclusion to the mess and you can relax and enjoy another warm winter … as long as the furnace holds out.

The Lessons are Clear

Lesson #1 – Read the contract completely before signing. It can save a lot of time, anxiety, and money.

Lesson #2 – Check out your creditor before you borrow any money. It pays to do some homework.

Lesson #3 – Shop around for credit. Taking the first offer may not be the best idea.

Conclusion

Life runs at high speed in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean you have do everything in a hurry. Making a purchase using credit can be done with great ease in today’s world, but that doesn’t mean it should be done at the drop of a hat. FTL Finance is a finance company in business to make money and they do all kinds of things to accomplish that goal. You need to be a savvy consumer who avoids doing business with companies which have questionable practices like FTC Finance.

Xtensio Overview – What Is It And How You Should Best Use It

What is Xtensio? What is it for? Why would I need it? If you’ve ever asked any of these questions to yourself, then you’ve come to the right place. Today I will be discussing everything Xtensio – what it is, why it’s useful and how to get the most out of it.

Xtensio – What Is It?

Xtensio Platform
Xtensio Platform

Confused? I sure was when I first came across the online communications business. The problem with gathering information and understanding the service is that it offers so many different features – it can be easy to get a little bit overwhelmed!

However, what I now know about Xtensio is this: It is an online service that helps individuals in your business or organisation connect, communicate, and work together.

Basically, it’s just a content creating software for entrepreneurs and businesses that can aid communication between members of the business.

The service was launched in 2015 and is the brain child of Fake Crow, a product design studio that creates solutions for ‘forward-thinking’ companies. Xtensio is primarily focused at small, emerging businesses that want to visualize their growth and size, and promote themselves.

What Services And Utilities Does it Offer?

You could see Xtensio as a cross between a website builder, a messaging platform and Microsoft Office. It combines the many functions of all these products into one, unified service, so you have everything in one place, ready to use.

Utility No.1 – Presentation Software

Xtensio presentation software
Xtensio Presentation Software

One of the main features of Xtensio is its customizable presentation content creator/editor. What makes Xtensio’s presentation software different to others, you may ask? Well, There are three main features that differentiate it from the likes of Microsoft PowerPoint –

  • Modules – These are Xtensio’ containers of content which contain things such as graphs, text and growth predictions. All modules are easily edited, transformed and moved around the slide
  • Templates – With Xtensio’s custom templates, you can easily get the creative juices flowing and have a presentation that looks amazing with very little effort.
  • Style Guide – While working, you can use a style guide to pick colors and fonts, so you can maintain a similar visual style throughout.

Other features also make Xtensio stand out, including easy integration between presentation, PDF, and web page, and also the ability to communicate with members of your team while working – I will discuss these features next.

Utility No. 2 – Website Builder/Integration Between Formats

xtensio website builder

While working on your presentations, you can easily switch the whole presentation to a website, or vice versa. After converting to a different format the user interface stays the same.

This means that switching of formats is very simple and doesn’t require learning many different interfaces, like you might have to do with something like Microsoft Office.

This easy integration between the two utilities makes website design easy and accessible for anyone in your team. You can also convert your presentation or website to PDF format whenever and wherever you like – it’s available and functions on all devices, no matter the screen size!

Utility No. 3 – Communication

Xtensio communication

Xtensio’s software means that multiple people can work in the same area, or on the same thing at he same time. You work space is always private and secure, and you can add colleagues or investors to collaborate on your presentation or website at the same time.

With Xtensio you are able to see who’s working on what, so you can increase productivity and work flow. Another bonus is that all work saves and syncs for everybody working. You can even undo other’s work if they have made a mistake.

Why Would You Need Xtensio?

Henry Ford once said “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

I think that that quote sums up exactly why Xtensio is so useful because it helps potentially isolated colleagues or employees function as a team with their colleagues. On top of this, with Xtensio you could solve a number of problems that might occur in businesses that work predominantly online. These include:

  • Not being able to work together, if employees or colleagues are working remotely – The communication side to Xtensio solves this easily!
  • Not being able to hire a website designer – with Xtensio, web designing is very accessible to everyone due to the easy to use converting tool.
  • And finally, not having enough time to create stunning presentations that can promote your business – Xtensio’s templates make designing great looking presentations easy!

Other than solving these highlighted problems, Xtensio is also very desirable because of its affordable price point – from just $15 dollars per month per person. You can even get started with Xtensio with a free plan, however this plan is quite limited.

What Are The Bad Things About Xtensio?

Users about Xtensio
Users about Xtensio

Enough with all the positives. Unfortunately, there are some cons about the service. From customer service to ease of use, some people have complained about some of Xtensio’s many features. Some of the things that need improvement are –

  • Choosing a color – the color picking requires you to paste a hex code into the software, which is awkward and time consuming.
  • Poor customer service – According to one user, Xtensio staff argued with him, trying to persuade him to upgrade to a more expensive plan
  • Poor value for money – for some users, the lack of freedom with the cheaper plans is frustrating, and some cannot afford the more expensive options.

Despite these cons, Xtensio has very few bad reviews and overall, the positives drastically outweigh the negatives!

Who Is Xtensio Aimed At?

Who Is Xtensio Aimed At?
Who Is Xtensio Aimed At?

Almost anyone that wants to increase their productivity and is running or starting a business would find Xtensio immensely useful. Xtensio supports freelancers, agencies and even consultancies.

However, the service is aimed more at smaller businesses. This is because most of their offered features are more useful to smaller businesses that want to grow in size, and this is reflected in the paid plans that you can choose from the company.

How Can You Get the Most Out Of Xtensio?

In order to get the most out of this service, you should exploit the most useful features to the best of your ability. For example, you should always use Xtensio’s built in templates to save time and ensure you have an amazing final presentation or website.

In addition, make sure you use the communicative features to the utmost – if you divide work on Xtensio between your team equally you will increase productivity dramatically.

Finally, if you apply this rule (exploit the most useful features) to all aspects of Xtensio, then you will be sure to get the most out of the service, and get your money’s worth with it!

Conclusion

Xtensio
Xtensio

Overall, Xtensio is a great business for many types of people. If you want to boost your marketing or productivity as a business, then Xtensio is the perfect choice when it comes to website building and content creating. Even if you’re just an individual trying to start-up a business then the services provided will still be of great use.

More than anything else, I hope you’ve learnt something about Xtensio, and learnt whether or not the company will be useful to you! Thanks for visiting this website, and I hope to see you again soon!

If You are interested, what Xtensio could offer You, just check it Yourself from here!

Things You Must Invest In For Your New Business

Trade has been the way of the world since eons, but it is not less than a roller coaster ride for a debutant. Faltering, doubting, and making mistakes during the journey is part and parcel of every modern business.

When you are starting a business, knowledge alone is not enough to take you through the thick and thins. You need passion and hope in equal doses, as well. You have to make the right choices with the confidence that you will make it through.

Once your business is up and running, and you have gotten out of those turbulent waters, what should be your next step? The initial period of a new business is integral to decision making as regards future investments. You should carefully monitor your business’s growth to decide when and where to invest in bringing stability and prosperity to your company.

Investing in your new business is as much as a challenge as it is a learning opportunity. You have to be prudent when it comes to investing in your new business. You need the money and effort you are putting in to pay dividends, bringing in profits and expansion opportunities.

Emergency fund

emergency fund

Setting up an emergency fund may not seem like an investment, but putting aside a specific amount in such a fund monthly, or quarterly will prevent your business from suffering significant damages in case of an emergency. Having an emergency fund is separate from investment and savings accounts.

Therefore, if you encounter an unanticipated issue, it can be sorted out quickly by using money from the emergency fund. An example of the need for emergency funds can be the replacement of expensive malfunctioning equipment or urgent product demand in the market.

Self-Investment

self-investment

It can never grow old and can never be useless. There is always room for improvement, even if you are the founder of a business. When you are running a business, you have to don the hat for multiple roles. You may excel in some but may find yourself at sea when it comes to numerous other business issues.

In many organizations, business founders often find people management a difficult task. When you are running a business, you cannot do it all on your own. You need a team, and you need to know how to manage them.

Therefore, investing in learning how to do that will be instrumental in the growth of your business. Hire a coach or enroll in a course that can help you manage your regular tasks.

Right Tools/Equipment

right equipment

It often happens that the business line of credit for new businesses does not allow the business owner to get the right tools to grow the business. Initially, to focus is to get the company started. Once you have started and it has become apparent that your service and product is reaching the target customers, then it is time to invest in the right tools and equipment.

The right tools can get the desired product to the customer in a shorter period. In some cases, the product/service price also drops as a result of the company acquiring new equipment.

Accountancy Services

accountancy services

Unless you have a tiny business and you are quite good at numbers, do not operate your business without an accountant. In some cases, you may feel like you cannot afford the services of a full-time accountant.

You can outsource accountancy services in that scenario too. However, it will be best in the best of interest to invest in accountancy services as soon as you can.

People-employees

employees

A company or a business is nothing without the people running it (the employees) and the people supporting it (the customers). As a new business, you must have people investment at the top of your agenda.

You need to have an efficient and reliable team that can keep your business up and running and make it grow. When you have a task force, you need to invest in their learning. Market dynamics change continuously; therefore, they need to be abreast of all the changes.

The employees should be entitled to attend courses, seminars, and coaching sessions. Moreover, your business should engage customers in creative activities and develop better relations to retain and grow the clientele. It calls for campaigns and offers like giveaways and sales etc.

Online Marketing

online marketing

Even though conventional marketing is still in the game, but if you are a new business, it is better to start from online marketing. You need to invest both your time and money in coming up with a compelling online marketing campaign.

Today’s world market is online; therefore, an online presence is essential. Organic growth may be a fad, but there is nothing unethical about paid campaigns.

Therefore, if you can invest in online marketing campaigns, make it your priority. However, ensure that it is a compelling marketing campaign.

SEO Optimization

seo optimization

You need to have an online presence as a business, and for that, your business must have a website. Do not take your web presence as just a formality. Create a compelling narrative that will make people visit and stay on your website.

It will make your webpage appear in the top web searches. In addition to investing in developing a good website with great content, consider investing in SEO optimization. It will result in your webpage, and resultantly your business having an online presence.

Workspace

workspace

Your workspace should be a place that has all the essentials required to run the business effectively. Additionally, it must also be a welcoming place both for you and your workforce.

A workspace must be comfortable, clean, and organized. Try not cluttering the workspace with a lot of unnecessary stuff. Only invest in materials that are required and resources that keep the place welcoming.

Conclusion

investing in business

To grow a business, investing money or capital is not the only factor. You have to spend your passion, as well. Pausing and learning along the way is also an investment in your business. While financial capital is essential, it alone is not enough for any company to make it big.

Starting An Airbnb Business Without Owning Any Property

When you’re browsing for side-income or new business ideas, a short-term rental business might not be the first thing that pops into your head if you don’t own a house. Wouldn’t that be like becoming an Uber driver without having a car to drive people around in?

Well, not exactly. The days of needing to own a house to start and scale an Airbnb business are long gone. There are two business models to use to start making money on Airbnb:

  • Rental arbitrage
  • Managing other people’s properties.

The first one requires a little bit of investment (renting a property). If you’re starting with no money at all, you’ll want to choose the second one. But both have their pros and cons.

What is rental arbitrage

rental arbitrage

Rental arbitrage is the process of taking out a long-term lease (renting a property from a landlord) and then taking that property and listing it on short-term rental websites like Airbnb and VRBO. There are a few caveats to this approach:

  • You need enough to rent out the property (security deposit, first month + last month, any maintenance or repairs that need to be done, that extra layer of paint)
  • The landlord needs to be on board with your business idea
  • Rental arbitrage must be legal in the jurisdiction.

So it requires an initial investment, even if only a fraction of the cost of buying a house. If you have some savings, this can be a great choice, given it’s the more profitable of the two business models.

airbnb help center

The Airbnb Help Center provides all the information you’ll need about the legality of rental arbitrage in your area. If it’s not directly on there, they’ll usually link you to the relevant city hall website. Check beforehand before you sign a rental agreement.

The rental arbitrage model has high profit potential: you could be renting an apartment or house for $2000/month and renting it out on Airbnb for $150/night. In less than half the month, you’ve paid off the price of rent and the rest is profit. If you get enough savings, you can scale this to more properties and the opportunities are endless.

But this model doesn’t work for everyone, because you might not have any savings or money to invest in a rental. That’s where the property management model comes in.

Property Management Model

property management model

This model is the quickest to scale and the cheapest to start. As an Airbnb property manager, you only need to invest in one thing – your knowledge about managing properties. In terms of other costs (rent, maintenance, etc.), you don’t need anything.

You just need to market yourself to people who own properties and who want to rent them out on Airbnb but don’t know the first thing about it or don’t have the time to do it themselves.

As an Airbnb property manager, you can onboard a new client in under two days if you want to. And two days later, you can take on a second one! That’s how scalable this model is. However, where in rental arbitrage you’re taking home 1.5x-3x the amount of the rent you were paying (for one $2,000 monthly apartment, you could take home $2000 in profit), the property management model has a much smaller profit margin.

That’s because you’re sharing the cut with the owner. While the amount you take is wholly up to you and the landlord, typical sharing schemes are from 20/80 (you taking the 20%) to 50/50.

But it’s easy for you to scale and take on more properties quickly.

All you need is to find landlords. Design a business and marketing plan and decide how you’re going to reach out to these people and market your services.

Conclusion

choice is yours

The choice depends on your current situation. You can start an Airbnb business today whether you have savings or not. Which model you choose depends on how much money you already have and how fast you’re trying to scale the business.

The only thing you need is to learn about the vacation rental industry.

5 Business Ideas To Boost Income While Working Fulltime

Starting a business at home while working fulltime is a smart strategy that can help you turn your dream of financial independence into reality.

If you possess specific skills or are a specialist in a profession, you can work at your own pace to build a side hustle that does not require additional investment or elaborate equipment.

Five business ideas that you can start at home

Here are five business ideas that you can start at home while you work fulltime:

Blogging

blogging

Blogging can be not only a viable income source but also a profitable one. While there are celebrity bloggers who earn as much as $14,000,000, there are many successful bloggers who earn upwards of $40,000.

The revenue sources include affiliate marketing, advertisements, sale of own products and guest posts. Choose a niche topic and ensure you regularly create content that helps build your online reputation while boosting the number of visitors to your site.

eBooks

ebooks

If you love to write and have certain skills or information to share, writing an eBook may be a great business idea while you work full time. As you can work at your own pace, you can transfer your thoughts and skills on to a downloadable eBook which delivers in terms of imparting a skill.

Online Course

online course

You can utilize your abilities and knowledge by offering an online course. Udemy, the largest online tutorial and learning platform, features a course on “How to Create an Awesome Online Course” where Miguel Hernandez, the educator, explains how he is able to make $90,000 in a year with his online tutorial.

Airbnb host

Airbnb hosts make $924 a month on an average while some hosts can make as much as $10,000 per month. Although the earnings depend on the location of the vacation rental home, the facilities and services offered, listing your spare bedroom or your second home on Airbnb can help you earn passive income while you work full time.

Instagram marketing

instagram marketing

If you already have a considerable number of followers on your Instagram account, you may be approached by gear companies, major brands and other businesses that sell services or products related to the content you post on Instagram.

With some marketing skills, apart from having thousands of followers, it is possible to charge $500 to $5,000 or more per post.

Conclusion

While these ideas depend on your professional interests and skills, it is important to understand that professions that provide services or advice to customers, can be fraught with a number of risks including mistakes, delays, omissions or breach of contract.

While these may not be intentional, even as a home-based business you are still liable for lawsuits and claims. To protect your home based business consider, Professional liability insurance which protects you by covering the expenses involved in defending against lawsuits, judgements and settlements.

Why Software Engineers Should Get an MBA in Information Technology

Peanut butter and jelly. Love and marriage. Bacon and eggs. Software engineers and an MBA? Seems like an odd couple pairing, right? Read on and we’ll tell you why getting a Master of Business Administration in Information Technology might be the best thing you can do for your software engineering career.

There was a time when the IT world and the business world existed in separate stratospheres. Those days are long gone. Now, technology and business have become so intertwined that they’re often indistinguishable. Business managers now have extensive training (and even degrees) in technology and IT leaders now need to know the business world to survive. To better understand how these worlds have meshed — and how it can help grow your career — let’s look at some tangible examples.

An MBA Will Probably Increase Your Salary

self-worth

The average cost of an MBA in this country is $60,000. An MBA at a prestigious university can set you back around $100,000. So, MBAs are expensive, but their financial rewards are well-documented. In fact, according to the Financial Times, the average salary for MBA holders went up to $142,000 in 2017, which represents a 12-percent increase over the period of 2014 to 2017. In 2017 alone, average salaries increased by $7,000. And, when you factor in pre-MBA salaries, the difference is even more drastic. Nearly 66% of alumni cohorts more than doubled their salaries in 2018.

And, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for software developers is expected to rise by 21% between 2018 and 2028 (the average for all occupations is just 5% during that period). An MBA in IT can only add rocket fuel to this equation.

An MBA Can Make You into a Leader

You may be able to advance your IT or business career mightily based solely on your talent; there are software engineers who have raced through the ranks holding nothing but talent, a high school diploma and no small amount of charisma. However, these days, many organizations that are recruiting for high-level positions want engineers with proven leadership skills. A graduate-level degree might be a prerequisite just to get a callback.

That’s where an MBA can be invaluable. MBA programs emphasize leadership in the classroom and often ask students to develop leadership skills through internships, and this helps software engineers evolve their broader skill sets.

An MBA Might Help You Forge Your Own Path

Ever dreamed of starting your own business and calling the shots for once? Aside from all-important leadership skills, an MBA will teach you the analytical and business skills you’d need to take a holistic view of your operations. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll foster soft skills in an MBA program — teamwork, communication, adaptability — that are often the real drivers behind a successful business.

Getting an MBA while holding a full-time job is certainly a challenge, and finding a way to pay for a master’s degree is, too. However, keep in mind that many programs will allow you to take classes online, part-time and at your convenience. And, you don’t necessarily need a pricey MBA from Yale to succeed. In fact, MBAs are pretty ubiquitous. There are plenty of programs that cost less, fit nicely into your schedule and still offer the training and degree you’ll need to advance your career.

Four Movies to Watch after You’ve Watched The Big Short

If you haven’t watched The Big Short yet, I strongly recommend you to do. It’s a great movie concerning trading and the global financial crisis (2007-2008). You’d be amazed at the storyline and suspense that this movie has to offer.

But if you have watched this amazing movie, however, then we have four other similar movies to recommend you. Movies that you should definitely put on your must-watch list.

Boiler room

Box office – $28 million

Directed and written by – Ben Younger

(If you are – or if you want to become a broker one day – this is the perfect movie for you)

Plot:
Even though he is a college dropout, the nineteen-year-old Seth Davis manages to make a living by running an illegal and small local casino in his home. Something that his father, Marty (A federal judge), doesn’t approve at all.

But one night, a wealthy person named Greg Weinstein comes by the casino to play blackjack. That night Greg offers Seth to join a brokerage company called J. T. Marlin. Seth accepts the offer. But later on, Seth finds out that J. T. Marlin is corrupted and that it uses its brokers to allure buyers into  investing in companies that never or no longer exist.

Seth is devastated when he is tricked into tricking one of the stock market buyers, Harry Reynard, who thanks to Seth, loses everything he has. Then Seth confesses everything to his father and wants them both to reveal the fraud of J. T. Marlin.

At first, Seth’s father seems reluctant to accept, for he is afraid that he might lose his job as a federal judge if something goes wrong. But then he accepts. Both Seth and his father succeed in closing down J. T. Marlin, though not alone, the FBI gets involved in the case as well.

Margin Call

Box office – $19.5 million

Directed and written by – J. C. Chandor

(A great finance-based movie that will keep you excited and thrilled from the very begging till the end. Besides, you’ll learn something more about the global financial crisis too)

Plot:
A company starts to fall in the abyss of the global financial crisis (2007-2008). During the beginning of the movie, no one is aware of any lurking financial menace. Eric Dale from the department of risk management – is the first person who is on the edge of discovering that the company is moving straight towards bankrupt, but his project isn’t finished.

At first, no one believes in his project, and he is flanked by security out of the building for good. But on his way out, he stumbles across one of his colleagues, Peter Sullivan – also from the department of risk management. Eric hands over a USB stick to Peter by casting him a furtive you-have-to-finish-this look.

Peter, working late at night on finishing Peter’s project, uncovers some shocking facts. The value of the company’s mortgage-backed securities is rapidly decreasing. Peter informs posthaste some of his colleagues about the financial instability that they’re facing. The bad information spreads fast and reaches to the division head, Jared. There is an emergency meeting.

The firm makes some plans on how to financially survive – and Eric is called to be part of those plans at the threat that he’d lose his severance payment, among other things, if he doesn’t agree to do it.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Box office – $392 million

Directed by – Martin Scorsese
Written by – Terence Winter

(This is the greatest stockbroking movie of all times. And even if you don’t have any knowledge in stockbroking, you’ll still enjoy and watch this movie with rapt attention)

Plot:
Jordan Belfort starts as a stockbroker. Something that provides him enough money to fall in the dirty hands of sex, nightlife, and drugs. But rather sooner than later, his career ends. Still, he manages to find a new job at a brokerage firm, and he is so good at what he does that he even makes a  small fortune. But that isn’t enough for Jordan.

And after getting acquainted with the deceitful talents of his neighbor, Donnie Azoff, both he and Donnie decide to open their own company – Stratton Oakmont. They even hire some of Jordan’s friends to work for them by teaching them some fraud methods that, later on, generate huge amounts of money for the company.

Nevertheless, Jordan becomes so rich that he starts to care only for himself. He even divorces his wife to marry another woman named Naomi, but their marriage doesn’t have a happy ending. At any rate, the biggest problems for Jordan begin when he makes dozens of millions in just several hours. Jordan transfers his money in a Swiss bank to hide them, but that doesn’t help him in appearing any less fraudulent in the eyes of the FBI.

He travels abroad to escape justice, but, eventually, he gets caught by the FBI. And after being sentenced by the court, he is given a chance to serve only three years in prison, though under one condition. He has to testify against his criminal colleagues, which he does.

MoneyBall

Box office – $110 million

Directed by – Bennett Miller
Written by – Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian

(If you love baseball and some real (Go from zero to hero) team-management actions – MoneyBall is the movie that you don’t want to skip)

Plot:
The 2001 American League Division doesn’t end well for the Oakland Athletics. Their general manager, Billy Beane, feels down in the dumps. And with several leading players on the brink of leaving the team, there seems to be no hope for the Oakland Athletics at all.

But fortunately, Billy meets this young graduate – Peter Brand. Peter approaches Billy with some forward-looking strategies that might transform the whole downfall prospect of the Athletics into victory. Billy likes Peter’s words and puts him on an aptitude test by asking him what steps he would take concerning a game of a past major league.

Peter answers the question, and Billy hires him almost at once. Billy’s assertions to victory are based on sabermetrics that would evaluate the quality of underestimated players. And since the Athletics have a small budget to operate with, this seems like a great plan to Billy. So, after hiring three underestimated players, including an injured catcher, Billy and Peter get nothing but bad criticism from Oakland scouts and hostile opposition from Art Howe (The manager of the team).

But despite the resistance to their strategy, Billy and Peter prove that they are right. And the Athletics even make twenty consecutive wins, which is a new record to the American League Record Board.

I hope that our list of four movies similar to The Big Short has been interesting to you. Now, all you have to do is relax, sit down, and watch some of the greatest finance-based movies of all times.

Besides, no matter which of these four movies you chose to watch, you won’t make a mistake.

Movies Like The Wolf of Wall Street

There is no doubting that Martin Scorcese’s 2013 biopic of Jordan Belfort’s crazy real-life story, was a huge success. Whenever I speak to people about this movie, I always get the same response. It’s just too hard to find that person who thinks it’s a bad film. Despite only being six-years-old, it is regarded as a modern day classic, which continues to grow in popularity.

This article aims to give you 10 movies that are like “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

The Big Short

This movie just has to make the list. Just like the “The Wolf of Wall Street”, the film is based around a group of characters who work within the wall street industry. What these characters foresee, is the collapse of the housing market, and all they want is to take advantage of it, despite their clients’ growing outrage.

The Social Network

Just like “The Wolf of Wall Street”, “The Social Network” is a critically acclaimed movie that is directed by a cinematic giant. It is David Fincher who is responsible for creating this piece of art back in 2011. Another similarity is that both movies are based on true stories that involve deceit and corruption. “The Social Network” portrays the issues surrounding the creation of Facebook.

American Psycho

If you’re a fan of “The Wolf of Wall Street” then there is no reason why you should not like “American Psycho”. They are two movies based on young, charming men working in sales who have over excessive characters wanting to achieve their goals. Patrick Bateman (played by Christian Bale) is a sociopath waiting to be unleashed in this pulsating thriller.

Casino

Another Scorsese classic which also holds similarities. Driven by an all-star cast, “Casino” portrays life as a mob gangster running a Vegas Casino. One thing about this movie that has to be said, is that Sharon Stone’s portrayal of Ginger is nothing short of wonderfully breathtaking. In addition, her character can be compared to Margot Robbie’s, Naomi Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Both women have equal tendencies to be with a man for money and power, and won’t think twice in backstabbing them when the time is right. The infamous Robert De Niro stars as the mob boss in this scintillating gangster movie. When his business is affected by serious competition, life becomes a matter of survival as lives are teared apart in this cinematic masterpiece.

Wall Street

Despite the obvious, “Wall Street” is most certainly a movie to watch after “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Not just because both stories are based around the culture of Wall Street, but how they are set in different eras that show us the corruption involving the financial world. “Wall Street” is set in a time that is before the 1987 crash, and this is right before what takes place at the beginning of “The Wolf of Wall Street”.

American Hustle

This is a fictional film that portrays an impressive scandal you’ll never forget. Led by another all-star cast, “American Hustle” tells a story of con-artists, FBI agents, and the Mafia all rolled up in one glorious feature. The plot is intelligent as well as entertaining, and each character gifts you with something worthwhile of your time. Like “The Wolf of Wall Street”, the movie is thrilling and entertaining, and similarly uses pop songs during emotional moments.

Catch Me if You Can

If you want a movie to take you on a pulsating chase of cat and mouse, look no further than “Catch Me if You Can”. This is another movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays as Frank Abagnale jr, although he is much younger in this feature. Just like his Jordan Belfort character, DiCaprio’s Abagnale is intelligent and highly skilled to fool the FBI for numerous years. Abagnale is just a teenager, but he manages to disguise himself as a lawyer, a doctor, and a co-captain of a major airline within this movie. To think that this movie is based on a true story just blows your mind.

The Departed

You cannot deny that “The Departed” has to be on this list. Like the majority of the films listed here, it holds a fantastic cast that delivers one of the greatest mob dramas of our era. It earned Scorsese his one and only surprising Academy Award for Best Picture, but when you see it, you will know exactly why. It portrays one man working undercover in the mob, and another who is a mole among the cops. What this story brings, is a battle between the mob and the cops, showing brave individuals as pawns to win it for their establishments. If you haven’t seen this movie, it is a must-see today.

Boiler Room

In this drama, there is a portrayal of American Business at it’s most corrupt worst. Although it doesn’t boast a strong enough script to be on par with “The Wolf of Wall Street”, there are still so many comparisons between the pair. Both movies involve young men who all become millionaires overnight within the world of sales. “Boiler Room” shows these young men working at a brokerage firm who, just like those in “The Wolf of Wall Street”, achieve in making their money by fooling their clients over the phone.

War Dogs

Firstly, “War Dogs” compares to “The Wolf of Wall Street” because both of them contain Jonah Hill. However, the comparison doesn’t stop there. Both of these movies contain young men who strive to earn millions of bucks in quick succession. In this movie, Jonah Hill aims to convince his friend to be an international arms dealer, and the amount of comedic moments that come with it makes you know you are watching a similar movie to “The Wolf of Wall Street”. It is a solid movie which is driven by a compelling true story. It is an underrated movie that could perhaps gain a stronger following.

There you go, the ten movies that can be strongly compared to “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Each and every one of them hold at least some similarities. Some more than others, of course, but it’s easy to suggest that they all compare is some way.

Whether it’s a plot involving the same business culture, or perhaps a mob drama that holds similar characters with similar purposes, there are enough movies out there that can be compared with the popular biopic.

If you’re a fan of “The Wolf of Wall Street”, then each and every movie on this list has to be watched either now or in the future.

Cost Effective Marketing Options

Below, we are going to take a look at some cost-effective marketing options for your business…

Getting your website sorted

The better the website, the more money it will help you to make, so it is an essential part of your marketing. One important thing to remember is to keep it simple – don’t make your visitors work too hard.

To do this, SEO and PPC are a must. Use script tools for Google Ads to get started. If your site is not optimized, you won’t be visible.

When people come to a business website, most of the time they know what they want, at least in part. Web design options need to reflect that.

There is no point in making things difficult for your visitors who are there because they want to know more about you or to purchase something from you. If your web design is too complicated, then they will often go elsewhere. 

Don’t use crazy designs that hide menus in strange places, for example, or make them almost invisible. This will not help you to guide people to the pages you want them to see.

If you are aiming to sell online, then you need your website to reflect that, and make the shop the main focus. If you prefer to sell face to face or you have a bricks and mortar shop, then again make it clear how this can be found.

It’s imperative that you don’t confuse your visitors – always let them know what you do and how you do it. No one wants to go to a website and spend 30 seconds or more searching for the information they need or the page they want.

And they won’t want to click through a number of pages either. Keep menus focused and user-friendly.

Create business posters

There are generally three options to choose from when creating a poster; you can create it yourself, you can hire a designer, or you can use an existing design. The latter is undoubtedly one of the most popular options.

Nowadays, a lot of companies that provide online printing services are also supplying free or inexpensive poster designs for companies to take advantage of. This speeds up the process and makes it a lot more cost efficient as well.

Another option is to create your own poster. Of course, you are going to need a considerable amount of time to do so. This solution is only advised for those who are passionate about the advert, i.e. perhaps it is for your band’s gig, and those with knowledge about design. You do want it to look good after all!

Last but not least, you could choose to hire a designer to create a poster for you. This can be very rewarding if they come up with an impressive design, but it can also be very expensive and you are putting your trust in someone else’s hands. Considering most people choose poster marketing because it is cost effective, hiring a designer does not always fit the mould.