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Learning from SkyMall's Chapter 11 bankruptcy

When millions of travelers get settled into their airplane seats, they browse through SkyMall. This in-flight catalog offers airline passengers the chance to purchase a wide array of interesting and sometimes odd products. This catalog has had a presence in the seatbacks of millions of airline seats for decades. However, the ubiquitous retailer has recently experienced financial challenges. Last month, SkyMall’s parent company suspended SkyMall operations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Businesses all over the nation can learn valuable lessons from SkyMall’s bankruptcy. Many small business owners may find themselves falling on challenging financial times and may wonder how the process of business reorganization under bankruptcy protection works. Like SkyMall, other businesses may find that if they take advantage of the protections that Chapter 11 bankruptcy affords, they can regain financial stability. Many businesses move through the bankruptcy process with relative ease and become profitable again not long after the process concludes.

And like SkyMall, other businesses may find that the changing nature of online marketing and online marketers has impacted their business for the worse. Just as SkyMall needs to reevaluate how to compete in the changing market, so may other businesses.

SkyMall’s bankruptcy proves that even businesses with a wide presence and a captive audience can struggle financially from time-to-time. By meeting with creditors, reorganizing its staff, cutting back and reevaluating its operations during the automatic stay on its creditors that Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing triggers, SkyMall may find that it can again survive to provide customers with its goods for years to come.

Source: Findlaw Free Enterprise, “SkyMall Files for Bankruptcy: 5 Lessons for Business Owners,” Andrew Chow, Jan. 23, 2015

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