Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from August 17 through 31.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from August 17 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

SimpleSTEPS for Starting Your Business
Date: August 17, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th Ave. Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (map it)
Contact: Edward Fordyce | efordyce@santacruzscore.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

This SCORE workshop will help you understand what it takes to successfully start and grow a small business. If you’re a new or early-stage business owner, this workshop is designed for your needs. We’ll present an overview of issues that can impact success or failure for small businesses, drawn directly from real experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders:

  • Start-up Myths
  • Business Opportunities
  • Marketing
  • Structure, DBA, Licenses, Insurance
  • Record Keeping & Taxes
  • Cash Needs & Sources
  • Business Plans
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Cash Flow Projections: How to Use Microsoft Excel to Plan Ahead for Your Business
Date: August 23, 2017 | 8:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: $10

Join the Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) for an intensive one-day session to set your business up for financial success. Together we’ll complete a cash flow spreadsheet and learn some basics of Microsoft Excel.

Get answers to your key questions such as:

  • What is a cash flow projection? Learn what the future may hold by creating the good, the bad and the ugly.
  • Is it all pie in the sky? Learn how to make sales projections based on research, comparison and solid assumptions.
  • When do I need a cash flow? Learn the different uses of a cash flow so you can make better decisions in your business planning.

Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Marketing For Your Small Business
Date: August 24, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 550 E Shaw Ave. Fresno, CA 93710 (map it)
Contact: David Vazquez | davazquez@csufresno.edu | (559) 278-3712
Organization: Fresno State SBDC Fresno/Madera
Fee: $75

Learn about the fundamentals of branding during this two hour intensive workshop. Whether you’re having trouble generating new business or have marketing brand in place, work with us to define and optimize your small business marketing focus.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

How To Get A Business Loan
Date: August 17, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: University of La Verne Campus Center Third Floor
2000 2nd St. La Verne, CA 91750 (map it)
Contact: Fidel Gomez | fgomez@laverne.edu | (909) 448-1573
Organization: University of La Verne SBDC
Fee: Free

Join us at the SBDC for a free seminar on how to prepare your best application for a small business loan. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • SBA loans and loan qualifications
  • Criteria lenders look for
  • Loan package process
  • And more!

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Osbaldo Velazquez is scheduled to attend the event. He will be available to answer your questions about small business loans including how to get started.

Click here to register for this event.

Legal Forms of Organization
Date: August 21, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 3780 Market St. Riverside, CA 92501 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organizations: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Join this workshop featuring an attorney who will educate you about the different forms of business organization and which is most beneficial for your business, including tax consequences and benefits of each type of information.

We’ll also discuss how to protect your personal assets and property from lawsuits plus how to prevent piercing of the corporate veil of protection.

The workshop will close with an overview of legal issues facing a small business from startup to success.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media Sells: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram
Date: August 22, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce—Upstairs Conference Room
29737 New Hub Dr. #102 Menifee, CA 92586 (map it)
Contact: Mary Takavorian | mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com | (909) 983-0751
Organization: Inland Empire SBDC
Fee: Free

Social Media is a moving target with constant changes happening every day. Join this free workshop to get the up-to-date information on how you can use social media to grow your business.

Topics include:

  • Define marketing goals and strategies using free and subscription tools
  • Get started with social media analytics from gathering data to interpreting results
  • Set marketing goals based on analytics to optimize impact
  • Identify the latest trends with social media tools including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Twitter
  • Analyze the demographics of who uses different social media platforms
  • Understand how and why Pinterest and Instagram choose to purchase products or services directly from a post
  • Discover how to use social media for non-profit and business to business marketing

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Essential Elements of Every Small Business Website
Date: August 17, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (New Jersey) SCORE
Fee: Free

Your website is the hub of your entire online presence and must function as a marketing asset. In this webinar, Duct Tape Marketing founder John Jantsch will cover the key features every small business website must have in the world of marketing-activated websites.

Topics include:

  • Draw visitors in with a compelling promise
  • Include key trust-building elements prospects look for
  • Create a “Call to Action” that gets clicks
  • Develop content to attract search engines
  • Build a homepage journey for your ideal client

Move your business beyond brochures and make the leap to digital!

Click here to register for this event.

Smart Borrowing Practices
Date: August 30, 2017 | 10:00 pm PDT – 11:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: workshops@sba.gov | (206) 553-7310
Organization: SBA Seattle District Office
Fee: Free

If you’re considering a major financial decision like purchasing a car or house, or looking to borrow money, this free webinar is your starting point on the journey.

Topics include:

  • Smart borrowing tips
  • Your rights as a borrower
  • Signs of predatory lending
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

The Hidden Benefits of Going Green
Date: August 31, 2017| 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (New Jersey) SCORE
Fee: Free

You probably already know the benefits of improving the environmental sustainability of your small business. Did you know that these initiatives go beyond preserving scarce resources like water and energy to helping lower your costs and gain customers?

Get tips for retailers looking to advance their sustainability efforts in this free webinar, including:

  • Low and no cost steps to take that will result in near-term savings
  • Special tips for food service establishments
  • Ways to share your efforts and appeal to your increasingly socially and environmentally conscious customers
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.


We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

The majority of the business world is occupied by men and popular resources are often targeted towards them. However, as a woman small business owner, you could really benefit from resources directed towards and run by other women. We’ve compiled this list of a few good resources for you to get business help, find motivation, and network with other female entrepreneurs.

The majority of the business world is occupied by men and popular resources are often targeted towards them. However, as a woman small business owner, you could really benefit from resources directed towards and run by other women. We’ve compiled this list of a few good resources for you to get business help, find motivation, and network with other female entrepreneurs.

Bizjournals – Bizwomen

Bizwomen is a great online resource for news articles and editorials about topics related to business women. They also have a list of events geared towards women entrepreneurs. Either choose your city from their drop-down menu or scroll through the list of all upcoming events, award ceremonies, and networking opportunities.

Entrepreneur – Women Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur is an online magazine chock full of helpful articles, but they have a section dedicated to topics related to being a woman entrepreneur. Bookmark this great page for stories that will inspire, educate, and help you be a better small business owner.

AWBC – Association of Women’s Business Centers

The AWBC has a diverse collection of resources available for you as a female entrepreneur. You can attend webinars, find events and conferences near you, read helpful articles to grow your business, and more. Find your nearest women’s business center for training and more localized resources. If you become a member, your membership provides you with tangible benefits including a mentor program, a free Constant Contact account, a Quickbooks teaching license, a unified voice for advocacy in Congress, and special resources for you to better run your small business.

NAWBO – National Association of Women Business Owners

NAWBO is another robust resource for women entrepreneurs. They have the usual events, helpful blog posts, news, videos, and local chapters with specialized assistance and events. Additionally, their membership offers a virtual environment where members can access special resources and connect to each other on forums.

Women Who Startup

Women Who Startup is an amazing place for women entrepreneurs to get great advice, collaboration, and networking opportunities. They are in the process of setting up half a dozen “basecamps” with monthly local events, and their website offers you access to a blog, a podcast, workshops, and more.

SCORE – Women Entrepreneurs

SCORE is a great source of free business advising for all entrepreneurs, but they have a wonderful resource page dedicated to female small business owners. Read specially targeted blog posts on topics related to being a woman in the business world, access live webinars for free, and use all SCORE’s free mentoring resources to help you run your business better.

 

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at http://opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

When Eric Torres landed Florida Medical Clinic as a client for his Tampa-based marketing agency Brandiversity, he wanted to add capacity by hiring additional staff to service the large healthcare company. With a loan from Opportunity Fund/Lending Club, Torres quickly ramped up by hiring 2.5 new employees, and opening a two-person office in Orlando.  

It’s all about timing. Helping small businesses gain access capital when it’s time to grow. That’s what our expanding partnership with Lending Club is now doing in states across the U.S.

As the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, we partnered with Lending Club, the world’s largest online credit marketplace, to serve many more small business owners looking for a responsible and responsive source of capital when it’s the right time for their businesses to grow. Through this partnership, Lending Club brings its best-in-class platform designed to attract and serve online borrowers and Opportunity Fund brings our expertise serving small business owners and entrepreneurs, offering responsible loans along with advice and support.

Responsive Lending for Business Owners

When Eric Torres, principal at Tampa-based Brandiversity – a full service advertising and marketing agency in Florida’s Tri-Counties area – landed Florida Medical Clinic as a client, he wanted to add capacity by hiring additional staff to service the large healthcare company. With a loan from Opportunity Fund/Lending Club, Torres quickly ramped up by hiring 2.5 new employees, and opening a two-person office in Orlando.

“I launched Brandiversity in 2016 because increasingly I saw that my clients here in Florida needed help reaching diverse populations with their marketing platforms. We help our clients navigate global opportunities and tailor campaigns and outreach with great results,” said Torres, who has years of experience in advertising and marketing.

With clients in the robust service industries that fuel Florida’s economy, business owners like Torres are often faced with proverbial “chicken or egg” decisions. When opportunities arise to grow their business, they need access to capital from lenders who have a track record for responsible, responsive lending.

“Working with entrepreneurs when they have an opportunity to grow their businesses is rewarding,” added Miguel Cerda, the Opportunity Fund Loan Advisor who worked with Eric Torres. “In many cases, borrowers are seeking capital to hire more employees. Our investment has a multiplier effect in local communities.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida’s small businesses employed 3.1 million people, or 43.2% of the private workforce in 2013. Those businesses make up 98.9 percent of all employers in the state. Opportunity Fund’s expansion in partnership with Lending Club allows us to respond to the growing needs of entrepreneurs in states like Florida, where economic opportunity directly translates to economic development.

“My experience with Opportunity Fund was very positive,” Torres added. “The application and funding process was simple and I had the capital I needed to respond quickly to a new client opportunity.”

By 2020 Opportunity Fund plans to invest $400 million in over 10,000 small businesses nationwide.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In fiscal year ‘16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Jimmy Orozco of Iguana’s Burritozilla in San Jose. Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose.

Made in San Jose

Iguana’s Burritozilla has been a part of the San Jose business landscape since 1994. Current CEO Jimmy Orozco started working in his uncle’s restaurant, the flagship location in downtown San Jose, when he was in high school. Since the beginning, Iguana’s has been a family owned and operated business, with Jimmy’s siblings and cousins all working together as co-owners of the franchise with four locations in Santa Clara County.

The Orozco family has built Iguana’s into a famous brand, with appearances on Travel Channel and Food Network programs. They also invest in the community by hiring staff from the neighborhoods where they open new stores and funding deejays for local high school dances.

Iguana’s success has always come from within, with Jimmy and the rest of the family bringing a “do it yourself” spirit to work every day. When Jimmy started thinking about small business financing to help open a new location in South San Jose, he needed a solution that worked for his business.

“We were turned down by a bunch of lenders,” Jimmy said. “None of them really seemed to understand the growth of our business.”

Jimmy found Opportunity Fund through the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, a research program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business that explores and expands knowledge of the Latino entrepreneurship segment in California’s economy through research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration. Opportunity Fund plus Iguana’s turned out to be the perfect recipe for success.

Big Burritos Equal Big Business

Opportunity Fund business development officer Shanna McClearn started working with Jimmy to get the funding he needed to open the new location. The $250,000 loan we closed in February 2017 made a major difference for Iguana’s.

“Without Opportunity Fund, we would probably be doing the same thing but with a little more strain on the company,” Jimmy said of their expansion. “Now we don’t have to worry so much, because the capital is there.”

Shanna’s guidance throughout the loan process was also a huge help. “Working with Shanna was refreshing and surprising, and unexpected,” Jimmy said. “She took the time to understand our business. She gets the entire picture of what we’re doing. The communication was easy and quick.”

Jimmy and Shanna - Iguana's

Jimmy and Shanna closed their deal with a handshake and an invitation to lunch (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

The new location is fast tracked for a spring grand opening, with more locations to come. Jimmy is focused on his hometown community as always, but he’s also looking to expand to locations outside Santa Clara County in the future.

“We serve college students, high school kids, local business people, locals, you name it,” Jimmy said. “Anybody who wants good food in a fun environment is welcome here.”

We’re proud to support successful local entrepreneurs like Jimmy and honored to serve family-owned small businesses. We’re especially looking forward to grabbing a taco at Iguana’s new location.

We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your toolbox for five free scheduling tools.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your toolbox for five free scheduling tools.

Appointments and shift schedules can become extremely complicated if you aren’t keeping track of everything properly. As a small business owner, your time is limited and needs to be spent on scheduling as efficiently as possible. We’ve compiled this list of tools and resources that will help you schedule employees and customers alike.

When I Work

How much it costs: Free for up to 75 employees

What it does: Scheduling and keeping track of employee shifts takes an unnecessarily large amount of your precious time. When I Work is an amazing free resource that works seamlessly between mobile and desktop to make your life easier. You can send notifications to employees about their schedules and make any changes in real time. This application also gives you a sleek, easy-to-use option for clocking-in.

Setmore

How much it costs: Free with premium paid plans

What it does: Setmore is a robust tool for scheduling appointments with customers. This software can work for many different types of small businesses. Some of the amazing features this resource offers includes making appointments for multiple employees, taking payments online, allowing clients to book online themselves, syncing your calendar with other applications, mobile alerts and integration, weekly reports on projected revenue, displaying your services with prices, a customer information management tool, and many more! Some of these features are premium, so you can customize your plan to the needs of your small business.

Sling

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Sling is another great tool for scheduling employees. This service focuses on making sure you remember the scheduling tasks you need to complete and making it easier for you to do so. Not only can you communicate with employees directly through an in-app messaging tool, but they can work out shift changes between each other and notify you instantly. Sling offers a task manager and easy-to-read shift calendar that is color-coded and able to be copied for recurring schedules. This tool is free for any size business and available for desktop and mobile devices.

10to8

How much it costs: Free with premium paid plans

What it does: 10to8 is a nice free tool for scheduling appointments with customers. The completely free plan includes 100 appointments a month, two staff logins, text and email confirmations to customers, and a whole suite of features that make appointments easy. These other features include reporting, a client information database, and online payment options. 10to8 is a great option for small business owners who want a reliable tool for simple appointment-booking at a low cost.

Smoothbook

How much it costs: Free for a limited time

What it does: Smoothbook is offering their scheduling software for free right now. If you act now before they start charging, your account will still remain free forever. This mobile-friendly tool is great for small businesses who book a large number of appointments, classes, workshops, or events. The ability to book classes with multiple customers in the same time slot is a unique and valuable feature not found in free tools. You can also take payments online, connect external online calendars, and even integrate your social media and Google Adwords accounts to track and retain clients.

 

We’re always looking for the best affordable online resources including tools to promote to small business owners like you. If you have a tool you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16 year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter

Opportunity Fund. Working Capital for Working People. opportunityfund.org