This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from December 1 through 14.

Every two weeks, we’re 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 December 1 through 14.

Northern California/Sacramento

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Evan Low
Date: December 1, 2017 | 11:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Organization: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Evan Low will be hosting his annual small business meeting in his district on December 1 in Cupertino. The meeting is comprised of 6 to 8 local small business owners from within the district from a variety of industries. The purpose of the meeting is give small business a voice and to work with the Member to make small businesses in California stronger.

If you live or have a business in the district and would like to attend this meeting please email Samantha@csba.com.

Tax Planning for the Sole Proprietor
Date: December 5, 2017 | 3:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: jpayton@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670 ext. 10
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: $10

  • Are you confused about filing taxes for your small business?
  • Do you know what expenses you can deduct on your Schedule C?
  • Are you wondering what strategies you can use to lower your income or tax liabilities?

The Tax Planning for Sole Proprietors workshop will help business owners fully understand their Schedule C – Profit or Loss from Business. The workshop explores best practices for bookkeeping to prepare for filing taxes and explains the mysteries of tax planning and quarterly payments.

Participants will learn about the deductions and strategies they can use to evaluate what they pay in taxes. When you know the rules, you will have the power to “take the ‘ax” out of tax!” Sleep better because you know you’re organized and Uncle Sam is only getting his fair share, and not more.

Join us for the presentation and Q&A session after.

Click here to register for this event.

Open Forum Workshop – Get the Answers You Need for Your Business
Date: December 12, 2017 | 4:00 pm PDT – 6:30 pm PDT
Location: Finley Center
2060 W. College Ave. Santa Rosa, CA 95401 (map it)
Contact: Jim Kane | info@score450.org | (707) 824-9862
Organizations: North Coast SCORE
Fee: $20

Let SCORE help you succeed, minimize your risk, save valuable time, and benchmark your progress. Discuss your business challenges and opportunities with experienced SCORE Mentors and other small business entrepreneurs.

This session is intended to be fully participatory where everyone has the opportunity to share and learn from each other not just from the SCORE mentors. Often the best takeaway is what you learn from another participant’s experiences. Please be prepared to share a little about your business and what you are hoping to learn from the workshop. Become aware of continuing services provided by North Coast SCORE, more than 100 years of combined experience.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Receive clear and honest feedback on your business concept
  • Establish clear next steps to move your business forward
  • Lay out a plan to fully utilize Score services and connect with your own mentor

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Tax Tips For Small Business: Pacoima
Date: December 5, 2017 | 5:00 pm PDT – 7:00 pm PDT
Location: North Valley Business Source Center
13420 Van Nuys Blvd. Suite 121 Pacoima, CA 91331 (map it)
Contact: nvbsc@vedc.org | (818) 834-0577
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free

Come receive hands-on advice to keep in your company in the good graces of our friends in the Tax Office.

Learn how to deal with the Board of Equalization, the California Employment Development Department, and the Internal Revenue Service concerning the most common and pressing tax issues affecting your business.

Click here to register for this event.

Transform Your Business – Seven Best Practices
Date: December 7, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:15 pm PDT
Location: 77-806 Flora Rd. Suite A Palm Desert, CA 92211 (map it)
Contact: Kim Scanlan | kscanlan@cvwbc.org | (760) 345.9200
Organization: Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Feeling overworked, underpaid and underappreciated? Learn how to transform your business into a business you’ll really love.

Attend this workshop and learn the 7 best practices for improving your profitability, client quality, and work/personal life balance. See how transforming your business can transform your life!

Click here to register for this event. Pre-registration is required to attend.

Common Legal Questions for Businesses
Date: December 7, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Brea Chamber of Commerce
1 Civic Center Cir. 2nd Floor Brea, CA 92870 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

Here’s your chance to get answers to your business legal questions without paying an arm and a leg.

New business owners often have questions regarding the formalities required to get their business off the ground. Here’s how this free seminar can help your small business:

  • Determine the best legal structure for their business
  • Define the common types of contracts small business owners encounter
  • Learn tips for entering contracts
  • Protect your intellectual property

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Social Media Trends 2018 Webinar
Date: December 1, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: David Calderon | calderon_david@rsccd.edu | (714) 564-5200
Organization: Orange County Small Business Development Center
Fee: Free

Social media presents a great opportunity for small business owners to engage with their customers, leverage content, and build their brands and following. Through this webinar, you will get an overview on how to take advantage of this opportunity in the digital space as we will cover hot trends for social media expected for 2018. This is your chance to get ready for the shifts in the digital world and to get a head start on leveraging trends that will be imperative to grow your business.

Click here to register for this event.

Sharing Your Business Story Through Video
Date: December 5, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

The mission of online video platforms is to give everybody a voice and to show that voice to the world.

In this session, Corissa Saint Laurent, a speaker for Google’s Get Your Business Online team will help you understand how you can get the most out of your video story by showing you the power of video through:

  • Identifying your audience
  • The golden rules of content creation
  • Concepting, scripting, and producing a video

Click here to register for this event.

Access to capital for LGBT businesses
Date: December 13, 2017 | 8:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Valerie Maher | valerie.maher@sba.gov
Organization: SBA Houston District Office
Fee: Free

This FREE webinar helps entrepreneurs and small business owners learn the different avenues to access capital, focusing on SBA loan programs and also non-traditional fund sources!

This webinar is brought to you by the US Small Business Administration and the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce. Webinar will also allow for Q&A.

The webinar series will prepare attendees to learn about:

  • The Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce
  • SBA loan programs
  • What do lenders look for
  • How to find a lender
  • Non-traditional fund sources (SBIC, SBIR/STTR)

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 tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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

Everybody knows that a loan is not a free bundle of money. Loans come with fees and interest, and you end up paying more than the original amount you received. The true cost of a loan can get confusing and expensive. Read how much a loan really costs.

Everybody knows that a loan is not a free bundle of money. Loans come with fees and interest, and you end up paying more than the original amount you received. The true cost of a loan can get confusing and expensive. Read how much a loan really costs.

 

That’s right, you will pay more for a loan than you borrowed

As a small business owner, you have probably had some experience with loans. Whether you’ve gotten a working capital loan for your business or have a credit card you’re making payments on, you have paid interest on money you borrowed. Despite how common credit is in our culture, we don’t sit down and think about how much interest we will actually pay over time.

If we take “8% fixed interest rate” for example, you might assume they will pay 8% of the amount of money they borrowed. Interest isn’t that simple. For each month you still owe money, you will pay 8% of how much is left over that month. Good news: the amount of interest accumulated each month will go down as you pay it off.

Certain types of loans can actually hurt your business

We talk a lot about how dangerous Merchant Cash Advances (MCAs) are for small businesses, but it is important to stay away from these. MCAs or payday loans take a percentage of your sales to pay off your debt. This sounds easier than putting away a large chunk of money to pay each month, but this hurts your cash flow. Additionally, you may end up paying up to 350% APR. Bad news: this means that your loan will get extremely expensive and will really hurt your small business.

APR is a good indicator of your loan’s true cost

Your Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is calculated using your monthly interest rate as well as all the fees and additional costs of a loan. This makes APR a good indicator of how much a loan costs you each year, but it can be misleading if you pay off your loan early.

A low monthly interest rate sounds good, but it is important to be aware of any other fees that add up. Your lending institution may have early repayment fees, late payment fees, collateral collection fees, origination fees for simply getting the loan, check processing fees, and many more hidden costs! Always read the fine print closely.

Know the difference between fixed and adjustable APR. If your interest rates change, this could be bad if the economy suffers. This article by Investopedia will explain APR in more depth.

Choose a trustworthy lender

The best way to avoid an expensive loan is to educate yourself and choose a lender who is trustworthy. Opportunity Fund is transparent about fees, interest rates, and how much a loan will really cost you. Check out this easy-to-use loan calculator to find out your APR and monthly payments.

 

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 tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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

Making a bad hiring decision can cost your small business precious time and money. Read these five tips for making the best hiring choice you can beyond looking for qualifications and experience.

Making a bad hiring decision can cost your small business precious time and money. Read these five tips for making the best hiring choice you can beyond looking for qualifications and experience.

 

1. Talk with a business advisor

Talking with a business advisor can really help you figure out how best to grow your small business, especially when it comes to hiring a new employee. Perhaps you are a one-person business and are looking to hire your first employee, or maybe you’ve made bad hiring decisions in the past and want to know how to do it better this time. Check out Pacific Community Ventures’ free business advising for a personal mentor to help you hire.

2. Decide what kind of help you need

As as small business owner, you don’t have unlimited funds to hire a large team of full-time employees with generous benefits and long work hours. Get creative and stretch your capital by hiring part-time workers, contractors and freelancers, and interns. If you need help with finances, consider consulting with your business advisor and outsourcing tasks to independent contractors as you need them.

3. See how well a candidate will fit in with your business

Company culture is a buzzword in the business world right now, but there is reason behind the popularity. It isn’t enough to select a candidate who qualifies for all the skills and experience you want to see, you need to make sure they will fit in with your business. If you are in the final interview stage, invite them to a team lunch and ask your other employees what they think of the candidate. Does this person believe in the same principles your business stands for? Does their working and learning style mesh with yours? It’s important to the success of your business that you have a team that respects each other and can work well together.

4. Make sure a time crunch doesn’t impact your decision

Hiring the first qualifying person who applies for your job posting because you need the position filled quickly can be a costly mistake. If you make a hasty hire, there is a risk that they don’t work out, and you will have to repeat the hiring and training process. Choose quality over quickness. Take the time to really make sure the candidate is the best fit for your small business by checking references, running a background check, interviewing other applicants for comparison, and thinking the decision over a few days before you hire them.

5. Check diversity among your employees

If you are having difficulty choosing between two really great candidates, taking a look at your current employees will help. Everyone has biases whether or not they are aware of them. Take a look around at your other employees – do you have a diverse group or are they all the same demographic? Having a diverse group of employees of different genders, ethnicities, ages, and other factors will boost the productivity and creative pool for your small business. Take a look at our blog post for a few tips on how to manage diversity and how it benefits your business.

 

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 tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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

Starting your small business and growing it from the ground up takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. You wouldn’t want all your hard work and hard-earned money getting stolen by an identity theft. Our content partner Nav warns how these thieves can wreck your business and how you can protect yourself.

Starting your small business and growing it from the ground up takes a lot of blood, sweat, and tears. You wouldn’t want all your hard work and hard-earned money getting stolen by an identity theft. Our content partner Nav.com warns how these thieves can wreck your business and how you can protect yourself.

 

You’ve put your heart and soul into launching your small business. Now you have to help customers find you. In addition to investing in sales and marketing efforts, you can get your business in front of your prospects via a variety of online sources, many of which are offer free basic listings. Here are nine essential places to start.

1. Google My Business

Your business needs to show up in Google when consumers do a local search for it. You can create a free business listing with Google My Business, Google’s official business listing process. Your business listing provides key information about your company, including hours of operation. It will also allow it to show up in Google Maps. You can add photos, printable coupons and much more. Register it online or call 1-844-491-9665. (Note that creating a business listing is different than building a website and trying to get it found in search results for specific search terms you may want to target like “Minneapolis hair salons” or “San Jose manufacturers”.)

2. Bing

Don’t overlook Bing, another popular search engine. You can list your business for free. Check first to see if Bing has already listed your business, complete your profile, then verify your listing. You’ll find complete instructions on bingplaces.com.

3. Facebook

Your business doesn’t have to have a Facebook Page, but with more than 2 billion active daily users, you may be missing out if you don’t have one. When you create your Facebook business page, you will be able to include your business location and hours, add photos and events, and interact with individuals who comment on your page. (It’s also a great way to separate your personal activity on this popular platform from that of your business.) You can create a business page on Facebook for free.

4. LinkedIn

Create a presence for your business with a LinkedIn company page which allows you to  publish information about your company, industry news and articles. It can also help with job recruitment and business development. You’ll need a verified email address to get started. There’s no cost to create the page.

5. Trip Advisor

A popular site for those planning vacations or looking for something fun to do, TripAdvisor has more than 60 million consumers search its site each month. While it’s perhaps best known for listing hotels and restaurants, many other businesses appear under the attractions category, including classes, outdoor activities, venues for indoor activities and more. Read their guidelines to see if your business qualifies, and if it does, list your business on TripAdvisor at TripAdvisor.com/GetListedNew.

6. Yelp

Millions of mobile visitors each month turn to Yelp on their mobile devices to find restaurants, local services and more. These seekers often turn into customers. Your business may already have a Yelp listing, but you want to verify yours so you can interact with them and more. You can claim your free business listing on biz.yelp.com.

7. Manta

Manta’s small business directory gets more than 15 million page views per month from customers looking for local businesses. Your free Manta company profile will allow you to add photos to your business listing and improve the appearance of your Manta profile, boost search engine rankings with consistent business listings and links from your Manta profile to your business website and get statistics on how many customers are visiting your Manta profile.

8. Dun & Bradstreet

Dun & Bradstreet is a business credit bureau. You can request a free D-U-N-S number, the identifying number for your business in D&B’s database. Getting a DUNS number won’t automatically establish a business credit rating, though. To build business credit you’ll need to also open accounts with lenders or vendors that report to D&B. Still, this is a good first step. (Once you’ve established business credit, you can check your scores for free on Nav and track your progress every month.)

9. MapQuest

Will customers need directions to your business? Make sure your business location is correct in MapQuest to reach customers that use it. You can get a free basic business listing, but to add additional information like photos or hours of operation, you’ll need to upgrade to a premium package through partner Yext.

And There’s More

There may be additional sites it will be useful for your business to appear on, depending on the type of business you own; for example, Angie’s List, Thumbtack, NextDoor.com, ConsumerAffairs.com, the Better Business Bureau and others. Just make sure you focus on those most relevant to your business. It’s easy to waste time and money on efforts that don’t produce results.

Stay In Touch

Note that once you’ve established your listings on these sites, you’ll want to monitor them regularly for corrections, comments and complaints. Many consumers make purchasing decisions based on online reviews, so don’t let negative reviews or comments go unanswered. In addition, some small business lenders are looking to online reviews as a source of valuable intelligence about a business that’s applying for small business financing with them, and negative reviews could even get you turned down for a small business loan with some sources.

Your Turn

Have you listed your business with these sites, or are there one’s we’ve missed? We’d like to hear about your experience.

 

This article originally appeared on Nav.com and was re-purposed with their permission.

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

November is full of special days dedicated to giving thanks and showing appreciation for those around us. #ChooseWomen this Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. This month, celebrate the female entrepreneurs in your community. Keep reading for small but meaningful ways to show appreciation.

November is full of special days dedicated to giving thanks and showing appreciation for those around us. #ChooseWomen this Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. This month, celebrate the female entrepreneurs in your community. Keep reading for small but meaningful ways to show appreciation.

Despite women being half of the population, they own far less businesses than men. In 2012, women own only 36% of all businesses in America. This is a ten percent increase from 1997. Let’s keep the momentum of equality in the entrepreneurial world by thanking the women who have struck out on their own and started their own businesses.

Showing your appreciation for female entrepreneurs, no matter what gender you are, will help motivate small business owners and inspire other women to become entrepreneurs.

  1. Support women-owned small businesses near you. Chances are you already frequent shops and businesses that are women-owned – you just don’t know it. Find out where they are through services and directories such as Yelp, We NYC, and your personal network. Then visit them!
  2. Donate to your local Women’s Business Development Center. For example, look into JEDI and  APISPB. Even better, if you feel like you have the expertise, volunteer to be a mentor or just help out.
  3. Join the social media movement. Share inspiring stories of female business owners, your own experiences as a women in business, local events and workshops, and just generally uplifting messages.
  4. Educate yourself. Reading news articles and blogs about women’s struggles and successes in the business world will help you better understand why Women’s Entrepreneurship Day is needed and how important it is to encourage women to start their own businesses.
  5. Be a generous tipper. Try new  women-owned restaurants and coffee shops. Support the business by tipping well and thank the owner if you see her. She will appreciate it more than you know.
  6. Check your own small business. Do you make sure to hire a diverse group of people? If you notice a lack of women in your own business, work to mitigate this problem. Women who have the opportunity to grow their careers have the opportunity to develop skills they can use to start their own businesses.
  7. Encourage your employees. As a small business owner, you have the unique position to be a role model for your employees. Worry less about your female employees leaving you to start their own businesses, and instead help them develop their career goals and aspirations. Even if they do start their own business, they will remember you and can be valuable connections.
  8. Take advantage of resources to grow your own business. If you are a women entrepreneur, there are resources out there to help you. Be proud of your accomplishments and don’t be afraid to reach out for help and opportunities to really grow your business.
  9. Volunteer to help Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. The philanthropic organization that launched this special day can use your skills and any spare time you have to give back to your community by volunteering.
  10. Spread the word. Put up a small sign in your business, start discussions with your family and friends, post to social media, and share your knowledge with employees and customers. Don’t stay silent; use your voice as a small business owner to empower and support women entrepreneurs.

 

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 tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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

Opening a brick-and-mortar location for your small business, whether it’s your first time or fifth time, can be daunting. Read these reminders for things to know and look out for before you sign on a property.

Opening a brick-and-mortar location for your small business, whether it’s your first time or fifth time, can be daunting. Read these reminders for things to know and look out for before you sign on a property.

Are you thinking about buying or renting commercial space for your small business? It’s an exciting step forward in your growth! Before the excitement (or the stress) gets to you, take the time to do your research. Investing in commercial property can get confusing and potentially expensive.

Know Your Lease Inside and Out

Take as much time as you need to review and read through any commercial real estate lease you’re considering. If a landlord is pushing you to sign right away, this is a red flag that you really should pay attention to the fine print.

Landlords and real estate agents may try to trick you into paying more than just rent. Be aware of shiny Tenant Improvement (TI) packages for improvements and physical upgrades that passes on the actual cost onto you over time. Ask about fees and costs for Common Area Maintenance (CAM) that you would be responsible for regarding hallways, parking lots, lobbies, and other shared spaces.

Learn real estate terms ahead of time and be prepared to get a second opinion from your business advisor.

Most importantly, know that you have the power to negotiate. You may not end up getting the space, but you should never buy commercial real estate that will cripple your small business with hidden fees and terms.

Visit the Property In-Person

Just as you would never buy a house or rent an apartment before you visit the place, you should know exactly what your commercial space looks and feels like before you sign the lease.

Your customers and employees may not have any parking close to your location, the real estate agent may be fudging the real square footage (don’t pay for unusable space, take your own measurements!), listing photos may have been altered, you might have a really noisy business neighbor, and many other factors that you should know before you buy.

Plan For the Future

When you are looking to for commercial real estate, you’re probably thinking about your immediate business growth needs. However, it is also important to plan for the future of your business and of the property you want to lease or buy.

One thing you should consider is if you sell your small business. If the business is assigned a new owner, will your lease transfer to the new owner? If your landlord has the right to terminate the lease in this event, that might hurt the business and your chance for a profitable sale. For brick-and-mortar small businesses, often your location is a big part of your success.

Another thing to know is liability and insurance for natural disasters and acts of vandalism. We wrote a comprehensive blog post about how to prepare and protect your small business in the event of an emergency, and it’s important to be clear what your responsibility as a tenant or new property owner is.

Make Sure You Have Enough Capital

Renting or buying commercial real estate can be much more expensive than small business owners initially think. Unexpected costs can add up fast, and it is important to maintain a positive cash flow for the success of your business. If you think you need a loan to cover the cost of expanding your business, Opportunity Fund can help.

 

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 tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from November 13 through 30.

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 November 13 through 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

The True Cost of IT issues
Date: November 14, 2017 |1:00 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6820
Organization: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
Fee: Free

This class is designed to help business owners and leaders understand the way technology can add to, or destroy their bottom line.

We’ll focus not on the technology itself, but the way we think about risk and cost associated with our choices concerning technology.

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Jim Wood
Date: November 15, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Santa Rosa—Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Organizations: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Jim Wood will be hosting his annual small business meeting in his district on November 15th in Santa Rosa. The meeting is comprised of 6 to 8 local small business owners from within the district from a variety of industries. The purpose of the meeting is give small business a voice and to work with the Member to make small businesses in California stronger.

If you live or have a business in the district and would like to attend this meeting please email Samantha@csba.com.

Website Best Practices for Beginners
Date: November 16, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: College of Marin Building AC, Room 105
835 College Ave. Kentfield, CA 94909 (map it)
Contact: Miriam Karell | miriam@marinsbdc.org | (415) 755-1100
Organization: Marin SBDC
Fee: Free

Learn how to save time and frustration and create a more effective website with the basic principles of web design—no experience in web design or technical background necessary!

This workshop is for small business owners who are developing or maintaining their own website and want to understand the basic principles of effective website design. This is not a technical class nor do we discuss advanced search engine optimization. It does not require any specific background and we will avoid technical terms as much as possible so that everyone can understand.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Boots to Business Entrepreneurship Course
Date: November 15-16, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: 14th and C St. Bldg 13150, Camp Pendleton, CA 92055 (map it)
Contact: Mike Sovacool | michael.sovacool@sba.gov | (619) 727-4881
Organization: SBA San Diego District Office
Fee: Free

Join the SBA for a Boots to Business Training Program, a two-day, free seminar designed for veterans interested in entrepreneurship.

The workshop is open to service members and their dependents transitioning or retiring from the U.S. military. To learn more information about Boots to Business, please email boots-to-business@sba.gov  call (202) 205-8381. For more SBA resources for veterans, visit SBA.gov/vets.

Click here to register for this event.

Murrieta Business Round table
Date: November 15, 2017 | 8:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Murrieta Innovation Center
26442 Beckman Ct. Murrieta, CA 92562 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini | diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: Free

Come join business leaders and guest speakers in a great networking opportunities at a business round table meeting. This is a wonderful way to meet other business owners and discuss important topics crucial to the success of your business.

Don’t miss out on this great networking opportunity. Join us for this monthly meeting recurring on the third Wednesday of every month.

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Matt Dababneh
Date: November 17, 2017 | 1:30 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: Van Nuys, CA—Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Contact: samantha@csba.com
Organizations: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Matt Dababneh will be hosting his annual small business meeting in his district on November 17th in Van Nuys. The meeting is comprised of 6 to 8 local small business owners from within the district from a variety of industries. The purpose of the meeting is give small business a voice and to work with the Member to make small businesses in California stronger.

If you live or have a business in the district and would like to attend this meeting please email Samantha@csba.com.

Virtual

Market Research for Small Business: What is it and Why do it?
Date: November 15, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Jenny Payton | jpayton@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670 ext. 10
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Understanding your potential customers is one of the most important keys to effective marketing. Knowing where to find them and how to speak their language translates into sales.

Before you start or expand your business, be wise and test the viability of your product or service. Learn all you can about the industry, demographics, trends, and potential customer buying habits.

This webinar is an overview of what market research is and how you can use it to start and grow your small business. We’ll cover your options to conduct market research as a small business with limited resources.

We’ll also talk about free and inexpensive ways to get research including downloading an industry report, attending an industry event, using focus groups and surveys, and crawling social media. For businesses with an international reach, we’ll also discuss resources for expanding into global markets.

The content will instantly applicable to start-ups and existing businesses. It may be especially relevant for any entrepreneur looking for funding. Empower your business decisions with data and knowledge.

Click here to register for this event.

Apps Unleashed: Grow Your Business Using Just Your Phone
Date: November 16, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

A smartphone or tablet is an incredibly powerful computer, communication device, and online marketing tool—right in your pocket! There are hundreds of free and inexpensive apps at your disposal that can drive sales, improve communication with your customers, and market your business. Join this free webinar to learn how to unleash the power of your mobile device:

  • How to spot the must-have apps: including both the new and the obscure you’ve never heard of
  • How to use apps for maximum impact
  • How to utilize apps in conjunction with your other marketing efforts to magnify results

This session is designed for everyone. Beginners will not feel lost, but advanced users can learn something new.

Click here to register for this event.

Blogging to Boost Your Business
Date: November 16, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 2:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $10

Discover how you can generate leads with a business blog. In this online workshop, you’ll learn blogging essentials including:

  • Tips on what to post
  • Keys to creating great content
  • Ways to attract attention with powerful headlines
  • And more!

A link to join the webinar will be sent the day before the event.

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 tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

Visit us online at opportunityfundloan.org and 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 business tools for veterans.

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 business tools for veterans.

Whether you’ve just left the service and are looking to start your own small business or are already a business owner and just need a little help, there are free resources out there for you. We’ve compiled this list of tools and resources that will help you find mentoring, networking, workshops, and a solid foundation of knowledge to successfully grow your small business as a veteran.

Veterans Business Resource Center

How much it costs: Free

What it does: The Veterans Business Resource Center is just that – an online center for resources. You can find information about the Boots to Business program, which offers instructional courses and support located online and at military bases. Other resources available through Vetbiz include training, networking events, small business counseling, and even a blog.

Bunker Labs

How much it costs: Free

What it does: With about a dozen locations across the country, Bunker Labs is a veteran-owned hotspot for helpful networking, workshops, and programs designed to help you and the military community. They also offer a community mobile app to stay connected with event calendars, business collaboration, messaging, and more. If you’re tired of dusty, government-operated organizations, Bunker Labs is perfect for your entrepreneurial style.

Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans

How much it costs: Free for post 9/11 disabled veterans and families

What it does: The Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with disabilities (EBV) is a three-part program designed to help you succeed in starting and running your own business. This immersive bootcamp is focused on training through a higher education setting. Phase one is an online course, phase two is a short residency at a participating EBV university, and phase three is year-long mentorship and support through the program’s mentors, network, and partners.

Veteran’s Affairs

How much it costs: Free

What it does: If you’re a vet, you are probably already familiar with Veteran’s Affairs. But did you know they have an office dedicated to helping you start and grow your small business. Their Veteran’s Entrepreneur Portal offers contracting assistance, workshops, interactive online tools, training, certification as a veteran-owned business, and many more tools and resources for you!

Honor, Courage, Commitment

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Honor, Courage, Commitment (HCC) is a Texas-based, veteran-run organization designed to empower veteran entrepreneurs and keep you connected to the military community even after you’ve left the service. They offer training and mentoring, workshops and networking opportunities, and reintegration programs through community service. Take a look at what HCC offers and see if they can help you and your small business.

 

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

Shannen needed to purchase better equipment to grow her business. Thanks to our partnership with Lending Club, we’re helping Shannen reach her goals with our small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Read about Shannen Enos of Enos CPR Services. Shannen needed to purchase better equipment to grow her business. Thanks to our partnership with Lending Club, we’re helping Shannen reach her goals with our small business loans.

A Hands-on Entrepreneur

Shannen Enos started her CPR and first aid training business, Enos CPR Services, in August 2007. As an independent contractor for the American Heart Association, Shannen uses her decades of experience as a registered nurse to teach an essential life saving skill.

Through Enos CPR, Shannen provides training for companies that ask their employees to become certified in CPR, first aid, and automated external defibrillator (AED) use. Her work has taken her to teach at workplaces all around the Bay Area plus six states outside of California.

Like many small business owners, Shannen does it all for her company. On top of running her training classes, she’s the one who balances the books, maintains schedules, and develops client relationships. She also works part time as an emergency room nurse at Kaiser Walnut Creek.

Shannen knows what she needs to keep her business running well, so when she reached out to lenders to find a small business loan, she was surprised to run into several obstacles to funding.

“I needed to upgrade my equipment to offer more in-depth classes,” Shannen said. “Every single place I turned to for lending shut the door on me. They didn’t see my business growth. I never pay my bills late. I represent myself well as a business owner and a person. It felt like those lenders weren’t giving me a chance to prove it.”

She almost gave up. Then she tried one more lender.

Growing a Healthy Business

Shannen came to Opportunity Fund through our partnership with Lending Club. Based on her previous experience in business lending, she came into the process feeling skeptical.

“I figured Opportunity Fund was another company that would shut the door on me,” she said. “Opportunity Fund got back to me the very next day, apologizing for my bad experiences and saying they wanted to help.”

We worked with Shannen to close a $15,000 loan in May 2016–the first ever loan in our Lending Club partnership!

Shannen Enos - Enos CPR Services

Shannen keeps her students engaged through hands-on instruction and real world life-saving lessons (photo courtesy of Christian Peacock)

“I never knew how difficult it would be to get funding,” Shannen said. “With Opportunity Fund. I didn’t feel pushed aside. We had conversations about me as a person and me as a business owner.”

Now that Shannen has the working capital she needs for her business, she can focus on helping others learn CPR and potentially save a life. She even taught a class for our staff at Opportunity Fund’s San Jose headquarters in November 2016.

We’re proud to support hardworking entrepreneurs who make a difference, and we’re happy to help Shannen grow her business.


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

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