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 15 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 December 15 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

CommUNITY Cafe
Date: December 19, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: 2150 Allston Way Suite 400 Berkeley, CA 94704 (map it)
Contact: Berkeley@Impacthubbayarea.com | (510) 649-7700
Organizations: Impact Hub Berkeley
Fee: Free

Impact Hub Berkeley is excited to announce CommUNITY Cafe, on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 9:30am.

Each CommUNITY Cafe session will allow one group to present about their business or project and receive feedback, suggestions, and connection with the wider community. The main purpose is to get everyone to know the projects that are going on in the area, gain new connections, and discover new opportunities.

All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you there. RSVP to reserve your spot and make sure there are enough doughnuts for everyone.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Literacy Workshop
Date: December 19, 2017 | 7:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Oakland Financial Center
7901 Oakport St. Suite 2800 Oakland, CA 94621 (map it)
Contact: info@worldsystembuilder.com | (408) 941-1838
Organization: World System Builder
Fee: Free

World System Builder is a community of financial professionals on a mission to deliver the best financial education and revolutionize the financial service industry through a reliable, build-able system.

Join the World System Builder team for a free financial literacy workshop every Tuesday. Topics rotate each week and include:

  • Increase cash flow, debt management, emergency funds
  • Build strong financial foundation, proper protection
  • Build wealth, asset accumulation, saving for your child’s education
  • Retirement planning
  • Long-term care, Medicare basic, wealth preservation

Click here to register for this event.

Starting a Small Business – Lodi
Date: December 21, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Lodi Chamber of Commerce
35 S. School St. Lodi, CA 95240 (map it)
Contact: sbdc@deltacollege.edu | (209) 954-5089
Organization: Northeastern California Small Business Development Center – San Joaquin Delta College
Fee: $15

This informative workshop is a great place to start planning and getting your business started on the right foot.

Topics for this one-hour session include:

  • Legal requirements and regulations
  • Sources of financing
  • Free business resources

At the end of the workshop, you can schedule your first individualized consulting session to work specifically on your business. That session and all subsequent consulting sessions are always confidential and without charge.

Click here to register for this event. This workshop is also offered in Stockton on December 27. Registration is $25. Click here for more information.

Southern California/San Diego

Work Smarter, Not Harder – WordPress for Small Business
Date: December 18, 2017 | 10:30 am PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Webster University
32 Discovery #250 Irvine, CA 92618 (map it)
Contact: workshops@score114.org | 714-550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

WordPress is the fastest growing and most popular website platform for all levels of business, but especially small business. The amazing selection of features, options and benefits that attracted Samsung, Ford, EBay, GM and CNN to WordPress are the same for Small Business Owners everywhere.

We will discuss the following topics during our fact filled WordPress presentation:

  • What is WordPress?
  • Why is WordPress Perfect for Small Businesses?
  • What is Responsive Design & Why Do You Need It?
  • What are Website Best Practices?
  • Why Convert Your Site to WordPress?
  • What is Google Analytics?—An Overview
  • How to “Do it Right”?—Case Studies
  • What are the Top 10 WordPress Plugins?

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with State Senator Joel Anderson
Date: December 20, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: El Cajon—Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Contact: samantha@csba.com
Organization: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

State senator Joel Anderson will be hosting his annual small business meeting in his district on December 20 in El Cajon. 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.

Costing, Pricing, & Break Even
Date: December 7, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Fullerton Public Library Main Branch
353 W. Commonwealth Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

How do you price your product or service? Is it at a level that generates a profit or are you losing money and burning through cash?

All businesses face this challenge. Before establishing prices it is necessary to understand your specific marketing goals, the factors that influence pricing strategy, and all possible pricing strategies.

Pricing is only part of the issue. Are you aware of the costs of your product or service?  How much do your employees cost and how do they impact pricing? How do your costs behave as sales increase or decrease?  

This workshop also addresses the following questions:

  • What annual sales level is required to achieve a sustainable cash flow position?
  • What annual or monthly sales do I need to achieve my targeted cash flow?
  • Is it a good idea to invest in a larger or nicer facility?
  • Should I hire full time or part time employees?  

This workshop is designed for entrepreneurs who are preparing business plans or financial projections.  Information from this workshop is also helpful if you are introducing a new product or service and want a more thorough understanding of pricing strategy.  Knowledge of financial statements would be useful but not necessary.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Been There, Done That! Podcast # 54 Maximize Twitter Advertising ROI
Date: On Demand Download
Location: Online—Podcast
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Learn how to increase website clicks and conversions by tweeting during live events and by tapping into followers of thought leaders for a particular genre that resonates with your target audience.

In this episode, Mical Johnson of Omen Interactive, a veteran of the Navy and nearly two decades in digital marketing, shares best practices to maximize the return on your Twitter advertising investment including geo-targeting, use of Twitter Cards, automatic bids, and more.

SCORE is proud to partner with Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources and the speaker to offer this program. FREE to download and listen.

Click here to listen and download.

Simplifying Social Media for Solopreneurs – Live Webinar
Date: December 19, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Social media might be the last thing on the minds of time-strapped solopreneurs and freelancers. But with a well-planned strategy, even the self-employed can make the most of these powerful and free marketing tools.

Join us for this seminar where we will discuss:

  • Which social media platforms to use if you are crunched for time
  • How to get the most out of your social media activities
  • How to align your social goals to business goals

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital 101: Funding Options to Start and Grow Your Business
Date: December 27, 2017 | 11:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contacto: Xiomara Peña
Organización: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

Are you having trouble obtaining funding for your business? Join Small Business Majority for a free national webinar where we will help you navigate the funding landscape and connect you with resources to help you obtain the capital you need to start and grow your business.

For entrepreneurs, getting a loan could mean the difference between success and failure, whether it’s used for renovation, purchasing equipment or working capital. However, one of the biggest challenges facing small business owners and entrepreneurs has been and continues to be the inability to access sufficient credit and capital. If you’ve been turned down by a bank, don’t feel bad. You’re far from alone.

Topics of discussion include:

  • An overview of alternative lending options including microloans, SBA’s loan guarantee program, community banks and credit unions, CDFIs, reputable online lenders and crowdfunding
  • Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights
  • Key questions to consider when seeking funding
  • Tips to help determine the best option for your small business
  • Helpful tools and resources

A question and answer period will follow.

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

Just like you protect your home, personal car, and belongings with insurance, you should protect your small business with insurance. Our content partner Nav explains four basic types of insurance every business should get.

Just like you protect your home, personal car, and belongings with insurance, you should protect your small business with insurance. Our content partner Nav.com explains four basic types of insurance every business should get.

 

There are a few things every business needs just to get by: a solid business plan, adequate startup capital, good credit (personal and business-wise, which you can check for free on Nav), and, yes, comprehensive insurance.

Of course, depending on the size and type of business you’re running, “comprehensive” can mean a number of things. There’s a boatload of business insurance policies on the market; not to mention, if you have employees, state law comes into play. But there are some ways to boil down the basics. Here’s a primer on insuring your business.

What Basic Insurance Does a Business Need?

Per the Insurance Information Institute, most businesses need, at a minimum, four types of coverage: property insurance, liability insurance, business vehicle insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

1. Commercial Property Insurance

Property insurance covers (you guessed it) the property your business operates out of and any vital items inside (think office furniture, equipment, the products in stock, computers, etc.). Property insurance provides compensation if the covered location or items are lost, damaged or stolen. Note: It’s a good idea to carry business property insurance even if you’re operating out of your garage or home office, since your homeowners’ insurance likely doesn’t provide adequate coverage — even if you add a rider that covers business property losses.

2. Liability Insurance

Liability insurance protects you in the event your business gets sued for negligence. Liability insurance covers legal expenses, damages (should you lose the case) and medical bills incurred by someone hurt by your business.

There are specialized types of liability insurance you might need, again, depending on the size and scope of your business. That includes professional liability insurance — commonly known as errors and omissions insurance (E&O) — which covers you against malpractice. (So physicians or lawyers, for instance, would likely opt for an E&O policy.) There’s also specialized product liability insurance designed to cover you if a defective product causes someone harm.

3. Business Vehicle Insurance

This policy covers any vehicles you use for operations. Keep in mind, you likely need business vehicle insurance, even if the only ride you’re using is your own. Most standard auto insurance policies won’t cover cars used primarily for business.

4. Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages if an employee is injured on the job. Laws vary by state, but almost all of them (excluding Texas) require hiring businesses to carry workers’ compensation coverage. Most companies are also required by law to pay unemployment insurance taxes. And, in some states, you’ll need disability insurance if you have employees as well. The Small Business Administration (SBA) suggests visitings your local Workers’ Compensation Office to find out exactly what insurance your state requires.

What’s a Business Owner’s Policy?

If all this insurance lingo is stressing you out, take a deep breath. Sure, you might need a multitude of policies, but insurance companies offer what’s known as a business owner’s policy (BOP), which packages coverage. According to the SBA, BOPs commonly include property insurance, general liability insurance and business interruption insurance, which covers loss of income if a company can’t operate due to disaster, and other common policies. (Workers’ compensation insurance and other employee-centric insurance policies are generally sold separately.)  And, just like with personal insurance policies, bundling can lead to lower premiums. Of course, your business may need more coverage than a BOP provides.

How Much Coverage Does My Business Need?

That depends, of course, but you’ll want enough to at least cover all your assets. You can get an idea of what amount of property insurance you’ll need by calculating the cost of your property, product equipment, etc., the Insurance Information Institute says.

Beyond that, a reputable insurance broker or agent can help you assess your business’s risk and recommend what policies you’ll need and how much coverage you should opt for. Shopping around and comparing quotes will help you get an idea of fair-market value.

 

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

Sarah sets up business owners with employee perks packages. She needed working capital to help grow her business. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Sarah can focus on her clients instead of worrying about her bottom line.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Sarah Garcia of Allegiance Employee Perks in San Diego. Sarah sets up business owners with employee perks packages. She needed working capital to help grow her business. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Sarah can focus on her clients instead of worrying about her bottom line

Making Work Fun

Sarah Garcia established Allegiance Employee Perks in the Kearny Mesa area of San Diego in 2015. She got her start in corporate events coordination in after switching jobs as a dispatcher for a security company in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Allegiance Employee Perks specializes in offering employee discounts to business owners and scheduling employee appreciation days featuring local clients, including popular restaurants, sports teams, and golf courses. They also provide connections to these local clients as fundraisers for nonprofits like Susan G. Komen and the La Jolla VA Hospital.

Sarah had a vision for success in San Diego. She took advantage of a new opportunity when her company signed the Major League Baseball San Diego Padres as a client.

“I saw myself as a business owner,” she said. “Once we acquired the Padres as a client, I had the opportunity to open our office here.”

Sarah works with a small but mighty team of four women who coordinate the connections to sports teams and other hot tickets in the San Diego area. As Sarah grows her business, she needs access to working capital to retain her staff. Her natural networking ability led her to Opportunity Fund.

Starting a Lending Relationship

Sarah got a referral to Opportunity Fund after meeting with an advisor at the San Diego district office of the U.S. Small Business Association. She called loan consultant Byron Escobar, who helped close a $2,600 loan in February 2017 for Allegiance Employee Perks.

The working capital helped her incorporate the company and made it easy to start marketing and recruiting projects to grow her business.

“There were lots of high interest loans from other lenders available,” she said. “I wasn’t interested.”

Sarah and Byron - Allegiance Employee Perks

Sarah and Byron celebrate a successful loan deal (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

The connection to Opportunity Fund has allowed Sarah to build a long-term lending relationship that fits the needs of her business. “Without Opportunity Fund, I would have struggled a lot longer,” she said. “Before, I didn’t have access to many resources. Opportunity Fund is the right place to go.”

Sarah’s next goal is to sign more San Diego area clients and eventually expand to the Sacramento market. We’ll be there to help Sarah keep her entrepreneurial dreams alive and kicking with our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

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 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 free ecommerce 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 ecommerce tools.

Online retail is an important, exciting step in the growth of your small business. Once you’ve decided how you want to start selling online, look for free resources that will fit your needs.We’ve compiled this list of tools and resources that will help you build, manage, and sell your products online.

 

Bonanza

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Whether or not you are already selling online, Bonanza is an easy way to get your items out to an even greater market with minimal effort. You can start selling immediately for free or upload an inventory list from your current ecommerce platform. This service only charges fees when you sell your item, you don’t have to front any money just to get your items listed. Their 9% fee is low-cost compared to other bigger ecommerce platforms, and it includes Google advertising!

Prestashop

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Prestashop is really great for launching your small business’ own ecommerce website. If you don’t want to pay another company to host your items, this is a good route to go. Choose from shop templates and tools to build your ecommerce site through Prestashop, accept credit cards and Paypal securely, capture customers on mobile, take advantage of built-in SEO tools, track stock inventory, get the latest legal and tax changes, and even more. Here are some free design tools to help you build your ecommerce site. Everything is free with no selling fees, but you can pay for additional widgets to expand your selling power.

Woocommerce

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Woocommerce is a plugin for WordPress to enable you to sell on your business’ existing website. In addition to standard hosting features, you get to keep control of your customer’s data with secure passcodes. This free service also offers a storefront template so you don’t have to worry about your WordPress theme conflicting with optional paid widgets that you can add to your account.

Cubecart

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Cubecart is a completely free, open source ecommerce tool for more tech-savvy business owners. However, if you like what they offer but don’t know how to set it up, look into hiring a low-cost freelancer to help you out. Cubecart’s free features are extensive with fully customizable code for coupons, catalogs, template skins, social plugins, item categories, shipping quotes, sales statistics, language options, newsletters, Google Analytics, foreign currency support, contact forms, database backup, affiliate program trackers, and dozens more!

Opencart

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Opencart is an open source tool with easy setup for business owners with limited coding knowledge. Set up your shop with multiple languages and currencies, built-in affiliate programs, basic sales reporting and analytics, automatic mobile responsiveness, and more extensions that you can buy in their marketplace to advance your ecommerce site or integrate your brick-and-mortar business with your online storefront.

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 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 free ecommerce 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 ecommerce tools.

Online retail is an important, exciting step in the growth of your small business. Once you’ve decided how you want to start selling online, look for free resources that will fit your needs. We’ve compiled this list of tools and resources that will help you build, manage, and sell your products online.

Bonanza

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Whether or not you are already selling online, Bonanza is an easy way to get your items out to an even greater market with minimal effort. You can start selling immediately for free or upload an inventory list from your current ecommerce platform. This service only charges fees when you sell your item, you don’t have to front any money just to get your items listed. Their 9% fee is low-cost compared to other bigger ecommerce platforms, and it includes Google advertising!

Prestashop

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Prestashop is really great for launching your small business’ own ecommerce website. If you don’t want to pay another company to host your items, this is a good route to go. Choose from shop templates and tools to build your ecommerce site through Prestashop, accept credit cards and Paypal securely, capture customers on mobile, take advantage of built-in SEO tools, track stock inventory, get the latest legal and tax changes, and even more. Here are some free design tools to help you build your ecommerce site. Everything is free with no selling fees, but you can pay for additional widgets to expand your selling power.

Woocommerce

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Woocommerce is a plugin for WordPress to enable you to conveniently sell on your business’ existing website. In addition to standard hosting features, you get to keep control of your customer’s data with secure passcodes. This free service also offers a storefront template so you don’t have to worry about your WordPress theme conflicting with optional paid widgets that you can add to your account.

Cubecart

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Cubecart is a completely free, open source ecommerce tool for more tech-savvy business owners. However, if you like what they offer but don’t know how to set it up, look into hiring a low-cost freelancer to help you out. Cubecart’s free features are extensive with fully customizable code for coupons, catalogs, template skins, social plugins, item categories, shipping quotes, sales statistics, language options, newsletters, Google Analytics, foreign currency support, contact forms, database backup, affiliate program trackers, and dozens more!

Opencart

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Opencart is an open source tool with easy setup for business owners with limited coding knowledge. Set up your shop with multiple languages and currencies, built-in affiliate programs, basic sales reporting and analytics, automatic mobile responsiveness, and more extensions that you can buy in their marketplace to advance your ecommerce site or integrate your brick-and-mortar business with your online storefront.

 

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 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

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