After 30 years in the medical consulting field, Jim started a new business in addiction recovery services. He built Newport Health Services into a successful sober living program in Southern California. When he needed a small business loan to establish his company’s first sober living home, Opportunity Fund and Lending Club were there to help.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.

After 30 years in the medical consulting field, Jim started a new business in addiction recovery services. He built Newport Health Services into a successful sober living program in Southern California. When he needed a small business loan to establish his company’s first sober living home, Opportunity Fund and Lending Club were there to help.

Supportive Solutions for Recovery

Jim Parrott started Newport Health Services and Axiom Recovery in 2016. After three decades in medical practice management and consulting, he saw a need to connect recovering addicts to services that help them transition from prison to the final stages of recovery.

Newport Health Services began from Jim’s experience with addiction in his own family. Inspired by his son’s journey through incarceration and addiction recovery, Jim began his work with two business partners, also in recovery and have managed similar sober living connection programs.

“In California there’s a shortage of sober living beds, anywhere from 10,000 to 15,000 across the state,” Jim said. “In 2017, we had room for 20 beds and filled all of them within 10 days.”

Newport Health Services works with everyone central to the client’s life post-prison: probation officers, court appointed attorneys, rehabilitation centers, and families to locate and gain admittance to local rehabilitation facilities best suited to help them with recovery. Newport Health Services provides no cost help to clients and their families.

“Our first year, we helped about 200 inmates primarily in the two large jails in Orange County,” Jim said.

The company established its first sober living facility under the Axiom Recovery name thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund. He came to us through our partnership with Lending Club. The $21,000 loan helped establish the four unit apartment complex in Huntington Beach.

Helping Small Businesses Create Change in the Community

The working capital provided everything they needed to make the space livable. Jim and his staff took an unfurnished building and turned it into a safe place for clients to recover. The team opened a second sober living home also in Huntington Beach with space for up to 10 people, then opened a new detox center in the same town with space for six residents in March.

Newport Health Services

Newport Health Services provides addiction recovery support in safe, homey environment (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)

With 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur with several successful enterprises under his belt, Jim knows what to look for in a small business lender. “I felt Opportunity Fund was interested in helping small businesses succeed rather than making a high interest loan and walking away,” he said. “Other lenders I talked to tried too hard to sell me a product that was too expensive and didn’t fit what we needed.”

Our business loan advisor Rexie Dumagan helped Jim get the money he needed quickly to close on the apartment unit he wanted for his business. Jim pointed to that as a key moment for his small business. “It would have been very difficult for me to write a check for $20,000 to get started on the first sober living house,” he said.

Jim hopes to expand Newport Health Services by opening an individual outpatient therapy center. Whatever new ventures the company takes in addiction recovery and sober living, Jim keeps his focus on expanding within Southern California. He’s also expressed his hope to contribute to Opportunity Fund in the future.

We’re proud to support entrepreneurs like Jim who make a positive impact in their community.

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.


Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

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.

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So you are considering starting a landscape business. You’ll need more than a lawnmower and a neighborhood kid in need of pocket change. Read how much starting a landscape business really costs.

So you are considering starting a landscape business. You’ll need more than a lawnmower and a neighborhood kid in need of pocket change. Read how much starting a landscape business really costs.

 

Whether you came from working as a landscaper and want to branch out with your own company or you are starting from scratch with no professional landscaping experience, this venture may end up costing you a lot more than you think. But you’ll do fine as long as you do your research, set realistic expectations, and do your due diligence with planning and business strategy.

What makes a landscape business different than any other kind?

A lot about starting a landscape business is the same as any other new business idea. You need a solid business plan, starting capital, and a lot of elbow grease. Running the business and managing employees is the same. Meticulously calculating the correct amount to charge clients and keeping exact records for your taxes is the same. But many aspects will also be different.

You won’t need real estate or a complicated e-commerce store.

Odds are you will just need a truck or van – at least to start. The bad news: Just because you don’t have any costs associated with a brick-and-mortar business, vehicles may cost more if you aren’t careful. They require individual insurance, maintenance and repairs, branding stickers and storage systems, and more. If you don’t have a backup vehicle, a breakdown could completely halt your business. The good news: The cost of commercial vehicles as well as the gas and mileage you drive them between clients are tax deductible.

Your marketing plan depends on word-of-mouth and a stunning portfolio.

Without the street traffic of restaurants and physical stores, it is vital that you get reviews and testimonials. The bad news: Negative reviews – especially when your business is new – will cost you in lost business. Investing in professional photography and a nice website to build an online portfolio can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The good news: Word-of-mouth costs absolutely nothing.

Business licenses and permits will be different,

especially if you plan to work in multiple cities. The bad news: Permits take time and money to file. Work with your legal advisor (remember their fees when you budget) to make sure you have every one you need filed correctly. The good news: Making sure your business is legitimate is worth the cost. Not only will proper paperwork establish trust with potential clients, but getting caught without them will cost you much more.

Health insurance and workers compensation are more important.

With dangerous equipment and exposure to the elements, just keep the costs in mind. The bad news: Landscaping is more physically demanding and potentially dangerous than an office or retail position. Whether you’re a solo operation or your employ a team, insurance will be more expensive. Expect higher insurance premiums, more stringent OSHA requirements, and higher workers compensation if there is an accident. The good news: There are multiple kinds of insurance your business might need, but any insurance you purchase for your business is tax deductible. Always talk with your licensed tax preparer.

Landscaping is a seasonal business.

Mild climates mean you will have business year-round, but if your area has real seasons your business will dry up in the autumn. The bad news: Droughts, recessions, and fierce competition can all cost your business a lot of money if you don’t keep a healthy reserve of working capital and regularly watch your cash flow. The good news: If you diversify your services – such as adding snow removal during the winter – you won’t lose as much in the off-season. Storms are destructive for homeowners but great for you.

Products and equipment.

Don’t fall down the slippery slope of charging a credit card and personal bank accounts to pre-purchase the things you need to complete a job. The bad news: Landscaping equipment can get expensive, and oftentimes a deposit from one client isn’t going to cover the whole cost of a new piece of equipment you need to get a job done.  The good news: In this industry, you need to ask for a deposit before any job you take on. This keeps your cash flow steady and protects your business from job cancellations.

This is when you need to look into an affordable loan from Opportunity Fund for your equipment, commercial vehicle, or working capital.

 

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.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


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 $700 million and helped thousands of 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 California. Here are the best upcoming events from December 17 through 31.

Every two weeks, we’re promoting affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in California.

Here are the best upcoming events from December 17 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

Website Building Basics—Building and Publishing Your Very Own Website
Date: December 18, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 300 Ellinwood Way—Bodega Room
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (map it)
Contact: Oscar Dominguez | (925) 671-4570
Organization: Contra Costa SBDC
Fee: Free

Join this interactive workshop for an introduction to building and publishing your very own website. The workshop is suitable for any level of experience or ability.

Bring your laptop and start working on topics like:

  • Introduction to WordPress
  • WordPress website set-up
  • WordPress Themes, plugins, and menus
  • Page and blog article creation and editing
  • Security, performance, and backup features
  • WordPress website placement on the internet
  • WordPress maintenance
  • Domain names and hosting
  • Content management system (CMS)
  • Mobile friendly and customer-centric design
  • SEO copywriting
  • Photos and videos for your website
  • Compelling calls-to-action
  • List building
  • Contact information on your site
  • Traffic measurement through analytics

Click here to register for this event.

Franchising 101 – How to Select, Finance, and Operate a Franchise
Date: December 19, 2018 | 11:00 am PDT – 12:30 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: (415) 744-4244 | sfomail@sba.gov
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration San Francisco District Office
Fee: Free

With so many different franchises for sale today, figuring out which franchise opportunity is the right business opportunity can be daunting and difficult. In this class, learn about the franchise buying process and how to successfully get into business for yourself.

We’ll cover:

  • Franchising basics
  • Factors to consider when selecting a franchise
  • Trends for today’s expanding economy
  • Franchise myths and misconceptions
  • Financing your new business
  • Average investment for franchises in the Bay Area
  • Strategies for finding the best business system for you and your family
  • Due diligence
  • Your franchise as a tangible asset
  • And more!

If you’re exploring franchise ownership, looking to become your own boss, curious about financing options, or interested in building long-term equity, this free event is a great place to start.

Click here to register for this event.

Starting a Small Business
Date: December 20, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Lodi District Chamber of Commerce
35 S. School St. Lodi, CA 95240 (map it)
Contact: (209) 954-5089
Organization: NEC Small Business Development Center—San Joaquin Delta College
Fee: $15

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

Topics for this one-hour session include:

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

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Financial Projections
Date: December 17, 2018 | 5:30 pm PDT – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: VEDC Women’s Business Center
5121 Van Nuys Blvd. Ste. 300A Sherman Oaks, CA 91403 (map it)
Contact: info@vedc.org | (818) 907-9922
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free

Join us for this free workshop on financial projections and learn the importance of key concepts for better financial management such as:

  • Record keeping
  • Assumptions for the projection
  • Financial statements, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements
  • Spreadsheets
  • Tips for success
  • And more

Click here to register for this event.

Common Legal Questions For Businesses
Date: December 20, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Fullerton Public Library Main Branch
353 W. Commonwealth Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832 (map it)
Contact: score114csm@gmail.com | (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

New business owners often have questions regarding the formalities required to get their business off the ground. Join this free seminar to help you determine the best legal structure for your business. Learn about the common types of contracts in small business with tips for entering contracts. We’ll also discuss how to protect the intellectual property of your small business.

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital
Date: December 27, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: JVS
5446 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City, CA 90230 (map it)
Contact: Nate Nguon | nnguon@pacela.org | (323) 293-6284
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: Free

Join this free workshop to learn more about where to get capital for your young business. If you’re confused by all the options, or you’re an entrepreneur or owner of a startup or growing small businesses, this seminar will help you navigate the complex world of access to capital.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Gain More Positive Online Reviews and Manage the Negative Ones
Date: December 18, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: uppervalleyscore@gmail.com | (603) 448-3491
Organization: SCORE Upper Valley (N.H.)
Fee: Free

Online reviews for your business are important now more than ever. As the digital world shapes consumer behavior, reviews on sites like Google, Facebook, and Yelp have a huge impact on your ability to grow your business.

Join this free webinar to learn how to generate 5-star reviews and how to handle negative reviews. Get started with exercises to manage your online reputation.

Click here to register for this event.

The Nuts & Bolts of Podcasting for Business Success
Date: December 20, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: uppervalleyscore@gmail.com | (603) 448-3491
Organization: SCORE Upper Valley (N.H.)
Fee: Free

Have you considered launching a podcast for your business, but thought it would take too much time? Do you hate the sound of your own voice? Does the idea of learning new technology make you break out in hives? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this presentation is for you!

Join this free webinar to discover actionable steps for creating a podcast in less time. Learn through real-world examples, along with proven techniques for repurposing content, and understand how to incorporate podcasting into your existing marketing and outreach activities.

Don’t worry: this won’t be be a tech-heavy conversation. We’ll discuss innovative techniques for launching and managing a podcast—and loving your own voice!

Join this session to learn:

  • Why a podcast is beneficial addition to your existing marketing strategies
  • How to launch a podcast, using simple on-the-go tools such as a smartphone
  • What are time-saving hacks for creating content quickly
  • Which tools are best to identify and engage an audience for your podcast
  • How to use a podcast as a networking tool at live events
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Money Now, Money Later: Wealth-Building Tactics for Small Business Owners
Date: December 23, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Bianca Blomquist
Organization: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

How are you building wealth for you and your workers? Are you considering establishing a retirement plan for yourself and your workers? Through this free webinar with Working Solutions, Small Business Majority will help you navigate the retirement landscape in California and help you sort through your options to secure your future.

Topics include:

  • An overview of the U.S. retirement savings gap, how small business is part of the solution
  • Common retirement options for small businesses in California
  • Tips to help determine the best option for your business
  • Questions you can ask prospective plan providers or brokers

A question and answer period with Working Solutions 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.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


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 $700 million and helped thousands of 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

Balancing your life and your small business is hard enough, and keeping to a business budget can be difficult. Balance your accounts easily with these five free tools.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. Here are five free budgeting tools.

Balancing your life and your small business is hard enough, and keeping to a business budget can be difficult. Balance your accounts easily with these five free tools.

Microsoft Office Business Expense Template

What it costs: Free

What it does: If your small business uses Microsoft Excel, here is a budget template for you to easily download and edit yourself. While this template focuses on expenses versus income, it is extremely detailed and includes graphs and charts to help you visualize your business expenses.

Intuit QuickBooks Annual Budget Template

What it costs: Free

What it does: If you are familiar with using spreadsheets but want to keep your budget accessible in the cloud, this easy-to-use template has all the formulas set up for you. Just enter your information, and this completely free template will do the rest. Remember to add it to your own Google Drive first so you can edit the file.

GnuCash

What it costs: Free

What it does: Using GnuCash’s open source software is a great stepping block for small businesses who want something more sophisticated and error-proof than using Excel spreadsheets but don’t have the budget to pay for fancy software. It will take some technical skill to install, but it is completely free to use and has a detailed Wiki full of instructions. GnuCash is available in several different languages and currencies; on Windows, Mac, and Linux; and as a complimentary mobile app. Highlighted features of the tool include double-entry accounting, stock/bond/mutual fund accounts,small-business accounting, reports, graphs, QIF/OFX/HBCI import, transaction matching, scheduled transactions, and financial calculations.

Mint

What it costs: Free

What it does: We’ve mentioned Intuit’s Mint before, but it really is a useful free tool for budgeting. While the service is more geared towards personal finance, it can be used for small businesses. Connect your business bank accounts and create trackable, real-time budget categories. Bonus: you can get free money tips, credit scores, bill schedules, and more.

Metabase

What it costs: Free

What it does: Metabase is an excellent open source software for business owners who want simple, clean, and useful tools. You don’t need to know any coding to set it up, visuals are more clean and modern than most open source tools, and it can be easily used by multiple team members in your business. The catch? It is a little more difficult to set up if you aren’t on a Mac.

 

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.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


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 $700 million and helped thousands of 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

There are many reasons to choose to run a home-based business: balancing a family, lack of capital for real estate, or even just the newness of your business. Whatever the reason, technology is making it easier to successfully run your small business from your home.

There are many reasons to choose to run a home-based business: balancing a family, lack of capital for real estate, or even just the newness of your business. Whatever the reason, technology is making it easier to successfully run your small business from your home.

 

5 Ways Tech Can Help Your Home-Based Business

  • Selling your products has never been easier with ecommerce. Starting an ecommerce website for your business is the best way to sell as a home-based business. Without a store-front of your own, online is the way to go. Most major shipping services also allow you to schedule package pickups from your house at no extra charge, all from the convenience of your home computer.
  • Collaborating with remote employees can be more efficient with tech tools. If you base your business out of your home, there’s a good chance you don’t have physical space for employees. Using affordable technology to collaborate with employees can help you streamline work even when you aren’t in the same room.
  • Outsource tasks to freelancers. Your home-based business needs a lot of tasks completed, often by people who you can’t afford to hire full time. The internet allows you to reach experienced professionals from all over the country to help with your projects.
  • Use Voice Assistant Technology (VAT) to manage your home business. VAT products, such as Google Home and Amazon Echo, can help you keep track of your hectic schedule. You can set appointments and task reminders, manage your home’s security (which is extremely important if your run your business out of your personal residence), track packages and shipments, dictate emails, manage finances, pull inventory and order information, order supplies, and much more.
  • Set up your “mobile office” so you can work anywhere. If you need a break and want to do work or meet clients at a coffee shop, technology can help you here too. You can buy inexpensive portable wifi routers so you have secure access to the internet, keep your files in the cloud to access them anywhere, and so much more.

 

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.

Loans are subject to credit review. Additional documentation may be required for credit approval. We are an Equal Opportunity Lender. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.


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 $700 million and helped thousands of 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

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