You need business insurance, bottom line. But do you know what type of coverage? How much coverage to buy? Start planning for success with an idea of how to approach the insurance buy with confidence.

You need business insurance, bottom line. But do you know what type of coverage? How much coverage to buy? Start planning for success with an idea of how to approach the insurance buy with confidence.

 

What Basic Insurance Does a Small Business Need?

There are so many insurance products and offers out there that it can start to feel overwhelming. You want to make sure your business is covered, but you don’t want to pay for anything unnecessary.

The four types of insurance every business needs are property insurance, liability insurance, business vehicle insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.

Commercial property insurance will protect you from theft and damages, and it is good to have even if your business operates out of your home. Homeowners insurance might not cover everything your business needs.

Liability insurance is necessary to protect you from negligence lawsuits in case someone gets hurt.

If your business uses a car, van, or truck, you’ll need business vehicle insurance. Most standard vehicle insurance policies don’t cover commercial vehicles, so make sure yours will be covered by your existing policy or a new one.

Lastly, if you have employees you will need to have workers’ compensation insurance in case there is a workplace accident.

You can read more in detail about each of these types of business insurance here. It may seem like a lot to keep track of, but if you bundle your insurance policies under a Business Owner’s Policy, you can often get lower premiums which will save you money upfront.

Do You Really Need All That Business Insurance?

Insurance premiums can add up, especially with all the kinds of policies and range of coverage your business may need, but it is worth it down the road. If you forgo buying business insurance, it will cost you much more out of pocket when something bad happens.

Specialty policies for natural disasters (such as earthquakes, forest fires, tornadoes, etc.) add more cost in the short term on top of the basics, but when an emergency happens you’ll save your business thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. If you don’t live in a vulnerable area, you might not need specialty disaster coverage – always talk with a business advisor to determine the right coverage for your business.

The good news: business insurance is tax deductible! You can save a lot of money by writing off your business insurance during tax season. Remember to talk to your certified accountant before attempting to deduct any of these – we are not tax professionals and are not offering tax advice. If you need help doing your taxes or would like free tools, check out these 5 affordable tax tools.

 

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 events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events from February 15 through 28.

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 February 15 through 28.

Northern California/Sacramento

Women Mentoring Women
Date: February 19, 2019 | 4:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 1470 Fruitvale Ave. Oakland, CA 94601 (map it)
Contact: Iveeth Valerio | ivalerio@anewamerica.org | (510) 532-5240
Organization: AnewAmerica Community Corporation
Fee: Free

Join the conversation: Women Mentoring Women Business Start-Up with Laura R. Gardea at AnewAmerica Community Corporation.

For questions or to register please call (510) 532-5240.

Legal Essentials for Doing Business Online
Date: February 20, 2019 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. #600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: mauna@startsmallthinkbig.org | (415) 966-2187
Organization: Start Small Think Big
Fee: $20

Join attorneys from Cooley LLP for a conversation on the legal basis in operating a business online.

Topics include:

  • Website Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policies, including whether and when you need to use them, what you should include, and what they mean
  • Copyright infringement issues when adding textual and photographic content to your business website and how to avoid problems
  • Social media intersection with business and law, including website comments sections and employee privacy

Click here to register for this event.

Intellectual Property: Protecting Your Ideas, Brands, Designs
Date: February 20, 2019 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 275 5th St. San Francisco, CA 94103 (map it)
Contact: Erin Morris | emorris@rencenter.org | (415) 348-6227
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: Free

You may have the right to protect your unique business name, ideas, or creations from being tarnished or knocked off by a competitor, but how do you do that affordably on a tight budget?

This workshop is an introduction to different types of intellectual property (focused primarily on copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets), and will provide you with self-help resource information to start building a simple but solid foundation of protection through rights searches, NDA’s, registrations, licenses and other tools.

Although taught by an experienced business attorney and presented by the San Francisco Community Business Law Center, this class does not constitute legal advice.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Effective Digital Marketing: Plan, Push, & Promote
Date: Starts February 19, 2019 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Gardena Valley JCI—2nd Floor
1964 W. 162nd St. Gardena, CA 90247 (map it)
Contact: Mariko Lochridge | MarikoLochridge@ltsc.org | (213) 473-1658
Organization: Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program
Fee: Free

Join APISBP for this free 8-part workshop series for entrepreneurs and social media managers and receive hands-on training to start, improve, and build their digital marketing campaigns.  

Learn how to create an effective Kickstarter campaign and make your goal or launch a brand on Instagram and create effective digital footprints, and more!

Classes meet weekly on Tuesdays starting February 19th through April 2nd at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute.

Click here to register for this event.

Drive New Business with Social Media
Date: February 21, 2019 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

From understanding the different social media platforms, to choosing what to say and where to say it, this workshop will give you the keys to the most effective social media marketing for you.

Let instructor Joan Stanford of Jazzy Pen make social media easy so you can capture likes, shares, and customers!

Click here to register for this event.

Understanding Legal Structures
Date: February 5, 2019 | 5:30 pm PDT – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: BusinessSource Center North Valley
13420 Van Nuys Blvd. Ste. 121 Pacoima, CA 91331 (map it)
Contact: info@vedc.org | (818) 834-0577
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free

This class will help you learn about the different business structures and the required licenses and permits your business may need.

Topics include:

  • Corporations & LLC’s
  • Copyrights
  • Trademarks
  • DBA Definition

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Turning Your Passion Into A Business On Etsy
Date: February 19, 2019 | 3:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Sarah Espinosa | sespinos@uncfsu.edu | (910) 672-2683
Organization: Fayetteville State University Veterans Business Outreach Center
Fee: Free

Etsy is a rapidly growing online marketplace for selling handmade goods, vintage items, and craft supplies. With more than 54 million members, there’s no better place to launch your own creative small business. In fact, sellers took home over 34 billion in sales in 2017 alone.

Attend this class to learn how to sell your artwork, jewelry, crafts, and vintage items.

How-to topics include:

  • Grow your brand and reach new customers with SEO tools
  • Register and start selling on Etsy
  • Share the story of your craft in your profile, item photos, and shop banner
  • Escape the 9-5 grind and focus on your passion
  • Understand the basics of your small business strategy with an in-depth look at Etsy’s tools to help you succeed online

Click here to register for this event.

Build & Protect Your Business Credit Score Webinar
Date: February 26, 2019 | 8:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: atu@asbtdc.org | (479) 356-2067
Organization: Arkansas Tech University Small Business and Technology Development Center
Fee: Free

Like individuals, businesses have their own credit scores. However, the way they are reported and your ability to freeze them is quite different. Strong business credit can open up opportunities to grow your business, including attractive financing options. You need to be proactive to build and protect your commercial credit ratings.

Join credit expert Gerri Detweiler, education director for Nav, on this free webinar as she explains how to build, leverage and protect your business credit.

Topics include:

  • The different credit bureaus compile these reports and how they are used
  • Business credit scores and the factors that help build strong scores
  • Key ways business credit is different from personal
  • Quick steps you can take now to build business credit
  • Free ways to monitor your business credit

Click here to register for this event.

Your 2019 Marketing Tune-Up: Save Time and Money with Inquiry
Date: February 27, 2019 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Are you ready to really rock your marketing in 2019? Join this interactive webinar to gain clarity and next steps for your 2019 marketing visions and plans.

Before spending time or money on marketing strategies, get clear on who you serve, your industry resources, and potential collaborators. You’ll learn how to do your due diligence before spending a dime on efforts that don’t work.

Small business owners can learn the basics behind great marketing to engage and attract clients all year long. Join us to gain new skills in creating content, designing posts, developing marketing collateral, and updating your website.

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

As a business owner, it is imperative to stay on top of new laws and any changes to labor codes. Here is a short list of California laws that take effect this year, so you can stay in compliance.

As a business owner, it is imperative to stay on top of new laws and any changes to labor codes. Here is a short list of California laws that take effect this year, so you can stay in compliance.

 

When new laws are made, it is your duty to keep yourself informed. This short list captures some of what went into effect recently. Remember to always consult your legal advisor about how laws affect your business specifically and how to best comply with them, Opportunity Fund is not a legal expert.

New Laws Taking Effect In California This Year

SB 1235 requires commercial lenders’ to disclose accurate and honest information about business loans. Opportunity Fund helped pass the nation’s first Truth-in-Lending bill for small businesses (SB 1235) in Sacramento.  This bill provides a common-sense solution to the problem of misleading disclosures on high-cost business financing by requiring all lenders to clearly and consistently communicate their terms to small businesses seeking financing. Read more about the bill here to know your rights as an entrepreneur.

“Until now, our Truth in Lending laws have applied only to consumer finance. This law will make California a leader in placing the interests of small business owners on par with the big players in the financial industry. Opportunity Fund played an important role in highlighting the need for this law and helping us draft and pass the bill that made it a reality.” – Steve Glazer, California Senator.

AB 1976 expands required accommodations for lactation in the workplace. Existing law requires employers to provide a reasonable amount of break time for lactating employees to pump or breastfeed their infants in a private place other than a toilet stall. Now, your business must make reasonable efforts to provide a private location within close proximity to the workplace other than a bathroom. There are additional details regarding temporary locations and agricultural businesses which you can read here.

SB 1343 expands sexual harassment training requirements from businesses who employ 50 or more people to include those who employ 5 or more. If your small business meets this new requirement, you must provide 2 hours of harassment training to all employees before January 1, 2020 and every two years thereafter. If you have already trained your employees after January 1, 2019 then you do not need to repeat it this year. Take a look here for all the details, including minimum components of the training, posters regarding transgender rights, and more.

SB 946 decriminalizes street vendors and issues requirements for local authorities’ street vendor regulation programs. What this means is that now street vendors cannot be charged with criminal offenses for operating their business, they can only receive fines. If you are currently facing or have faced criminal charges for vending on sidewalks, you are now able to petition for dismissal of those charges. For more information regarding the specifics of this bill, please read the full text here.

Labor Code 226 was amended to clarify employee’s rights to access their payroll records. Now, as an employer, you must provide copies of requested records within 21 days or incur penalty fees. What this means is that it is not the responsibility of your employee to make the physical copies of such records at your business – it is clarified that as the employer, it is yours. This is not a big change to the way your small business operates, but it is important to be aware of any labor law changes.

California will see minimum wage increases. Across the country, 19 states and 24 cities will see higher minimum wage thresholds this year. Currently in California, small businesses are required to pay a minimum of $11.00 an hour (with certain exceptions for students, new employees under age twenty, etc.) Click here to see if your city’s minimum wage will be raised this year, so you can be prepared and make sure your business is in compliance.

 

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 $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

To get your business started, you might lean on family and friends for small investments. But once your business takes off, what are your options for getting money to grow the business? Venture capital might be out of reach, but crowdfunding and grants can give you the financial boost you need.

To get your business started, you might lean on family and friends for small investments. But once your business takes off, what are your options for getting money to grow the business? Venture capital might be out of reach, but crowdfunding and grants can give you the financial boost you need.

How to find business funding, even when you’re starting small

When you launch a business, sometimes you have little more than a vision and a willingness to work hard. For seed money, you might do what many small-business owners do: Look to family members and friends for the funds needed to open your doors and create your first products. But once your business gets off the ground and you’re ready to expand, what’s the next funding source beyond family and friends? Can you find investment besides what loan providers offer?

In a recent blog post, we looked at the barriers that women face when trying to obtain loans, especially when compared to male entrepreneurs. As it turns out, this is also a problem in the area of business funding – even in the venture capital (VC) world, where women are usually well-connected to business leaders. The percentage of women-owned businesses receiving venture capital hit 17 percent in 2012, and hasn’t budged higher since, according to research from Crunchbase. The percentage of VC-backed, women-led firms has remained stagnant since 2012. In addition, women entrepreneurs raise $82 on average for every $100 raised by a business founded by a man.

The big issue here is that women are underrepresented in VC firms (64 female partners out of 752 at the top 100 firms). Fortunately, some venture firms are trying to address the funding/gender gap, such as Female Founders Fund and Rethink Impact, and they seek out women-owned businesses in which to invest.

If you’re not ready to ask for a large VC investment, there are other options. Crowdfunding – where many people give you small amounts of money that can add up to a big investment – is one option. According to a recent study by PwC and The Crowdfunding Center, women were 32 percent more successful at reaching their fundraising targets than men were. “Female crowdfunders also tend to use more emotional and inclusive language in their videos and pitch descriptions than men [do],” the study says. “This language is more appealing both to female and to male backers, and positively correlated with fundraising success.”

There are many options for crowdsourced funding, including Kickstarter and GoFundMe. iFundWomen is aimed specifically at women-led startups and small businesses, and also offers advice on how to conduct a successful crowdfunding campaign. Their website features hundreds of campaigns launched by women-owned businesses of all kinds, from cookies to coding.

Grants might also be an option for getting money for your business. This NerdWallet list summarizes many federal and state grant programs for women, as well as some grants from nonprofits and corporate programs. Keep in mind that grants are competitive: You’ll be in competition with lots of other applicants, and if you receive a grant, you’ll often need to account for spending and show business results.


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.

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 $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