Pledging your vehicle or your home as collateral for a loan sounds scary, but don’t worry. Keep reading to learn about the process and what happens to your collateral when you get a loan.

Pledging your vehicle or your home as collateral for a loan sounds scary, but don’t worry. Keep reading to learn about the process and what happens to your collateral when you get a loan.

 

Images of your car getting taken from you swirl around when you think of pledging it as loan collateral? You’re not alone. We’re here to help clarify and educate.

The specific process and requirements for backing a small business loan differ between financial institutions, but this is how it works at Opportunity Fund.

What kinds of collateral are accepted by Opportunity Fund?

Opportunity Fund accepts motor vehicles, real estate, and UCC-1 as collateral. A UCC-1 is a document which serves as a lien on commercial property. Filing a UCC-1 statement for securing collateral for a business loan is required for business loans under the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). To learn more click here.

What does pledging collateral entail?

The pledge of collateral is written into the signed loan documents. If you are pledging a motor vehicle, you will need to list Opportunity Fund as a lien holder on the vehicle title – called a “pink slip” in some states. Pledging real estate requires that you sign a Deed of Trust, which is then recorded with the County of Record.  

Speak to one of our staff members for more information if your loan will require backing as each case is unique.

When could collateral be repossessed? How can you stop it?

If your collateral is up for repossession due to failure to pay, Opportunity Fund will send a notification by mail. Generally, you can post payment to your account to halt proceedings. If you find yourself unable to make on-time payments, please talk with one of our staff members. It is our mission to help your small business succeed, and the sooner you reach out to us, the better we can support you.

Once a loan has been paid off, what happens then?

Congratulations! Collateral is released back to you after the loan is paid in full.

The motor vehicle process varies between states and title types, but this process may include Opportunity Fund sending a physical title back by mail with the lien signed off for release or an electronic release with the state who will then mail a clean paper title back to the owner. Check your state’s DMV for more specific details.

Real Estate will have a reconveyance filed by Opportunity Fund. Depending on county requirements, this will be filed electronically or manually.

UCC-1s are released by request or expire after 5 years except for Wyoming.

Once your loan is paid off in full and your collateral is released, your small business is all set for success.

 

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

If you don’t think your American business needs to comply with the new GDPR, think again. Our content partner Nav explains what the GDPR is and why your small business should start taking action immediately.

If you don’t think your American business needs to comply with the new GDPR, think again. Our content partner Nav.com explains what the GDPR is and why your small business should start taking action immediately.

 

News of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been floating in our peripherals since it was passed by the European Parliament back in 2016, but as of May 25, 2018, the privacy-focused piece of legislation will finally go into effect. And, though it’s specifically designed for those in the EU, American business owners are not exempt from impact.

As an American business owner with your own set of privacy rules and regulations to contend with, the GDPR may not seem like much of a concern. However, since the regulations impact all organizations that process or hold EU customer data, any American business that falls into that category (i.e., businesses that have a web presence and/or sells their products to citizens within the EU) will need to comply.

You’ll note that “web presence” was included, not just the notion of selling products or services. That’s specifically because of stipulations that focus on the collection of personal data, not just monetary transactions

So, any organization that collects identifiable information (PII), which includes social security numbers, phone number, salary, race, marital status, military rank or civilian grade, age, medical records etc., from EU citizens will need to be in compliance.

Top GDPR Takeaways for Small Businesses

You know what the GDPR is, generally, but what specific things will be required of businesses? Here are a few of the most significant regulations and considerations that you’ll need to take into account if you want to be in compliance.

  • Seventy-two-hour breach notification:  Just like it sounds, any organization or company that detects a customer data breach must notify the national authorities within seventy-two hours of that breach, and in some cases, customer notification must also take place.
  • Consent for data is a must: Companies and organization must obtain explicit and informed consent when collecting and/or processing data from individuals, even if it’s something as simple as an email list.

Explicit consent should be used if an organization wants to validate the sensitive data for use. Additionally, the consent must be achieved with a clear affirmative action, which means that that companies can no longer use “opt-out” or pre-checked boxes to achieve that consent.

         Further, consent requests must be separate from terms and conditions; cannot, in most cases, be a contingency for signing up; must be granular or designed in such a way that consent is specific to each type of processing; and named, meaning the individual must be made aware of what organizations or third-parties rely on that consent.

         Finally, organizations must document the aforementioned consent, including the specific consent requested/provided and when that consent took place, individuals must have the right to withdraw their consent at any time, and organizations must provide information about how an individual can withdraw their consent as well as an easy path to do so.  

  • The right to be forgotten: organizations and businesses must comply with a request by an individual to “be forgotten” or to have a copy of their data.  Though simplistic in theory, the right to be forgotten will require that all organizations be able to delete not only primary data but also any data duplications, be they due to operational processes (i.e., cloud storage backup) or unspecified employee lead duplication.  This will require universal conversations and policies among all departments and employees who can access, copy or otherwise maintain customer data.
  • Any data processed for a child under sixteen is considered unlawful if there is no prior parental consent; however, states within the EU can opt to reduce that age, with 13 years of age representing the cutoff.

The aforementioned are just a few of the more specific requirements that business owners must meet if they want to become compliant with the GDPR.  Some of these requirements may take a few weeks (or months) to plan and execute, and so, as mentioned above, it’s best to start as soon as possible, if you haven’t already.

To get started, or make sure your efforts are aligned with expectations, considering the following steps.

  1. Analyze your current data processes; this includes how you obtain data as well as how you process and maintain that data. If you don’t have one already, you should have a Personal Information Assessment (PIA), and in some cases you may need a Data Protection Impact Assessment.
  2. Work with your legal department to fully understand and address the GDPR requirements (like the DPIA; however, efforts should extend past legal departments or consultants and include contact with multiple departments, including IT, Marketing, and Finance, as many are directly involved or involved.
  3. Create a plan, not only for immediate compliance, but for long-term data procurement, management, and processing.  The end result should be a data privacy and security plan that can act as guidance for the future operations as well as documentation for compliance.

Companies that don’t comply (or document that compliance) with the GDPR face substantial fines of up to four percent of global revenues. And while that amount can be damaging to any organization, small businesses that depend on every cent may suffer the most from non-compliance. During the next little while, your time will be especially precious as you work to ensure your business is compliant. The average business owner spends 33 hours applying for credit, you can save that time by checking with Nav.

If you’re not currently compliant, take a deep breath. Garnter, Inc. suggests that by the end of 2018, more than fifty percent of American businesses will be non-compliant.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that herd mentality will protect you from non-compliance in the event of a data breach – we all know how frequent they are these days.  For that reason, it’s important to address the issue immediately and take the steps required to meet GDPA requirements

 

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.

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

Food trucks have never been hotter, but when it comes to starting a mobile-based business, you have options outside of a grill on wheels. Keep reading to discover ideas and learn how your small business can get rolling.

Food trucks have never been hotter, but when it comes to starting a mobile-based business, you have options outside of a grill on wheels. Keep reading to discover ideas and learn how your small business can get rolling.

 

Why Consider a Mobile Business?

You’ve probably heard about the food truck boom in America and for good reason: there are estimated three million food trucks in the United States. From taco trucks and hot dogs on wheels to gourmet fusion cuisine, mobile food has only grown in popularity. Why? It is cheaper to start a food truck than to open a physical restaurant, especially in expensive metropolitan areas.

Your brick-and-mortar business can only reach so many customers in your area and even less if you’re an ecommerce business. With so much competition in the market, your small business can stand out if it expands to the mobile business world. Imagine taking your clothing boutique to a flea market,

10 Mobile Ideas For Your Small Business That Isn’t a Food Truck

Food isn’t the only industry that can be put inside a truck. Many years ago, Lava Mae ignited a mobile hospitality trend through their Radical Hospitality™ idea. Lava Mae repurposed old transportation trucks into showers and restrooms for the homeless in San Francisco. This nonprofit saw a need that wasn’t being met and filled it.

Foxy Roxy saw a need for mobile pet grooming and started  their business despite not knowing anything about pet grooming. Now with the help of Opportunity Fund loans, they are rapidly growing and running to keep up with demand for their services.

Here are some ideas for a mobile business that will inspire you to expand your business:

  1. Arts and crafts. Run an art school or art supply store? Take your business to festivals and fairs where you can teach children to make small crafts in your truck. Not every mobile business needs to be an exact copy of your main business.
  2. Florist. Farmer’s markets and street fairs are the perfect opportunity to reach customers who might not otherwise consider buying flowers. Not to mention universities where students are looking for convenient flowers for Valentine’s Day.
  3. Personal Grooming. Nail salons, barber shops, eyelash extensions, makeup, and many other salon services could be great ideas for a traveling business.
  4. Car Wash or Oil Change. We’re sure that some of your clients would love having their car detailed while they’re at work.
  5. Pet grooming. Like Foxy Roxy, your mobile pet business could be very successful. Think of how much demand there is outside pet stores and dog parks.
  6. Clothing boutique. From vintage to haute couture, if you sell clothes you can put them in a truck.
  7. Photo booth. Are you a photographer, party planner, or prop maker? People love selfies, but they love photo booths and Instagrammable scenes even more.
  8. Packaged food. Recently, Vega Protein opened a truck that offered samples and sold full sized products are skateboarding competitions and other fitness opportunities. Just because your small business doesn’t cook, doesn’t mean you can’t still sell your products on-the-go.
  9. Body art. Tattoos, facepaint, and henna are all possible ideas for mobile business.
  10. Book store. Do you own a independent bookstore, zine stand or a publishing business? Fight back against big book chains and take reading on the road.

Get Your Mobile Business Rolling

Check out our blog post on starting a food truck. Even if you aren’t going the food route, the same advice applies.

Need to finance your expansion? Opportunity Fund offers affordable food truck and commercial vehicle loans – take a look today.

 

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

Pay-per-click options like Yelp and Google Adwords may seem cheap up front, but it’s best to understand what you’re getting into before you hand over your credit card information to buy ad views. Read how much affordable advertising really costs and how to maximise your marketing budget.

Pay-per-click options like Yelp and Google Adwords may seem cheap up front, but it’s best to understand what you’re getting into before you hand over your credit card information to buy ad views. Read how much affordable advertising really costs and how to maximise your marketing budget.

 

How Much Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Actually Costs

How does PPC work? You create an ad online and pay a small amount each time someone clicks on it. Depending on how large of an audience you want to reach and how popular your business’ category is, you could pay more or less for each click. Other companies bid on this ad space, so set bid limits on your ads and resist the urge to keep increasing your limit because a competitor bumped your ad.

Paying for clicks through services like Google Adwords or Yelp is actually complicated to determine your return on investment (ROI). You can pour hundreds of dollars into an ad campaign – paying for dozens of visits to your website – and only convert a handful of sales. Unless you have a stellar website and attractive products, you might be disappointed to find that PPC ads aren’t very effective for your business. And even if you do, some sites like Yelp make it especially difficult to track the ROI of your Yelp ads.

This method can be even less effective for small businesses that aren’t ecommerce-based. It is nearly impossible to track how many customers eat at your restaurant because they saw your ad. You’ll need to get creative. For example, many restaurants offer free products or a coupon for checking in on Yelp.

More Advertising Alternatives

Whether you’re ready to invest the money and test PPC ads or you’ve decided it isn’t the best option for your small business, here are some alternatives to popular PPC ad campaigns. See which options are manageable for you, try them out, and analyze the most effective advertising strategy for your unique business.

  • Local community boards: Tacking up flyers in local coffee shops, cafes, and libraries are an easy way to advertise your business for little to no money. Use this space to promote events, contests, sales, and coupons your small business is offering.
  • Micro influencers: We’ve written before about how you can utilize social influencers to promote your small business, and this method is only getting more popular. Read our blog post for more information, but the main idea is that you can pay people who have influence over others to promote your business for a small fee or free products.
  • Business Directories: While not strictly considered ads, getting your business listed in online and local directories is an effective way to increase brand awareness and attract customers. Popular sites such as Yelp are good places to start, and consider looking into chambers of commerce and local business directories.
  • Guerilla marketing: Using covert methods of advertising is gaining in popularity and notoriety. While we do not recommend following big brands’ in illegal and ethically ambiguous stunts, there are still effective and inexpensive ways your business can use guerilla marketing. Try sidewalk chalk, wall murals (with permission from the property owner),  creative decals, paying for someone’s coffee and handing them a business card, etc. Always consult your legal advisor before executing any guerilla marketing campaigns.

 

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

Women are more likely to start a small business than men, but they are more likely to struggle obtaining financing. Our content partner Nav.com explains why women-owned businesses hit a financial glass ceiling and how you can break it.

 

A new report released by SCORE reveals some interesting data regarding small businesses, particularly women-owned small businesses. Of the 28 million small businesses in the United States, 39% are owned by women, which increased by 45% from 2007 to 2016 and continues to rise. Women are more likely to start a business than men, enjoy equal success as measured by business starts, revenue growth, job creation, and time in business. And while men are more likely to operate in the construction and manufacturing industries, women are more likely to open businesses in healthcare or education. Women-owned businesses employ almost 9 million people and bring in over $1.6 trillion in revenue. While these figures are impressive, there are some concerns found in the data.

Despite the growth in the number of women-owned businesses, these entities have remained static in revenue shares at only 4% of the nation’s business revenues, a point which hasn’t seen much growth if any over the last 20 years. In contrast, businesses owned by men have declined in their share of U.S. enterprises since the early 2000s, but their revenue shares have stayed consistent in relation to the changing number of entities. Of the businesses that responded to the survey, 34% of men-owned businesses have been in business for more than 10 years, compared to only 28% of women-owned businesses.

These numbers certainly raise concerns about the longevity and sustainability of women-owned businesses. Could this be a product of a lack of mentorship or other barriers to success?

The Glass Ceiling of Financing

In addition to revenue and years in business, the study highlighted several key indicators to determine how successful a business is, including hiring rates and access to financing. Over the last year, a larger proportion of men-owned businesses (30%) saw an increase in hiring compared to women-owned businesses (27%). Some of the women entrepreneurs responded that they would like to hire more full-time employees, but have to stick with interns, contractors, or part-time employees because funds are low in their business.

When asked why they sought out financing, a nearly equal proportion of men and women responded that they needed financing to hire a new employee. The statistics show that 34% of men compared to 25% of women search out financing, and that 38% of men versus 31% of women who apply for financing actually obtain it.

Women-owned businesses are slightly more likely to depend on credit cards or non-SBA loans for financing as opposed to men-owned businesses, whereas men are more likely to use equity raised from investors to fund their business. While experience and networking can help find better financing options, it’s always important to make sure your business credit profile is in tip-top shape. You can check your business and personal credit score for free with Nav before you seek better financing options.

Some of the differences between men and women business owners may boil down to mentoring, a topic the study addressed. The numbers clearly suggest that small business owners who work with a mentor or are under a mentorship program enjoy more success than those who don’t. While the numbers pertaining to revenue, hiring, and access to financing show that women-owned businesses are at a disadvantage, there are indeed resources available to help them take the next step forward.

 

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

 

We look forward to helping your business succeed. Right now, if you sign up for free mentoring assistance, you’ll receive up to a 2% discount on your loan’s annual interest rate. If you have questions about this loan offer or other small-business loans for women, visit ofew.org, or contact us at ofew@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 $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

Food trucks may be a more accessible way to get your food into hungry people’s stomachs, but information about how to run a successful one isn’t as easy to find. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest news in food trucks and the mobile food business with these free blogs.

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

Food trucks may be a more accessible way to get your food into hungry people’s stomachs, but information about how to run a successful one isn’t as easy to find. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest news in food trucks and the mobile food business with these free blogs.

National Food Trucks

What it does: Although National Food Trucks doesn’t update their blog very frequently, what they do produce are great pieces that inspire, inform, and celebrate food trucks. From location-specific success stories, to adrenaline pumping pieces about greedy event bookers – you’ll find something useful and interesting to read here.

Food Truck Operator

What it does: Food Truck Operator should be your go-to source for food truck news. They update several times a month whenever something new comes out that would be beneficial to you as a mobile food entrepreneur. There’s a little bit of everything on this helpful blog: inspiring success stories, latest news and legislation, helpful business tips, and more.

Food Truck Empire

What it does: Another frequent poster, Food Truck Empire offers interesting articles about unique food trucks, new market trends, out-of-the-box business tips, and more. Keep updated with this food truck blog for a well-rounded knowledge about what’s changing in the mobile food industry.

Roaming Hunger

What it does: Roaming Hunger boasts several topics of articles from “experiential marketing” and “recipes” to “weddings” and “the office.” Why are wedding blog posts interesting to food truck owners? This blog not only offers insightful pieces that are helpful for you to read, but they also have lots of pro-food truck articles for your own business to share on your social media to help spread the word and attract big gigs.

Foodtruckr

What it does: Foodtruckr’s blog is full of motivation, inspiration, tips and tricks. This is definitely an amazing resource for you to grow your mobile food business, written by food truck experts for other entrepreneurs.

 

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 including Mobile Food Truck 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 opportunityfundloan.org and follow us on Facebook  and Twitter

Tin or aluminum is the traditional way to celebrate a 10 year anniversary. That doesn’t sound very impressive, does it? What’s impressive is getting your small business past the 10 year mark of success. Only around 30% of businesses last that long, keep reading to find out how you can.

Tin or aluminum is the traditional way to celebrate a 10 year anniversary. That doesn’t sound very impressive, does it? What’s impressive is getting your small business past the 10 year mark of success. Only around 30% of businesses last that long, keep reading to find out how yours can.  

 

Why do Small Businesses Fail?

The first step to ensuring your small business succeeds is to learn how you could fail. Only then do you have the knowledge and power to avoid these mistakes. Here are the most common reasons why small businesses don’t last 10 years.

Cash flow problems. By far the most common reason, 82% of small business owners say they failed because they experienced problems with cash flow. It is important to do a cash flow analysis and keep on top of your finances.

You probably didn’t become an entrepreneur because you love accounting. You have the vision, drive, and ambition to make the world a better place through your business idea. However, money is what will sink your business or float it to the top. Always be working on your financial literacy, keep physical records, know where every dollar is being spent, don’t focus only of your Profit and Loss statement (PnL), cut expenses where you can, and prioritize your money management. You won’t regret it.

There’s no demand for your product or service. Around 42% of businesses fail because there is no market need. It’s a hard lesson to learn that not every idea is a good one, and people might not want what you are offering.

It’s not smart to open an ice cream stand in the middle of December or across the street from a diabetic clinic. How do you make sure there’s enough demand for your business to make money? Do a lot of research into your target audience and community. Your business should solve a common problem that consumers have.

You don’t have the right team. About 23% of businesses fail because they don’t have the right balance of human capital. Nobody is an expert in everything, whether you are a sole proprietor or you have a business partner, so it’s important to hire good employees that can all contribute to your business’ success.

Don’t stop with the hiring process. Encourage and help your team grow with your business. Invest in training, provide support and opportunities, and lead by example. The only thing worse than incompetent employees are ones that can’t work together as a powerful team.

There is too much competition. Although a seemly small percentage, 19% of businesses fail because they lose out to their competitors. Market competition is healthy because it encourages innovation, humility, and hard work. But in any competition, there will be a loser who unfortunately did not make it.

If you open that ice cream stand on the beach in the summer next to three other ice cream stands, it is very likely that you will struggle. Identify your business’ SWOT and use that to find the best location, direction, and strategy to avoid losing out.

Don’t believe us? Listen to small business owners who have succeeded – they have advice they want you to hear.

Trust in Your Business, Even If Banks Won’t

Here at Opportunity Fund, we want to see your business thrive. It is our mission to help underbanked entrepreneurs like you get the working capital you need to see your business hit that magical 10 year anniversary.

Contact us today to get a small business loan that will help you for the next ten (and hopefully more!) years.

 

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

Business giants are making big headlines voicing their support for the LGBTQ community. Why? Read to find out and learn how you can help with your small business.

Business giants are making big headlines voicing their support for the LGBTQ community. Why? Read to find out and learn how you can help with your small business.

 

Business giants are making big headlines voicing their support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community. From American Express to IKEA, the business world seems to be opening its doors to inclusivity and equality. Why? Because being inclusive is better for your business. In fact, 64% of Americans would be more likely to buy from a company who supports LGBTQ individuals.

Not only will supporting this demographic benefit your bottom line, but it will boost productivity of your employees and attract top talent who cares about their employer’s mission. Employees who leave positive reviews about working for your business may mention your inclusion to others who will spread the word. Organic, word-of-mouth advertising is still the best way to grow your small business.

Easy Ideas To Support The LGBTQ Community

As a small business, you don’t have millions of extra capital on fancy awareness campaigns. Here are a few realistic ways you can celebrate diversity and support the LGBTQ community:

  1. Have a conversation with your employees. You shouldn’t expect anyone to come forward with their sexuality, but make sure you foster an open workplace where employees feel safe. Invest in tolerance training and check your bias when hiring.
  2. Do your research. It’s easier to stereotype, but it is more important to spend a little time learning about this demographic. Read about their experiences, discrimination, struggles, and passions. People are unique no matter what their sexual orientation, and you can best support them when you do your research.
  3. Hire and train managers who reflect your commitment. Having bad managers on your team will cost your business in reputation, employee satisfaction, worker productivity, and profits.
  4. Consider hanging up a small sign of your support. You can find lots of stickers, decals, and signs that you can post in your business – customers won’t think it is out of place next to your Yelp and Trip Advisor stickers.
  5. Check the diversity of your ads and marketing materials. Do you only show photos of heterosexual couples? Consider showing different types of families and couples for your promotional materials.
  6. Offer health insurance to your full time employees that covers gender reassignment surgery. As a small business, you may not have employees take advantage of this like big businesses do, but that you do will be noticed and appreciated.
  7. Support other LGBTQ businesses. Whether you’re looking for a new supplier or wholesaler, a community partner for a local event, or have personal shopping to do, consider looking specifically for LGBTQ-owned businesses.
  8. Donate profits to organizations that help the LGBTQ community. Your business doesn’t need to lose a large portion of revenue, but even choosing to donate a small percentage during Pride Month will go a long way towards showing your local community that you care.
  9. Sponsor an event. Check with local LGBTQ youth centers, non-profits, civil rights groups, and clubs for small events your business could sponsor.
  10. If your business has a single-stall restroom, make it gender neutral. Everyone just uses the “wrong” restroom when there’s a line anyways.

 

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

Is your small business booming, and you are looking into expanding? Franchising your business can be a great opportunity, but it could get expensive. Read how much franchising really costs.

Is your small business booming, and you are looking into expanding? Franchising your business can be a great opportunity, but it could get expensive. Read how much franchising really costs.

 

So You Think You Want To Franchise

If you’re looking to expand your successful small business after a few years of sky-high sales and customer demand you can no longer meet, franchising may be a good idea. It can also be a great opportunity you can give to current employees or family members who you know you can trust.

When you sell a franchise, you will receive a franchise fee, but you won’t retain much of that fee after all your expenses. You really make your money from ongoing royalties.

This is where it is important to choose the right person to be your franchisee. Similar to choosing a good business partner, you need to be able to trust this person to successfully run a business and work well with you. If you allow the wrong person to franchise your business, you could lose money and your business’ good reputation.

Once you decide that franchising is the direction you want to take, consider hiring a consultant. Being a business owner-operator is very different from managing and opening franchises. This is a complicated process legally and financially, so you’ll want someone who is already an expert to help you.

 

Who Pays For What?

It may be confusing at first to understand your costs as the franchisor versus what your franchisee will pay for themselves. Here is a brief rundown of who pays for what:

You will cover:

  • Marketing materials and collateral: You need to attract franchise buyers, develop a cohesive handbook for your franchisee, and advertise to your community that a new location is opening once everything is settled. Depending on your own skill level versus hiring professionals to help, this could cost a few thousand dollars.
  • Training and supporting your franchisee: You want to maintain quality control and your business’ reputation, so you will need to spend a considerable amount of your time to train them and support them when the franchise is open. You may also need to pay current employees to mentor and train future employees for the new location.
  • Hiring a franchise lawyer: Hiring a specialist lawyer can cost you upwards of $25,000 to set up the franchise and keep them on retainer for at least a couple of years. You may even need to change your business structure. As the laws and taxes surrounding franchises are incredibly complicated, this is a step you should not skip unless you have a law background yourself.
  • Legal and regulatory fees: In addition to filing initial paperwork with your state’s attorney general – which can range from $1,000 to $2,000 depending on where you are located – you will have yearly costs. The FTC requires a lot of compliance for franchising. Take a look here for a guide on how to comply. Have your lawyer go over it with you.
  • Taxes and Audits: Taxes are never fun or easy, especially when you have a business and are making changes. Franchised businesses must be audited every year, so your accountant fees will probably increase as well as possibly thousands of dollars in extra taxes. Look through your state’s Franchise Tax Board for more information.

They will cover:

  • Initial franchise fee: When you sell a franchise, you will charge them a fee (which averages around $30,000 and will go towards helping you cover all your initial costs).
  • Real estate: While you may want to help when selecting where the new franchise will be, the franchisee typically pays for all real estate and related costs including insurance, rent, property taxes, maintenance, etc.
  • Startup costs and working capital: When it comes to all the usual costs associated with starting a business, you shouldn’t pay any of that. The franchisee pays all expenses for hiring and training new employees, decoration not already provided by you (according to your guideline that you will need to create), inventory, taxes, payroll, and more. You started your own small business, you know these expenses like the back of your hand.
  • Ongoing royalties: This is where you make up for all your costs and start making a profit from your expansion. Carefully calculate the percentage you’ll charge, because over time the difference between 5% and 6% will add up in missed profits.

Need more information or want to find a franchise consultant? Check out the International Franchise Association. Need a small business loan to cover some of these costs before the royalties start rolling in? Call Opportunity Fund today.

 

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

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