Small business owners are a busy bunch. Some things may fall through the cracks, including payments. Here's how to handle past due debt....

Small business owners are a busy bunch. Some things may fall through the cracks, including payments. If you’re looking for guidance on how to handle past due debt, our content partner Nav.com has answers!

 

It goes without saying that small business owners are experts at multitasking. If you own a small business, chances are you’re juggling a million different things on a daily basis — shift schedules, inventory management, and likely, a multitude of different expenses, from electricity bills to insurance payments.

With so much to do and manage, it’s possible that you may have forgotten about a credit card bill, missed a loan payment, or let an invoice slip through the cracks. While this may not seem like a big deal, and it certainly isn’t the end of the world if your payments are  a few days behind, a past due debt can come back to haunt you when you’re applying for business funding.

If you find yourself falling behind on payments, don’t fret just yet. Here’s what you need to know about past due debts, plus some steps you can take to resolve them so you can get back to what’s most important — growing your small business.

 

What is past due debt?  

A debt becomes “past due” if you fail to make a payment as of the due date. The “past due” amount is the balance that was owed on the original due date.

For example, let’s say you have a small business credit card that you use to purchase inventory. The holidays are right around the corner so you  decide to stock up on additional supply to meet the surge in demand. You owe a balance of $10,000 with a minimum payment of $300 due on the 15th. You’re planning on paying it off in full once you’ve sold all of your holiday inventory and you have more cash on hand. But with things so busy, you completely forget to pay the minimum, which means during the next payment period, your minimum payment will include:

  • Past due minimum payment of of $300
  • Any late fees or penalties

While this may seem like a small number, it can quickly balloon out of control with the addition of late fees, penalties, and in some cases, an increase in interest rate. And if you’ve missed a loan payment or fail to make good on an invoice, you’re likely looking at an even more daunting number.

 

How does a past due debt affect your credit score (and your chances of getting a loan)?

Most of the time, it comes down to how far behind you are on a payment and the type of debt. If you’re a few days late on paying your credit card bill, you’ll most likely just face a late fee; however, once your bill becomes 30 days past due, your creditor will likely report you to the credit bureaus. And once you’re 60 days past due on your debt, your creditor may even increase the interest rate, which can make paying off what you owe even more overwhelming.

This is where your credit score is at risk, and potentially, your chances of being approved for a small business loan.

Credit bureaus collect information about customer credit data, both personal and business, and lenders use these numbers to evaluate how risky you are as a borrower. While each credit bureau  has its own criteria and method of scoring, a combination of the amount of available credit you use, the length of your credit history, the types of credit you use, and your payment history, among other factors, all play a role.

In fact, when it comes to your FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation) score, which is arguably the most popular scoring system in the United States for personal credit, your payment history is the biggest factor — accounting for approximately 35% of the formula. And for many types of small business financing, your personal credit score can make or break your chances of getting approved — especially for younger businesses without an established business credit score.

 

How to resolve past due debts

Have a lingering past due debt? Here’s a few ways you can go about handling them:

  • Make the past due payment: This may be an obvious option, but it’s also the most straightforward approach to get rid of a past due debt that is looming over your head.
  • Negotiate a payment plan with your creditor: Due to late fees and interest charges, you might find yourself in a situation with an ever-increasing balance that you just can’t seem to shake off. In some cases, your creditor may be willing to set up a payment plan so you can gradually pay off what you owe.
  • Consolidate your business debts: With business debt consolidation, you can combine multiple business debts, including those that may be carrying a past due balance, into one single, streamlined payment. By paying off your past due debt, you can avoid continuing to pay penalties or increased interest charges.

 

 

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. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

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

Each month, we promote affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events in July.

Each month, we promote  affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events in July.

Northern California/Sacramento

Personal Financial Planning for Women
Date: July 11, 2019 | 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM PDT
Location: 50 California St. Floor 10, San Francisco, CA 94111 
Contact: info@ellevatenetwork.com
Organization: Ellevate
Fee: $20.80

Please join us for an exciting event on personal financial planning with Diane Bourdo, President of The Humphreys Group.

Click here to register for this event. 

Taxation, Deductions & Compliance for Corporations
Date: July 10, 2019 | 9:30 AM – 12:30 PM PDT
Location:  1792 Tribute Rd. Suite 270, Sacramento CA
Contact: (916) 442-1729
Organization: California Capital
Fee: Free

Learn how to properly form and maintain a Corporation

Some areas to be covered:

  • Reasons to operate your business as a corporation.
  • What MUST be done to get corporation benefits.
  • Legal standing, alter ego—lost tax benefits, lost asset protection
  • The legal structure of corporations.
  • Taxation of corporations, LLC corps and subchapter S elections.
  • Out-of-state corporations, California and nexus tax issues.
  • Tax deductions for corporations—recordkeeping, reporting, compliance.
  • Corporation-owned and personally-owned vehicles—tax treatment and reporting.
  • Fringe benefits for working owners.
  • Accountable reimbursement plans and eligibility.

Click here to register for this event. 

Converting Prospects To Customers
Date: July 11, 2019 | 9:00am to 12:00pm PDT
Location: 500 Chadbourne Road. Fairfield, CA 94534

Contact: (707) 826-3919
Organization: SBDC Northern California
Fee: Free

This workshop is a basic training program on Sales.  It will reacquaint experienced sales people with the many elements of the selling process and teach NEW sales people the skills needed to find prospects and turn them into customers.

Many startup businesses have excellent products and/or services and there is a strong demand for them in the marketplace.  That said, far too many of these new businesses do not achieve their full potential due simply to the inability of their owners and their staff to make effective sales calls.  This workshop will help you and your team have an effective “face to face” sales strategy that will generate new business.
Click here to register for this event. 

 

Southern California/San Diego

Fed/State Basic Payroll Tax
Date: July 17, 2019 | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT
Location:  13430 Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne, CA
Contact: (310) 225-8277
OrganizationLos Angeles SBDC
Fee: Free

In this workshop you will learn:

  • California payroll reporting requirements, including forms, employer obligations, reporting, and payment requirements.
  • About independent contractor reporting requirements.
  • Electronic filing and payment requirements and options.
  • Federal payroll reporting requirements, including Forms 940, 941, 1099, W-2, W-4, W-9, and alternative filing.

Click here to register for this event.

Increase Your Cash Flow
Date: July 20, 2019 | 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM  PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Drive. Suite 109 Colton, CA
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

Understanding the power of mastering your cash flow can be the difference between having a successful business and having a business on the verge of failing. Become more informed about tax advantages that small business owners qualify for and the two main ways to increase cash flow.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Projections
Date: July 16, 2019 | 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 300A Sherman Oaks, CA
Contact: info@vedc.org | 818-907-9922
Organization: VEDC Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

This course will discuss: the importance of record keeping, assumptions for the projection, financial statements (including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements), spreadsheets, and tips for success. Find out how understanding these forms can help you manage your business more efficiently.

Click here to register for this event.

 

Virtual

Business Basics: Business Plans, Pitch Decks and the Mission, Vision, and Values Statements
Date: July 11, 2019 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm MDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Lora Nelson | lora.nelson@canyons.edu | (661) 362-5900
Organization: SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons
Fee: Free

In this free webinar you will learn about the Mission, Vision, and Values Statement, and how to create them. The session will also cover what is a Business Plan vs. a Pitch Deck, the differences between them and the essential components that both address in creating or expanding a new business.

Click here to register for this event.

Solid Steps to Increase Your Visibility
Date: July 17, 2019 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: 530.926.6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Are you wondering how to gain more visibility for your work or your business? How do you attract more of your ideal customers? Do you have a solid base of customers and are ready to move to the next level?

Sarah will teach you to develop lasting powerful relationships in your industry. She will share 4 simple steps that anyone can use to increase their impact on their network.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Develop lasting relationships in your industry.
  • Create a simple plan you can implement to start having more impact on your network.
  • Develop allies, effectively network on digital platforms, foster strong 1:1 relationships, and precisely how to follow up.
  • Identify the steps to develop a system for media outreach

This webinar is great for start-ups and those new to small business and also an excellent review and kick-start for established businesses.

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 and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $700 million and helped thousands of families 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

Universities aren’t just for young adults seeking a degree. Here's a list of free and low cost small business resources available at your local college.

Universities aren’t just for young adults seeking a degree. Here’s a list of free and low cost small business resources available at your local college.

 

University Libraries

What it costs: Free

What it does: Many universities open their libraries to the public. Business classes can be expensive, but studying books and peer-reviewed journals on your own is free and can help you learn valuable skills to better run your small business. Not to mention, libraries in general have plenty of free resources for you such as workshops and classes, job fairs, advertising space, and amenities (free wi-fi, computer access, printers, meeting rooms, etc.).

 

Career Fairs and Job Placement Centers

What it costs: Free or low cost

What it does: Finding the right candidate for an open position on your team can be challenging and time-consuming. Consider joining a local college job fair or talking to a college job placement center about posting your position. At job fairs you can meet prospective applicants right away, have interviews on the spot, and give enthusiastic students a chance to start their career. Here is a checklist to help you at a job fair. Whether you want to hire a new waitress, an accounting intern, or an entry-level marketing associate, you’ll be sure to find a lot of interest at a college. 

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) 

What it costs: Free

What it does: Many SBDCs are located on university campuses. These business development centers offer workshops, research, consulting and mentors, training, and more free or low-cost resources for you as an entrepreneur.

 

Audit a Class

What it costs: Free or low cost

What it does: Some colleges will allow you to audit a class you’d like to attend for a smaller fee than normal tuition. You can sit in the classroom and listen to lectures, but you won’t take tests or write papers. This way, you can learn about something helpful to running your business better without the cost or complication of signing up as a student.

 

Advertising and Sponsorship Opportunities

What it costs: However much you want to offer

What it does: Student organizations are always looking for funding, and college students are drawn in by discounts and free stuff. Do you run a metalworking business? Reach out to an award-winning robotics club that competes in your area. Do you own the taqueria down the street? Pass out coupons around campus. Depending on the university’s rules, you may need to partner with the Latino Student Club in order to draw in hungry crowds.

 

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

Employee engagement is among the chief concerns of small business owners. Here are five tips to keep employees engaged, happy, and productive....

Employee engagement is among the chief concerns of small business owners. Here are five tips to keep employees engaged, happy, and productive….Our content partner Nav.com has answers!

 

From big-picture organizational strategies to everyday operational tasks, the success of a business depends on the employees who make things happen. When employees are happy and have a vested interest in their jobs and the company, things run smoothly, but when workers become disenfranchised, the picture can become quite bleak.

According to a study by the Conference Board’s Engagement Institute, employees who check out can cost companies a whopping $450 to $550 billion dollars a year. And while your company may not lose billions of dollars at the idle hands of a few disengaged employees, widespread or ongoing disengagement can be detrimental to your brand and your bottom line.

How do you avoid this type of behavior? Here are five Cs to help you keep employees engaged and your company thriving.

 

How to Keep Employees Engaged at Work

Communication

If you’ve ever worked for a company or manager that practiced poor communication, you know how utterly exhausting it can be. Roles and expectations are unclear, strategies and development plans are hard to execute, and a lot of time and money is wasted.

When employees are set up for failure, as is often the case with poor communication, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to fulfill their job requirements and even more difficult to work as a unit. It’s also more likely that they’ll become disengaged.

By focusing on company communication, you can help keep leaders, departments, and employees on the same page, working towards the same detailed goal. Your communication efforts should start from the top down, as directors and managers are often responsible for communication company goals, policies, and expectations to their staff.

 

Collaboration

Engagement aside, collaboration is vital to any organization – when employees combine their skill sets and unique perspective to solve problems, the solutions are often more nuanced and more effective. Collaboration plays an equally important role in engagement.

When employees work together to solve a problem, they become a team working towards the same goal. This team mentality can help employees build relationships with their coworkers and gain a sense of accountability.

In addition, because collaboration, when done right, often results in faster results and more efficient processes, employees also gain a sense of accomplishment that can motivate them and fuel their engagement.  

 

Creativity

There are few things that crush the spirit of motivated workers like the phrase “we’ve always done it that way.” While there is a time and place for protocol and tradition, employees who feel they have no voice in implementing change or suggesting new ways of thinking aren’t likely to stay engaged.

It’s likely you hired your employees because they had a solid educational and or professional background, one they didn’t get from consistently falling in line or failing to think outside the box.

While no one is suggesting a daily initiative to reinvent the wheel, there are times when you should consider giving employees some space to be innovative, whether it be through brainstorming sessions, collaborative projects, or the chance to solve problems or get involved in initiatives that may extend past their given role.

 

Control

Similar to the importance of creativity, employees who are given some control over their day-to-day professional existence are often more likely to stay engaged and remain productive. The answer, of course, is not to move to a “wild west” approach, but instead, to allow for increased control where it makes sense.

What does more control look like? That depends on the company. For some, it may be giving employees a stronger voice in strategy, company policy, and development decisions. In others, it’s more freedom during the workday. For example, some companies allow employees to come in earlier in the day and leave earlier in the afternoon, as long as they meet their eight-hour quota. Others allow for remote work on occasion.

The ability to make decisions creates a sense of value and control, and for employers, that can translate employees who feel an increased sense of investment in their job and the company.

 

Culture

It’s true that “company culture” has become somewhat of a buzzword in today’s professional society, but that shouldn’t signal a lack of value. Company culture is often considered the driving force behind engagement and productivity.

Individuals that work for companies that communicate well, clearly value and support employees, and provide a positive and healthy environment are more likely to be engaged.

If you have poor retention rates and a notable engagement issue, then it’s likely that your company culture is at least partially to blame.

Contrary to what some may believe, “culture” doesn’t mean you need to model your business after some trendy tech company with open workspaces, a ping pong table, and an office pet.

Instead, it should be a unified approach to everyday business that encourages collaboration, free-thinking, and employee confidence. It also should be one that allows employees to have a strong work-life balance, which makes them feel valued and avoids burnout.

How do you create a strong company culture? Clearly outline your vision and your mission, and make sure that it’s designed to support and encourage your employees as they work towards achieving your company goals.

When employees aren’t engaged, they aren’t contributing to the overall growth and development of your brand, but before you place the blame on them, ask yourself if you’ve created an environment in which employees can and do thrive. Though everyone struggles with engagement here and there, if it’s a widespread problem, chances are it’s a deep-rooted issue that you need to address at the company level.

 

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. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

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

Small businesses have a lot of accounting needs. You may feel qualified to handle them on your own, but you might need some help....

Small businesses have a lot of accounting needs. You may feel qualified to handle them on your own, but you might need some help….Our content partner Nav.com has answers!

 

As a small business owner, you’re probably looking for ways to save money on operating costs whenever possible. You might even have a bit of financial knowledge, so why not handle the books yourself? After all, you know the basics of bookkeeping and pay attention to details. But at what point should you hand over this crucial responsibility to a professional?  

The reality is that bookkeeping is not the same thing as accounting. Bookkeeping involves the recording of a business’ finances, and accounting encompasses much more. Accountants analyze, interpret, plan and summarize an organization’s finances to help leaders make informed decisions when running the business. It’s possible to automate most or all of your business’ simple bookkeeping tasks with software.

When Do I Need an Accountant?

Chances are, if you’re asking that question, you already know that you want help. It’s important to not get in over your head with your business’ finances, as you can end up making errors that lead to massively expensive problems down the road.

In reality, you can benefit from an accountant’s help in nearly every step of operating a small business, from acquiring licensing to selling your organization. Starting off with an accountant can help you learn more about bookkeeping basics, establishing payment structures, meeting regulatory demands, developing your financial strategy and much more.

If you already know a great deal about the fundamentals of bookkeeping and have a solid financial strategy when you’re just starting out, you may be able to hold off on hiring an accountant in the initial stages of your business. On the other hand, if you need help preparing taxes, restructuring your books, acquiring licensing, securing small business funding or planning, the cost of hiring an accountant can easily pay for itself when you consider the mistakes and headaches you end up avoiding in the long run.  

What Are My Options?

Some accountants will work on a retainer, while others require an hourly rate for time spent on your business. If you need help but still feel that you can’t afford hiring a professional, you can look for an accountant consultant who will meet with you to establish your own process, interpret financial data and answer questions as they arise.

When you take away the stress and burden of small business accounting, you’ll have more time and energy to run your organization. Accountants specialize in navigating an already confusing maze, so you’ll benefit your bottom line with the help of a professional.

 

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. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

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

Each month, we promote affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events in June.

Each month, we promote affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events in June.

Northern California/Sacramento

Understanding Contracts
Date: Mon, June 17, 2019 | 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM PDT
Location: 455 Market Street, Suite 600. San Francisco, CA 94105  
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | 415-744-6777
Organization: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
Fee: Free

Facilitated by a lawyer, this workshop is aimed to help business owners who would like to learn more about how to create contracts for their business. Discussion topics include:

  • Tendering a contract
  • Understanding commonly-included boilerplate language
  • Responsibilities, roles, and obligations of the parties
  • Suggestions for successful management of contracts
  • Extensions of time
  • Negotiation techniques
  • How to understand and use non-compete and non-disclosure clauses
  • Contract enforcement.

Click here to register for this event.

Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business
Date: Thur, June 13, 2019 | 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM PDT
Location: 455 Market Street, Suite 600. San Francisco, CA 94105  
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | 415-744-6777
Organization: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
Fee: Free

A representative from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will provide a presentation focused on choosing a retirement solution for your small business. To ensure a financially secure future, it is critical to make the right choices. The U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration can help you start today. Registration required.

Click here to register for this event.

Understanding the Power of Video Content for Your Business
Date: June 26, 2019 | 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: 1500 MacDonald Ave. Richmond
Contact: Lucero De Leon | 510-221-2003 | ldeleon@rencenter.org
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: Free

You’ve got 6 Seconds: Understanding the Power of Video Content and how to Engage your audience.

The purpose of this workshop is to understand the power of video content and how a business can use it to connect with their audiences. We will be discussing the different types of video content for the major Social Media platforms: Facebook and Instagram. We will also discuss formatting, time lengths, and the differences between posting on your timeline vs. posting on stories. Lastly, how you can benefit and curate content for your audiences.

Click here to register for this event.

 

Southern California/San Diego

Top 10 HR Mistakes For California Employers and Avoiding HR Landmines
Date: June 13, 2019 | 12:00 PM – 1:30 PM PDT
Location:   880 National City Blvd, National City
Contact: Analia Corrales | (510) 205-6488
Organization:  North San Diego SBDC
Fee: Free

Ever wondered what the top HR issues small business owners face in Southern California? Then this class is for you! We have compiled information on the top HR issues for small California business owners as well as the potential claims and litigations associated with these issues. Join us as our certified professionals walk through the issues and find out what you need to put in place to protect your business. Workshop Highlights Include * How to prevent top local HR lawsuits for small businesses * What new policies should be in your employee handbook and job descriptions * Latest legal updates for this and next year * Understand what to do to reduce risk from claims and avoid fines * How the latest changes to workers comp, retirement and benefits will affect you next year Avoiding HR Landmines For Small California Employers We pleased to invite you to our most comprehensive Human Resources workshop ever!

Click here to register for this event.

Empowering Mompreneurs: How To Use Flexible And Fixed Focus To Increase Your Income
Date: Wednesday, June 26, 2019 | 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM PDT  
Location: 1003 East Cooley Drive. Suite 109 Colton, CA
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Being a mompreneur is more than just work-life balance; it takes organization, management, and a serious commitment. Join scientist and mompreneur facilitator Tonya Moore and learn simple, proven strategies on how to have both a happy family and a thriving (and profitable!) business.

Click here to register for this event.

The Art of Pricing
Date: June 18, 2019 | 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Location: 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 300A Sherman Oaks, CA
Contact: info@vedc.org | 818-907-9922
Organization: VEDC Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

Are you getting the best bang for your buck? Pricing your product or service correctly is tied to many factors like:

  • Competition
  • Cost of goods
  • Perception of value
  • Time
  • And more…

Join us and learn how to calculate your costs to get you where you want to be.

Click here to register for this event.

 

Virtual

ICE Is Here! How to Prepare for and Handle Immigration Audits
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Melissa Ford | admin@saceac.com
Organization: Sacramento Employer Advisory Council
Fee: $10

In California’s “sanctuary state,” recent headlines still have employers and workers alike in a state of panic that ICE will soon be knocking at their door. Attend this webinar to create a plan for ICE audits, so you can remain calm and keep your workers informed about what is really going on.

This informative webinar will cover such topics as:

What to do if ICE shows up;

  • How to implement the new Sanctuary State requirements under AB 450;
  • How to identify a warrant or subpoena;
  • The difference between a raid and an audit;
  • How to prepare for any agency visit;
  • How to prepare your workers for when any agency shows up;
  • Your rights during an agency visit;
  • Common I-9 errors;
  • How to audit yourself;
  • What an I-9 Audit looks like;
  • And the new notice requirements for an I-9 Audit.
  • With a little bit of preparation, you will be ready and able to keep in the peace in your workplace.

Click here to register for this event.

How to Get Leads Online Month After Month Without an Agency
Date: June 6, 2019 | 11:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 300A Sherman Oaks, CA
Contact: info@vedc.org | 818-907-9922
Organization: VEDC Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

How to get leads online month after month without an agency.

In this free webinar, we’ll cover how to create the perfect lead funnel that turns cold leads into sales.

You can use these proven marketing methods that your competitors have forgotten about to crush your competition.

  • Learn how to ethically spy on your competitors’ traffic and get it all for yourself.
  • Learn how to turn traffic into leads.
  • Heck, I even show you how to use proven ads your competitors use for your own.
  • … and much, MUCH More!

Don’t miss this breakthrough webinar that will finally show you how to put your sales funnel on auto pilot and continue to generate sales without doing a thing.

Click here to register for this event.

Navigating Worker Classification and Independent Contractor Status
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Melissa Ford | admin@saceac.com
Organization: Sacramento Employer Advisory Council
Fee: Free

In this ever-changing regulatory landscape, the challenges of ensuring proper worker classification and Independent Contractor engagements are becoming more complicated. The potential consequences of misclassifying workers range from IRS fines and assessments to liability for unpaid overtime and state-specific penalties. Employers need to ensure they are engaging with properly classified workers.

This presentation will explore:

  • The difference between and employees and ICs
  • How IC status is determined
  • Current regulatory landscape and recent CA court decisions
  • Misclassification and enforcement risks
  • Best practices for IC engagement

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 and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $700 million and helped thousands of families 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

Immigrants are more likely to start a business than native-born Americans, but they have more hoops to jump through. You don’t need a green card to start a business - just your home country ID. Keep reading to find out how.

Immigrants are more likely to start a business than native-born Americans, but they have more hoops to jump through. You don’t need a green card to start a business – just your home country ID. Keep reading to find out how.

 

Establishing your business

So you want to start a business in the United States, but you aren’t a citizen or don’t have a green card? There are a few different visas available to entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners: E-2 visa, EB-5 visa, H1-B visa, and L-visa. For example, with the E-2 Treaty Investor visa or the EB-5 foreign investor visa, you can “invest” a substantial amount into a new U.S.-based business as long as you meet certain criteria. This allows you to create your business if you already have a business plan and funds readily available.

What is tricky about opening a business as a nonresident is that you need to legally be able to work in the U.S. in order to pay yourself. For this, you might need the H1-B visa, which can be difficult when you are sponsoring yourself as both the business owner and the visa applicant. Contact your lawyer or an immigration support center to decide what is the best route for you.

Paying Taxes

Businesses are required to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) for tax purposes. You may also need an EIN to do any of the following:

  • Pay federal and state taxes
  • Pay your employees
  • Open a business bank account
  • Apply for business licenses, permits, and loans
  • Build your business’ credit

There is a misconception that non-residents who aren’t able to get a Social Security Number (SSN) aren’t able to get an EIN. However, there is an alternative for certain non-residents and resident aliens who don’t have an SSN: Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN). For more information about eligibility and application, visit the IRS’s website. There is another way to make the process of obtaining an EIN easier: the IRS allows for a Third Party Designee (such as your attorney or a business partner who is a citizen) to work with the IRS to obtain an EIN on your behalf.

Leasing property, getting a driver’s license, and opening a bank account

Leasing property as a non-citizen can be painstakingly difficult or just a little bit of extra work – it all depends on the landlord or property manager. If they aren’t able to perform a standard credit check, there are alternative ways for a landlord or property manager to vet prospective renters, especially if you are in a city where international business is common. Collecting bank statements from your home country can help establish your ability to pay if you don’t have established U.S. credit. Past landlord references, proof of employment/business eligibility, and background checks using your home country ID remain largely unchanged. Voice your concerns and keep open communication with your potential landlord or property manager to best collect the documentation they need.

Getting a driver’s license is possible with your home country ID. If your business requires you to drive a vehicle (or if you drive at all in the U.S.), you’ll need to make sure you are compliant with your state’s driving license rules. Some states require that you get an International Driving Permit (IDP) in addition to your home country driver’s license. For example, California’s AB 60 program enables any qualified applicant to obtain a California driver’s license even if they are unable to provide legal proof of presence in the United States. You just need to otherwise meet all driving qualifications, proof of California residency, and proof of identity – meaning your home country ID!

Opening a bank account is possible, but you’ll need to provide a lot more documentation than an American citizen. In addition to the standard documents proving name, date of birth, and physical address (such as a utility bill), as a foreign national you will need to provide an original home country ID. You can also use your ITIN instead of an SSN in most cases. Each bank’s application process is different. It may be less stressful to open an account in your home country at a U.S.-based bank with international branches. This may help by building financial history and rapport before you want to open a business account in the U.S.

 

Opportunity Fund does not presume to give legal advice. Always consult your attorney and tax professional.

 

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. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

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

Tracking mileage and expenses is one of the more tedious tasks for small business owners. Looking for a way to make it easier? Look no further....

Tracking mileage and expenses is one of the more tedious tasks for small business owners. Looking for a way to make it easier? Our content partner Nav.com has answers…

 

Tracking expenses can feel like a full-time job, especially if your business requires daily purchases or frequent travel expenditures. But failing to track or inaccurately track expenses can lead to a host of problems.

Without a clear view of costs, it becomes impossible to efficiently manage cash flow and prepare for the future. Further, valuable tax deductions are lost if you don’t accurately track expenses over the year.

Fortunately, the right tracking system can make a world of difference, and implementing one may be far simpler than it seems.

Whether you’re a sole proprietor or a business owner overseeing numerous employees, these tips can help you stay on top of mileage and other business expenses.

1. Separate your business and personal spending

The first step in accurate expense tracking is to limit your business spending to a specific business account. This means opening a business checking account and using it as the exclusive funding source for business purchases.

The same logic should be used when making purchases with a credit card — apply for and use a business card, not your personal credit card.

2. Use a designated checking account or credit card

In the past, business owners and consumers alike were often forced to keep meticulous logs in order to track spending. And while those logs are still an important piece of the puzzle, today’s online banking platforms often take away much of the manual labor.

In most cases, your online banking platform will provide you with all the pertinent info regarding transactions, including the amount, date, and the payee. Further, many banks and credit card companies allow online users to download an activity report, which can be used to further filter and record your expenses.

3. Log info regularly

Whatever method you choose to implement, regularity is the key to success. For some, particularly those who rely on manual entry methods, a daily log will prove to be the most efficient way to keep track of expenses.

Others, however, may find that a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly schedule is just as efficient. However, don’t wait too long. The longer the gap between spending and logging, the more likely you are to forget, lose, or omit vital information.

In your log, make sure to note the date, total amount, and nature of the purchase. Though these logs certainly don’t need to be super detailed, providing basic information will help you segment your expenses when it’s time to budget and provide documentation in the case of an audit.

4. Use an expense tracking app

While the good ol’ pen and paper combo, or even the note feature on a smartphone, can serve as an easy expense recording tool, there is certainly room for error. There are numerous apps that can help streamline and add integrity to the process, some of which even integrate with your accounting software.

As you review your app options, it’s a good idea to take note of what type of expenses you can track. For example, Expensify and TripLog both allow you to track mileage and business expenses in one place, but that’s not always the case.

In addition, it’s also important to take note of any limits that may be in place. Some apps are free for a single user but require payment for more than one user. Similarly, other apps limit the total amount of expenses, employees, or vehicles you can track.

5. Have a clear expense tracking and submission policy

If you’re responsible for reimbursing employees for their expenses, it’s essential that you create a clearly defined expense submission policy. This should include things like mileage rates, an outline of acceptable expenses, and submission deadlines (e.g., within 5 business days of the purchase).

Further, it’s important that you specify what documents should be included. At the very least, you’ll want employees to save receipts and record mileage, where applicable.

6. Set limits

In reality, limits fall into the expense policy, but the notion is important enough to merit its own section.

If you’re reimbursing employees, it’s important to explicitly state any limits or spending criteria that will dictate reimbursement. By doing so, you can set behavioral expectations (e.g., no elaborate lunches) and maintain control of your operating budget.

For instance, you may want to set limits on how much an employee can spend on meals, what type of airfare you’ll reimburse (e.g., first class vs business class), or maximum hotel stay expenses.

7. Know what’s deductible

Since taxes represent a primary reason to practice regular expense tracking, it’s helpful to know what type of expenses you can and can’t deduct.

In general, the IRS states that business owners can deduct any expense that is “both ordinary and necessary.” Of course, it can be hard to determine exactly what that means. If you’re unsure if a business expense is considered ordinary and necessary, your best bet is to consult the IRS small business deductions page as well as your accountant.  

As a business owner, tracking expenses can be a challenge, but doing so can make it easier to run your business and manage your finances. The tips above can help you create a strong process that can alleviate some of the pain points often associated with expense tracking.

 

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. Loans will be made or arranged pursuant to California Department of Corporations Finance Lenders License #6050609.

Opportunity Fund, the nation’s leading nonprofit small business lender, believes small dollar loans help hard-working entrepreneurs make lasting change in their own lives and build stronger communities by growing businesses and creating jobs. Opportunity Fund’s community of donors and investors is creating an inclusive financial system that empowers women, immigrant, and minority small business owners. Our strategy combines microloans for small business owners and New Markets Tax Credit investments in high-impact community infrastructure projects. Since 1994, Opportunity Fund has deployed more than $750 million and helped thousands of entrepreneurs invest in their families’ futures. The organization has committed to lending an additional $1.2 billion to small business owners across the country and investing $174 million in community real estate projects by 2023.

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

Each month, we promoting affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events in May.

Each month, we promoting affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in California and virtual events you can join from anywhere. Here are the best upcoming events in May.

Northern California/Sacramento

Running an Environmentally Sustainable Business
Date: Wed, May 8, 2019 | 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM PDT
Location: 455 Market Street, Suite 600. San Francisco, CA 94105  
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | 415-744-6777
Organization: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
Fee: Free

Do you work in or own a small business and are pressed for time, but are looking to make a real-world difference on your business’s environmental impacts? This workshop is will cover common resource conservation issues such as supply chain management, reducing waste, green cleaning, water efficiency, and energy conservation.

A diverse panel of speakers include a utility expert, the Green Business Program Coordinator, an B Corp consultant, and a certified Green Business. They panelist will cover environmental best practices and resources available to help your business take the next step on you sustainability journey

Click here to register for this event.

Selling to the Government and Corporations: An Insider’s Guide
Date: Fri, May 10, 2019 | 8:30 AM – 12:00 PM PDT
Location: 455 Market Street, Suite 600. San Francisco, CA 94105  
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | 415-744-6777
Organization: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
Fee: Free

Did you know that the federal government is the largest economy in the world, spending half a trillion dollars on goods & services each year, and the state of California ranks number five, just ahead of the UK & France!

The government purchases nearly EVERYTHING from office supplies to construction services to art instruction services, and everything in between. If your small business sells it, the government probably buys it. Plus, there are special considerations for businesses certified as small, minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned and more. Learn how to make the government your next customer, or learn how to expand your current government customer base at this free workshop series hosted by the Norcal Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

Click here to register for this event.

Disability Access For Small Businesses: A Panel Discussion On ADA/ABE
Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 | 1:00pm to 3:00pm PDT
Location: 2nd Floor Atrium, 1 South Van Ness Avenue. San Francisco
Contact: Jossiel Cruseta | 628-652-6397
Organization: SBDC Northern California
Fee: Free

In 2016, San Francisco passed the “Accessible Business Entrance” (ABE) ordinance, which requires existing buildings with a place of “public accommodation” to have all primary entrances accessible for people with disabilities.

In partnership with the Office of Small Business, California Commission on Disability Access, and Pacific ADA, the San Francisco Small Business Development Center will host a panel discussion for small business owners who want to learn about being compliant with federal, state, and local laws to reduce your risk of litigation.

Click here to register for this event.

 

Southern California/San Diego

Getting Started With Marketing Automation
Date: May 29, 2019 | 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM PDT
Location:  2075 Las Palmas Drive, Carlsbad CA
Contact: centerinfo@miracosta.edu | (760) 795-8740
Organization:  North San Diego SBDC
Fee: Free

Staying on top of emails to prospects and customers can be a full time job. Even if you have templates for outreach and replies, it still takes time to tweak your message and send out emails.

Marketing automation can take over some of that job for you, sending and replying to standard emails automatically so you don’t have to.

Join us for this workshop full of tips and tricks to getting started with marketing automation. Plus learn typical pitfalls to avoid, getting you off on the right foot and putting you a step ahead of your competition.

Click here to register for this event.

Patents, Trademarks and Copyright
Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Drive. Suite 109 Colton, CA
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Want to know how to protect your business’s intellectual property? This workshop will show you how! Discover what is considered the intellectual property of your business and the steps you need to take to protect it. You’ll learn the difference between a trademark and copyright; how patents can protect your business and more.

Click here to register for this event.

License and Permits for Small Businesses
Date: May 15, 2019 | 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 300A Sherman Oaks, CA
Contact: info@vedc.org | 818-907-9922
Organization: VEDC Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

This class will help you learn about business structures and the required licenses and permits your business may need. You will also learn how to complete applications for various licenses and other legal documents for your business.

Click here to register for this event.

 

Virtual

Tips for Importing into the U.S.
Date: May 16, 2019 | 6:15 pm – 6:45 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Lora Nelson | lora.nelson@canyons.edu | (661) 362-5900
Organization: SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons
Fee: Free

Do you want to start or expand an import business? It’s important to follow all laws and regulations to avoid an import business nightmare.

The following will be covered:

  • Do I need an import license?
  • What are the necessary documents?
  • How to classify the merchandise
  • What is the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS)?
  • How can a licensed customs broker help your business?
  • What is the role of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)?
  • Important tips about shipments
  • Duties, tariffs, and what’s next?

Click here to register for this event.

How to use Google Analytics in your E-commerce Business
Date: May 16, 2019 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm MDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Lora Nelson | lora.nelson@canyons.edu | (661) 362-5900
Organization: SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons
Fee: Free

Overview

Monitoring the important KPIs

How to build useful dashboards

Click here to register for this event.

Voice Matters: How to Unleash Your Presence as a Speaker to Grow Your Business
Date: Wednesday, May 29, 2019 | 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: 530.926.6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Are you tired of having “hit or miss” experiences when speaking in public? Would you like to be fully present in your own body while deeply connected to the crowd? Would you like to awaken, energize and move them–to laughter, to tears, to action?

It’s not (just) what you say, it’s (also) how you say it. Charisma is no longer optional. Leaders need to be able to influence, motivate, inspire, connect with and emotionally move their audiences. In this interactive webinar, you will learn how to do more than communicate clearly and articulately. You will come away with powerful techniques to help you unleash your innate, unique charisma and to move people – to laughter, to tears or to action.

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 and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $700 million and helped thousands of families invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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

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