This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from June 15 through 30.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better.

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from June 15 through 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

IRS Forms of Ownership
Date: June 19, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: Veterans Business Outreach Center
4608 Duckhorn Dr. Sacramento, CA 95834 (map it)
Contact: Star Cochran | admin@vbocix.org | (916) 527-8400
Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Center
Fee: Free

One of the most critical decisions for new business owners is to decide which form of ownership will best meet your business needs.

Join this free seminar to learn about the different forms of ownership to choose from. We’ll help you understand the most common legal structures for businesses plus the pros and cons of each form of business entity.

Click here to register for this event.

Writing a Successful Business Plan
Date: June 19, 2018 | 2:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: Berkeley Public Library
2090 Kittredge St. Berkeley, CA 94704 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | seminars@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organization: Alameda County SBDC
Fee: Free

What makes a good business plan? What are the key components of writing a compelling plan and what are investors looking for in your plan? This free seminar will help you write your best business plan ever!

Topics include:

  • Key components of a business plan
  • Key questions your business plan should answer
  • The importance of financial projections
  • The numbers investors look for in a plan
  • Critical numbers to manage and grow your business
  • Secrets to writing your best business plan

Click here to register for this event.

LinkedIn for Your Business
Date: June 21, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 7:30 pm PDT
Location: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library—Third Floor: SJPL Works
150 E. San Fernando St. San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: sjplworks@sjlibrary.org | (408) 808-2310
Organization: SJPL Works
Fee: Free

This free seminar, LinkedIn for Business, teaches you how to create your business brand, promote your business, and identify key prospects.

Topics include:

  • Building your business brand
  • Optimizing your profile
  • Marketing your business
  • Targeting prospects

Registration is encouraged. Parking validation for 4th St. garage will be provided at the program.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Pricing for Profitability: Are You Charging What You’re Worth?
Date: June 20, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 E. Cooley Dr. Ste 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

Are you challenged with how to competitively price your services? How do you know if you’re charging too much—or worse, too little? Pricing your services is one of the most important decisions you will make in your business. Find out what you must know to set your prices appropriately and competitively.

Click here to register for this event.

California Department of Veterans Affairs Veteran Business Forum 2018
Date: June 22, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: San Diego State University—Montezuma Hall: SDSU Student Union
5500 Campanile Dr. San Diego, CA 92182 (map it)
Contact: dvbe@calvet.ca.gov
Organization: California Department of Veterans Affairs
Fee: Free

The California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) presents the Annual Veteran Business Forum sponsored by DGS and San Diego State University. The conference will provide veterans support and services to help them start, grow, and maintain their businesses. This free event is open to all veterans.

Join us for workshops (How to do Business with the State of California + Contracting with the State of California), Q&A panels, networking with California state agencies, and more!

Walkins are welcome, but to ensure a name tag and easy entrance, please register.

Click here to register for this event.

State Basic Payroll Tax & E-Services
Date: June 28, 2018 | 9:30 am PDT – 12:30 pm PDT
Location: BusinessSource Center West Valley
18645 Sherman Way #114 Reseda, CA 91335 (map it)
Contact: (818) 705-9977 | info@bscvalley.org
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free

Join this free seminar and learn about key tools and resources for filing payroll taxes for your small business.

  • How and when to report state payroll taxes
  • How to distinguish between an employee and an independent contractor
  • What are independent contractor reporting requirements
  • Where to get assistance

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Copyrights, Patents, & Trademarks
Date: June 18, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: tbwbc@thecentre.org
Organization: The Tampa Bay Women’s Business Centre
Fee: Free

Have you protected your invention, unique product or service, or the brand name and logo that you designed? Failure to safeguard your intellectual property can result in someone else infringing or violating what you have taken a great deal of time and capital to develop. Attend this workshop to learn the necessary steps to protect what you have created for the marketplace.

Click here to register for this event.

Business Continuity & Disaster Preparedness
Date: June 19, 2018 | 7:00 am PDT – 8:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Briana Williams | briawill@fiu.edu | (305) 779-9233
Organization: Florida SBDC
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar to learn how you can prepare for disaster and spare your small business lost time, money, property, and more.

Topics include:

  • Business continuity and disaster preparedness
  • Miami-Dade County emergency information
  • Free mobile apps to aid preparedness
  • Resources to protect against business interruption

Click here to register for this event.

Creativity at Work: Why Creative Thinking Matters and How to Tap It
Date: June 20, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Small business owners—think about these questions for your business:

  • Do you have challenges in your business because traditional methods and strategies aren’t working?
  • Are there areas of your business where you need to think outside the box?
  • Is your business doing well, but you’re feeling creatively starved?
  • Do you want to see new opportunities and resources for your business?

This free webinar on creative thinking for your small business can help you find answers to these questions. To evolve our work, we need to see beyond our current mindset, systems, and methods. Business owners often get trapped in formulas that can become limiting. Traditional goal-setting methods don’t always work when pioneering new things.

Together we’ll learn how to look at your small business with a different, more expensive perspective plus find opportunities, resources, and methods to become a more creative thinker.

Click here to register for this event.

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.


For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

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


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $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

Running a successful food truck is challenging, but attracting customers can be especially difficult. List your mobile food business on these mobile applications to get your food truck discovered.

Running a successful food truck is challenging, but attracting customers can be especially difficult. List your mobile food business on these mobile applications to get your food truck discovered.

Owning and operating a mobile food business has its unique benefits and challenges. Because of the nature of food trucks, you don’t have the luxury of a brick-and-mortar location for customers to visit on a regular basis. You miss out on that easy consistency because you move around frequently – unless you list your food truck on apps that let hungry people find you when they need food.

Even if you’re active on social media, it’s always good to add yourself to your city’s local business directory, bonus if you can find an area-specific food truck website. Here are some good apps for you to list your food truck on.

Roaming Hunger

Where you can download the app: App Store and Google Play

Roaming Hunger is a country-wide app that allows vendors to list their food trucks and hungry people to easily find food. Create your profile and get discovered easily. You can even book catering opportunities right through the app. That’s not all – if you need a new food truck or need to sell your old one, you can also do that through Roaming Hunger.

Street Food Finder

Where you can download the app: App Store and Google Play

Another country-wide app, Street Food Finder may not look super polished and fancy, but it is easy to use with its map view and “Who’s Open” versus “Vendors” tabs for people looking to discover new food trucks for later. One great feature is that you authenticate using your small business’ Twitter account and can schedule location tweets from the app.

Thumbtack

Where you can download the app: App Store and Google Play

We’ve written about Thumbtack before, but this freelance finder service is useful for more than just finding contractors for your business. When you list your food truck, people looking to book someone for a party or corporate event can easily find you.

Off The Grid

Where you can download the app: App Store and Google Play

If you own a San Francisco Bay Area food truck, Off the Grid is for you! If you operate somewhere else, take a look at this app and see if you can find a similar app near you. How it works is that this service curates events with different food trucks to offer a marketplace for large crowds. If someone buys tacos from one food truck at a festival, they’ll quench their thirst with your craft lemonade. Work with your peers, not against them!

 

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

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from June 1 through 14.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from June 1 through 14.

Northern California/Sacramento

Building Business Websites
Date: Starts June 5, 2018 | 1:15 pm PDT – 2:45 pm PDT
Location: College of the Siskiyous—Yreka Campus TTC 32-101
2001 Campus Dr. Yreka, CA 96097 (map it)
Contact: registration@siskiyous.edu | (530) 938-5500
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Learn to create and maintain your own business website using the full range of designs and features available for CMS like WordPresswithout coding!

Join this free course offered by the College of the Siskiyous to learn how to build your business website. During this ten week course that meets twice per week, you’ll create a fully functional business website without studying programming language.

Topics include:

  • Online basics: websites, CMS, websites-as-a-service, hosted websites, domain names, hosting accounts
  • Major WordPress functions: posts, pages, plugins, themes, and users in this CMS environment
  • Components: evaluate, select, install, and use components for your website
  • Your content: add text, images, media, widgets, navigation elements, and links to a website
  • Live website: Secure and maintain your new website

The only requirement to attend this course is an internet browser. Bring your laptop and get ready to learn!

Register through College of the Siskiyous website or register in person at the office of enrollment Weed or Yreka campus.

2018 Tax Law Changes for Small Businesses–What You Need to Know
Date: June 6, 2018 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: DeVry University
8000 Jarvis Ave. Ste 220 Newark, CA 94560 (map it)
Contact: Suzanne Schafer | seminars@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organization: Alameda County SBDC
Fee: Free

The new tax law represents the biggest overhaul of the tax code in 30 years. Many provisions have a significant impact on small businesses. Don’t wait until the end of the year to understand how these laws impact you! Advance planning may save significant amounts in your taxes.

In this seminar, we will discuss the following:

  • Tax implications of different business structures (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
  • Pass-through deductions impact on small businesses
  • Changes in personal and corporate tax rates
  • Changes in the treatment of certain business expenses
  • Planning opportunities to prepare for tax season

Click here to register for this event.

Fashion Series: Fashion Manufacturing: Bridging Concept with Reality
Date: June 7, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 275 5th St. San Francisco, CA 94103 (map it)
Contact: Fatimah Aure | faure@rencenter.org | (415) 348-6217
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: $15

In this Fashion series workshop meet business consultant and fashion business owner Lenore Espanola, who will walk you through manufacturing options including overseas, domestic, and local options.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Money Smart for Small Businesses
Date: Starts June 2, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: Cathay Bank
9650 Flair Dr. El Monte, CA 91731 (map it)
Contact: Colleen Seto | cseto@ltsc.org | (213) 473-1605
Organization: Asian Pacific Islander Small Business Program
Fee: Free

Join this introductory 2-day business course on June 2 and 9 designed for new business owners, self-employed individuals, and aspiring entrepreneurs. Get started on better money management skills for your small business with this curriculum developed by the FDIC and SBA. Breakfast, lunch, and course materials will be provided by Cathay Bank. Limited seating is available–advance registration is required. Free parking is available behind the Cathay Bank building.

Topics include:

  • Time management
  • Startup planning
  • Recordkeeping
  • Banking services
  • Risk management
  • Insurance

Click here to register for this event.

Entrepreneur Training Program
Date: Starts June 8, 2018 | 2:00 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: 5701 S. Eastern Ave. Ste 108 Commerce, CA 90040 (map it)
Contact: Alex Alvarez | alex.alvarez@operationhope.org | (323) 697-6202
Organization: Operation Hope
Fee: Free

This 12-week course for entrepreneurs will help you succeed in business with practical tips from subject matter experts. Join us every Friday starting June 8 for this free course and get on your way to being the boss of your business.

Topics include:

  • Market research
  • Feasible business
  • Start-up funding
  • And more!

Contact Alex Alvarez at (323) 697-6202 to register for this event.

Small Business Accounting for Non-Accountants
Date: June 9, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 E. Cooley Dr. Ste 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

Are you earning money and paying bills, but don’t know how to make sense of your numbers? Do you want to understand your finances and feel confident to make strategic decisions that will benefit your business and your future? Join us to make sense of your numbers and create a greater impact in your business and life.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Using Census Data to Size Up Your New or Existing Business
Date: June 5, 2018 | 7:30 am PDT – 8:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (470) 891-5576
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration Georgia District Office
Fee: Free

Census data is an essential tool for entrepreneurs at any stage to get started or grow their business. Join this free webinar to get smart about your business through census data.

Topics include:

  • How to use industry terms to successfully plan, jump start, and run your business
  • How to use NAICS codes to locate and zoom in on business opportunities
  • How to use verifiable industry analysis census data to accelerate your business
  • How to use census data to measure your business and find growth opportunities

Click here to register for this event.

Let’s Talk Business! How to Multiply Yourself as a Brand with Social Media
Date: June 6, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Ryan Norskog | rnorskog@thurstonedc.com | (360) 464-6060
Organization: Washington Center for Women in Business
Fee: Free

Learn how to use social media to market yourself as a brand and multiply your encounters with the marketplace.

Click here to register for this event.

Payday Loans & Predatory Lending
Date: June 12, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (414) 263-5450
Organization: Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation
Fee: Free

Borrowing money can be intimidating. Join us to learn smart borrowing practices, your rights as a borrower, and how to avoid being a victim of predatory lending.

Click here to register for this event.

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.


For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

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


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $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

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from May 17 through 31.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from May 17 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

From Kitchen to Market
Date: May 17, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: College of Marin—Indian Valley Campus
1800 Ignacio Blvd. Novato, CA  94949 (map it)
Contact: (415) 485-9305
Organization: Marin SBDC
Fee: $25 (includes a take-home packet with worksheets and resource guides)

Have you thought of taking that delicious family recipe and turning it into a business? Do you already own a food manufacturing business and want to expand?

Join this workshop to gain a competitive edge and learn about the rapidly growing specialty food industry. SBDC Specialty Foods Business Advisor Anni Minuzzo presents this three hour workshop. Gain insights from her 30 years of experience in the food and beverage industry, 20 of which were spent owning a wholesale baking company.

Topics include:

  • Planning and production process
  • Contacts to help get you started
  • Capitalization options

Click here to register for this event.

Take Better Photos for Your Business With the Camera You Already Have
Date: May 18, 2018 | 8:30 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Ste. 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov
Organization: SBA San Francisco District Office
Fee: Free

If you’re struggling to connect with your audience or your photography isn’t meeting the results your business needs, this free workshop can help.

Join us for a 90 minute workshop and learn how to create storytelling images that will make your brand stand out—using the equipment you already own! From cell phones to DSLRs, chances are you already own a great camera. Learn and techniques that will immediately improve the results your photos produce.

Click here to register for this event.

CCT Business Plan Workshop 2018
Date: May 22, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Seminary Campus—B.C. Lounge
4815 East Butler Ave. Fresno, CA 93727 (map it)
Contact: Carlos Huerta | Carlos.Huerta@fresno.edu | (559) 453-2374 or Jeanatte Jaurena | Jeanette.Jaurena@fresno.edu | (559) 453-2367
Organization: Center for Community Transformation—Fresno Pacific University
Fee: Free

Can you make a difference and make money?

Learn how to become financially sustainable and accomplish your social mission in this free Social Business Plan Workshop. Join like-minded entrepreneurs interested in Social Enterprise, a rapidly-growing category of business nationwide.

The best idea of the day will also win a $100 cash prize!

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Time Management
Date: May 23, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 E. Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

If you’re doing more and enjoying it less, it’s time to make real choices about how and when to spend your time.

Join professional organizer Donna Buckner of Organizing Solutions and learn to analyze your day and prioritize your time based on what you really need to accomplish. Find balance, achieve your goals, and be more productive and efficient.

Click here to register for this event.

Start-Up Workshop
Date: May 24, 2018 | 3:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 1055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900B Los Angeles, CA 90017 (map it)
Contact: Daniel Ing | ding@pacela.org | (213) 353-9400
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: Free

If you are planning to start your business and you want to start on the right track, please join us at our next Small Business Start up workshop.

Topics include:

  • Start-up costs of your business
  • Your target audience
  • Your client base
  • 5 Cs of the loan application process
  • Business plans
  • Credit counseling
  • Loan packaging
  • Basic licenses and permits including business license, DBA, Seller’s Permit. EIN
  • Types of business entities

Click here to register for this event.

Basic Web Design
Date: May 24, 2018 | 5:00 pm PDT – 7:00 pm PDT
Location: 13420 Van Nuys Blvd. Ste. 121 Pacoima, CA 91331 (map it)
Contact: info@bscvalley.org | (818) 834-0577
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free

Learn the basic elements of a high converting website and walk through two drag-and-drop platforms that make it easy and inexpensive to create a website your customers will love. Understand why SEO matters and website navigate settings to customize your site. Then learn how to source the royalty free images and write the content that you will plug into your template. Hit publish and you’re done!

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Online QuickBooks for Beginners I
Date: May 18, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Shaunda Gates | shaundagates@boisestate.edu | (208) 426-3875
Organization: Idaho Small Business Development Center
Fee: $25

Join other small business owners and entrepreneurs and learn how to get started with Online QuickBooks in this webinar.

Participants in this workshop will be taught lessons on the following topics:

  • Getting Started and Setting up QuickBooks
  • Syncing Bank Accounts and Recording Transactions
  • Adding New Customers
  • Entering Sales Information (including the basics of invoicing)
  • Receiving Payments and Making Deposits

Please note: registrants will be emailed instructions on the login procedure one-day prior to the workshop. This class applies to QuickBooks for Online users only.

Click here to register for this event.

Essentials for Starting a Small Business
Date: Starts May 21, 2018
Location: Online—Webinar on demand
Contact: sbdc@sunyocc.edu | (315) 498-6070
Organization: Onondaga (N.Y.) SBDC
Fee: $35

The Essentials for Starting a Small Business is an online on demand course designed to create awareness for people who are interested in starting their own business with an emphasis on risk management.

Topics include:

  • Different types of entities
  • Legalities that go along with starting a business
  • Business plan development
  • Financials associated with starting a business

This course is a 6 week (approximately 10 hour) commitment, and uses the Blackboard management learning system for anytime, anywhere learning.

Click here to register for this event.

Inspire Innovation in Your Small Business
Date: May 31, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: contact.northeastnj@scorevolunteer.org | (201) 336-6090
Organization: SCORE Northeast New Jersey
Fee: Free

Do you know why your company struggles with innovation? What obstacles stifle your creativity? How can you develop your next product or sell your next service?

During this webinar, award-winning inventor, entrepreneur, and author Lon Safko will show you how to get creative and inspire innovative thinking to make your small business thrive.

You will learn:

  • How your brain functions (or doesn’t)
  • Why creative thinking is difficult
  • How to use random association exercises that teach your brain to generate new ideas
  • How to overcome obstacles and excel at creativity everyday
  • How to become your own innovation thought leader

Click here to register for this event. 

We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.


For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

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


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $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

Your credit score shouldn’t be a game of limbo. Our content partner Nav explains how low credit scores work and how you can still get credit despite your low score.

Your credit score shouldn’t be a game of limbo. Our content partner Nav.com explains how low credit scores work and how you can still get credit despite your low score.

 

In the world of finance, it’s common to hear people bragging about their credit scores. These badges of money honor are one famously important indicator of how accomplished a consumer appears. The higher, the better, and so – when talked about openly – it’s most often the big numbers you’ll hear about.

What about those who are hanging out at the bottom? Their credit history may not be a sign of good times or wise decisions. Perhaps, they suffered from a horrible loss (such as a medical disaster or business failure) and their credit took the worst kind of hit. If everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, what kind of credit score numbers would we be talking about? When we open our dark, skeleton-filled financial closets, what is the lowest credit score that could be lurking there?

How Low Can FICO Go?

One of the scoring options used for evaluating personal credit, FICO (Fair Isaac Corporation), is used in over 90% of credit decisions, and it ranges from 300 (the lowest) to 850 (the highest). But just because you’re hanging out well above the 300 mark, doesn’t make your credit “good.” In fact, most lenders consider anything below 600 in the “poor” range, and you’ll find it hard to qualify for the best credit, mortgage, and loan offers available.

If you’re sitting at a 579 or lower, Experian lumps you into this substandard group. They have determined that 61% of consumers in this category are likely to become seriously delinquent, or even default on a loan, in the future. So, even if you aren’t anywhere near the 300’s, you could still have problems getting good rates, an adequate credit line, or access to the better utility plans offered in your area.

Who determines what is a “bad” or “poor” score? It’s not FICO or the other reporting companies. They just supply the number, which is an indication of your risk to lenders. It’s the lenders themselves that make the determination of whether a score can pass their lending rules. So, a consumer who can’t get a mortgage from one bank with a 620 score, may be able to get one with another lender. While the scores are standard, how they are interpreted isn’t.

What Creates a Low Credit Score?

Responsibility with payments is just one factor that affects your score. A serious delinquency, history of late payments, bankruptcy, or default will certainly lower your score. Most people at the bottom of the score range have had at least one of these, and possibly more. You can also have a lower score if you are paying responsibly but are using up most of the credit available to you. (Keeping your ratio of debt to available credit below 30% is key to keeping your score from dragging at the bottom.)

These aren’t the only things responsible for a lower score, however. Having a no credit or only very new credit can also lead to a poor rating. A recent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report revealed that 26 million adults in the United States don’t even have a credit record, placing them in the same position as those with delinquencies when it comes to accessing credit services.

This is also why experts recommend that you participate in consumer behaviors that contribute to a score, even if you don’t personally favor the use of credit. You can start with a secured credit card that only allows you to charge what you’ve put as a deposit on your account. Asking your rental landlord to report your on-time payments to a reporting bureau can also help.

Can I Get Credit With a Low Score?

The short answer is “yes.” In fact, there is a whole suite of services, loans, and cards designed for the consumer with a low score. While it’s not likely to get access to much with the absolute worst score of 300, anyone in the poor range can benefit from a secured credit card, getting a co-signer, or being added as an authorized user on an existing credit card account. Just be sure you treat these options seriously, pay on time, and do the things needed to raise your score and get access to better credit solutions over time.

Another thing to remember is that banks aren’t limited to just using your credit score in qualifying you for credit. While one important factor, they also rely on your wages, job history, and income sources such as child support or alimony. The score is just part of a whole picture lenders look at to determine credit worthiness.

What’s Next For Credit Scores?

Despite feeling like having a low credit score is a lonely place to be, it’s not. While less than 5% of consumers have a FICO score at the 300-499 level, 20% still fall in the range under 599 – considered “poor” by most lenders. This shows that credit is still an issue for a good portion of the population and one that will take years to correct.

It’s not a reason to lose hope, however. The trend is pointing up, showing that the average credit score hit 700 for the first time ever in April of 2017. This may be because consumers have unprecedented access to see their scores through free or low-cost platforms (including as part of the FICO Open Accessprogram or their credit card statements.) The U.S. economy is also credited for much of the gain, with Experian noting an upward trend since the end of the Great Recession. This same Experian study reported that scores above 800 finally outnumbered those below 600 – a first for U.S. credit holders.  

Maybe, then, we are asking the wrong question. Instead of asking “how low can I go?” we should look at how high we must reach to live the life we seek. Often, the difference in getting what we need is a matter of a few easily attainable points.

 

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

Bust a Nut is a snacking hotspot at one of the largest swap meets in Southern California. When owner Hector Sandoval needed to purchase a trailer for his roasted nuts business, Opportunity Fund was there to help with our fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans.

 

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

Bust a Nut is a snacking hotspot at one of the largest swap meets in Southern California. When owner Hector Sandoval needed to purchase a trailer for his roasted nuts business, Opportunity Fund was there to help with our fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans.

A Breakout Success

Hector Sandoval started Bust a Nut, his roasted peanut cart, in 2012. Hector takes his cart to the Vineland Swap Meet in La Puente, Calif. six days a week to sell fresh roasted peanuts. The well known swap meet has been a major key in Bust a Nut’s success, with large crowds every weekend and entertainment like live music every day.

Hector took his chance to become an entrepreneur following the latest recession. After working in road construction for several years with opportunities dwindling, he chose to go into business for himself.

“I was always interested in selling,” Hector said. “I picked this business because not many people do what I do in mobile food.”

Hector buys raw peanuts in bulk and roasts them on the spot at his nut cart. The fresh, hot peanuts are a huge hit at every stop he makes: the swap meet and church events, where he donates all profits to his church.

Bust a Nut was a success from the start, but Hector still had some roadblocks to growth. “When I started roasting peanuts I had a lot of problems with the health department,” he said. “They required me to build a trailer and put my machines inside the trailer. It was a huge project.”

Primed for Growth

The new direction for Bust a Nut was difficult for Hector to handle alone. “It was too much for me to afford all at once,” he said.

Working with Kareem Carts helped Hector what he needed: a new trailer for his business and a financing connection. Our mobile food vehicle partner Kareem Carts connected Hector to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Salvador Lopez, who helped close a $26,000 loan for the trailer purchase in November 2013.

Hector - Bust a Nut

Our small business loans helped Hector upgrade his roasted nut business (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)

“Salvador made everything easy,” Hector said. “There was never any pressure to get into a loan. Salvador explained everything and the terms were reasonable.”

With the new trailer, Bust a Nut can go anywhere and do anything. Hector is planning to purchase a second trailer to travel to special events around Los Angeles and hire help to run the new trailer.

“I’m nothing but grateful for Opportunity Fund for giving me that kick start I needed,” he said.

We’re happy to support entrepreneurs like Hector and we’re proud to watch his business grow.


We hope this story has inspired you, too.  At Opportunity Fund, we offer easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans to help small business owners succeed.  Visit our home page to find out more.

Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $600 million and helped 20,000 families earn, save and invest in their own futures. Opportunity Fund has earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator, for our commitment to accountability and transparency.

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This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from May 1 through 16.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from May 1 through 16.

Northern California/Sacramento

5th Annual Small Business Summit
Date: May 3, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Chambers of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors
70 West Hedding St. San Jose, CA 95110 (map it)
Contact: info@hccsv.org | (408) 248-4800
Organization: Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley
Fee: Free

Join the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley for the 5th Annual Small Business Summit of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Get access to informative and inspirational workshops, networking, and resources for you and your business. Celebrate National Small Business Week with us at this free event.

Click here to register for this event.

We Thrive Together: Change Your Money Mindset
Date: May 15, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Shasta County Office of Education
1644 Magnolia Ave. Redding, CA 96001 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

How do you stop making financial decisions that sabotage what you really want? How can you navigate multiple financial priorities?

Women especially struggle with emotional responses when making financial decisions or confronting financial situations. In this free seminar, we’ll discuss the emotional aspects and equipping women to step into their power role with their finances.

Join us and learn how to:

  • Dispel your beliefs about money that have been holding you back
  • Identify your financial habits that are not aligned with what matters most to you
  • Clarify the impact that your desire to make money has in your life

Click here to register for this event.

Business Basics 101 – Oakland Small Business Week
Date: May 2, 2018 | 5:00 pm PDT – 6:30 pm PDT
Location: Oakland City Hall
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza Oakland, CA 94612 (map it)
Contact: (510) 444-CITY
Organization: East Bay SCORE
Fee: Free

Join East Bay SCORE at Oakland Small Business Week for this free seminar on planning for success, finding money, and marketing to your audience. This session will be available in English, Spanish and Cantonese.

For the full slate of Oakland Small Business Week events, click here.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Are You Covered? Insurance Basics for Small Businesses
Date: May 9, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 E. Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Is your business insurance providing all the coverage you need? Join us for a discussion about the many aspects of business insurance and get the tools to help you understand and evaluate the types of coverage available. Learn how to manage your risk and make sure your policy covers what you need.

Click here to register for this event.

Business Plan Essentials
Date: Starts May 11, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900B Los Angeles, CA 90017 (map it)
Contact: Daniel Ing | ding@pacela.org | (213) 353-9400
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: $60 for 3 classes

This complete workshop will take you through the step-by-step process of developing a business plan. During this three-day workshop you will analyze your business, develop the plan, and on the last day present it to 3 bankers who will assess your plan and provide you feedback. The plan also serves as an effective communication tool for financing proposals.

Get more information on the program curriculum here.

Click here to register for this event.

3rd Fashion Entrepreneur Expo
Date: May 12, 2018 | 11:00 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: New York Life
801 N. Brand Blvd. 3rd Floor Glendale, CA 91203 (map it)
Contact: info@vedc.org | (818) 907-9922
Organization: VEDC
Fee: Free for general admission | $30 for VIP admission (includes parking, breakfast and lunch, and VIP Mixer)

Fashion enthusiasts: Do you want to start a business in the fashion industry? Do you already have a line of products that you need help promoting? Do you want to learn how to increase your sales?

Join us for our 3rd Fashion Entrepreneur Expo! We will have dozens of booths offering their products/services; speakers on selling, blogging, and starting a fashion line, plus a runway showcase.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

National Small Business Week Virtual Conference
Date: May 1-3, 2018 | 9:30 am PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: smallbusinessweek@sba.gov
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

The U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE Association will host a free 3-Day Virtual Conference during National Small Business Week May 1 through 3 starting at 9:30 am PDT each day.

The Virtual Conference offers all the best parts of an in-person conference, but without the hassle of traveling. You will also have the opportunity to meet other business owners and chat with industry experts.

Choose the webinars that interest you the most (click here for a full description of each webinar):

  • How Changing Consumer Behavior Impacts Your Business – May 1 at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT
  • Addressing Discrimination and Harassment in the Workplace – May 1 at 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT
  • Get New and Repeat Business On Autopilot with Email Marketing – May 1 at 4:00 PM ET/1:00 PM PT
  • Creating and Sustaining a Strong Social Presence – May 1 at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT
  • The U.S. Economic Outlook and Its Impact on Small Businesses – May 2 at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT
  • Managing Your Finances in the Cloud – May 2 at 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT
  • Grow Your Business in 2018 – May 2 at 4:00 PM ET/1:00 PM PT
  • Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Financing – May 2 at 5:30 PM ET/2:30 PM PT
  • Hug Your Haters: How to Embrace Complaints & Keep Your Customers – May 3 at 1:00 PM ET/10:00 AM PT
  • Sharing Your Story Through Video – May 3 at 2:30 PM ET/11:30 AM PT
  • Pop & Play: How Opening a Pop-Up Shop Can Help Launch Your Retail Brand – May 3 at 4:00 PM ET/1:00 PM PT
  • Fusion Marketing: The Next Generation of Marketing – May 3 at 5:30 PM ET / 2:30 PM PT

Click here to register for this event.

Facebook Marketing for Small Business
Date: May 2, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 9:45 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (678) 335-5600 Ext 120
Organization: Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar to learn how to use Facebook for your small business. Increase the visibility of your business and connect with new customers through effective social media tactics:

  • 10 Do’s and Don’ts
  • Basic Fan Page Setup
  • Insider Tips and Tricks

Click here to register for this event.

Discovering What Works in Social Media
Date: May 11, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: John Merlino | jmerl018@live.kutztown.edu | (973) 879-3549
Organization: Kutztown (Penn.) SBDC
Fee: Free

Join John Merlino, KUSBDC social media guru, for this free webinar and learn about the 5D social media program that was developed to help existing entrepreneurs navigate the ever-changing world of social media marketing. Through the KUSBDC 5D model you will be able to develop best practices for your business by learning new ways to integrate your goals, design, and track the performance of content that is relevant in your industry. This will help ensure that you are getting your fair share of customers through your social media postings. Be the first to attend this webinar and learn about the opportunity to gain additional student internship resources to support your social media marketing campaigns.

Click here to register for this event.


We’re looking for upcoming events to promote to small business owners like you. If you have an event you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

For information about Opportunity Fund’s small business loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

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


Opportunity Fund is tackling economic inequality so that hard work and perseverance means a shot at getting ahead, not just struggling to get by. Our programs are supported by a community of donors and investors whose contributions help to fund small businesses, support college students, and build stronger families and vibrant neighborhoods. Since 1994, the team has deployed $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

While a food truck may be small, it is just as mighty as a brick-and-mortar restaurant when it comes to health inspections. Some people think mobile food businesses are unsanitary, so keeping up with local health codes is vital. Keep reading to get familiar with the best way to prepare for health inspections.

While a food truck may be small, it is just as mighty as a brick-and-mortar restaurant when it comes to health inspections. Some people think mobile food businesses are unsanitary, so keeping up with local health codes is vital. Keep reading to get familiar with the best way to prepare for health inspections.

 

Know Local Health Codes Backwards and Forwards

As with any small business venture, you’ll need to do a lot of research to stay on top of current regulations. With health departments spanning county-wide, you’ll need to know each county’s health codes where your food truck will be operating.

Train your employees regularly and keep them up-to-date on health codes. They may be quizzed by an inspector, so they need to know as much about the food preparation, storage, and safety as you do. Here are some example questions you or your employees may be asked:

  • Do you prepare any food in advance of service? How are these foods cooked, cooled, and reheated?
  • Do you have temperature records? Who records them? Where are the thermometers? How do you calibrate them?
  • What is your hand-washing and glove-use policy?
  • Who does your pest control?
  • What is your process to train new employees? Are your managers certified in food safety?
  • Do you have a written policy for an employee reporting illness or injury?

Speaking of employee illness, make sure you send them home if they show signs of being sick. Keep records of sick days and symptoms you see – if a customer gets sick and traces the illness back to your food truck, you should be able to produce these records to the inspector. You don’t want your business to be shut down until everyone is healthy and the area is completely sanitized.

Constantly Prepare For Inspections

Because your yearly health inspections could happen unannounced – especially if they received a complaint and come in for a surprise visit – you need to always be prepared.

Ask the county’s health department for a checklist so you know exactly what an inspector will be looking for when they visit. Then take that knowledge and self-inspect your truck on a regular basis. Surprise your employees with random inspections of your own for hand washing, cleanliness, food labeling, and everything else on that list. You know your vehicle better than anyone else, so make sure that the health inspector doesn’t find something that you missed.

Keep food purchase records, permits, temperature and storage processes, and any other paperwork that you may be asked for in your food truck. The more you are prepared for an inspection, the faster it will go, and the more likely it is your business will pass with flying colors.

Use a Top-Notch Food Truck

Equipment gets old and breaks down, that’s nothing new. When it comes to keeping your mobile food business sanitary and in proper working order, make sure to replace parts and equipment that are no longer up to standard.

If you’re buying your first food truck or need to upgrade to a new vehicle because your old one doesn’t meet health regulations, consider getting a food truck loan with Opportunity Fund.

 

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

Being ghosted means more than being ignored by friends – it can also mean that you have little to no credit. Our content partner Nav explains how getting ghosted can cost you more money when you need a loan and how to fix the problem.

Being ghosted means more than being ignored by friends – it can also mean that you have little to no credit. Our content partner Nav.com explains how getting ghosted can cost you more money when you need a loan and how to fix the problem.

 

Getting “ghosted” is never a good thing, especially when it comes to your credit scores. They can determine whether you can borrow money for your business, and how much borrowing will cost you. When you have little or no credit history, you’re essentially a “ghost” to the credit bureaus. Being a ghost can mean paying hundreds of thousands more in borrowing costs. It can also put you out of business.

Many business owners fall into the “ghost” category because they either never established a credit history, or because they immigrated to the U.S. There are more of these credit ghosts than you may think.

According to Nav’s data on 189,466 of its small business customers, 39% qualify as credit ghosts. These business owners had a personal credit score of 620 or lower, and had no or very limited credit history. In addition to personal credit, having little or no business credit history can lead to even more problems, like low business credit scores.

Nav’s own co-founder and CEO, Levi King, was once a credit ghost himself. He grew up on a farm in Idaho and was taught to pay cash for everything. It wasn’t until he started his first business, a sign manufacturing company that he realized the importance of building a positive credit history.

“One of my suppliers asked why I didn’t set up credit accounts with them. I had been paying cash on delivery for everything,” says King. “When they pulled my credit report, they said there wasn’t even a record for my company. It was as though I didn’t exist. If they didn’t know me personally, they would have thought my business was a scam.”

How Credit Ghosts Lose Out

For some entrepreneurs, you may have felt the bite of being a ghost when launching your business idea. You may have looked for financing, but got continually denied because of your low credit scores. It’s no wonder that 62% of business owners rely on personal savings to fund their business.

Even if you’ve launched your business, you’ll likely need money to grow or cover cash flow bumps. Traditional lenders will almost always check your personal and business credit reports. A bad credit score will usually lead to a denial for bank loans or credit lines.

This forces many to seek out alternative forms of business lending that have exploded over the past 15 years. Unfortunately, some of these lenders charge extremely high rates and have terms that are tough to understand. Do you know how to calculate a factor rate, for example?

“There are plenty of ways to get money for your business these days, but as a credit ghost you usually only qualify for high-cost financing, which can ruin your business because it’s too expensive, or put you in cycle of reborrowing,” King says. “Most of these lenders don’t report your repayment information to the credit bureaus, so your situation never improves.”

Who’s Most Likely To Be a Ghost

When someone immigrates to the U.S., their credit history doesn’t follow them. They may have run a successful restaurant in Japan for 10 years and had pristine credit, but when they arrive in the U.S., they are essentially invisible to lenders and other creditors. That’s a problem.

Immigrants are crucial to the health of the U.S. economy. They launch more than a quarter of all U.S. businesses and an estimated $126 billion in annual wages are paid to Americans who work at immigrant-run businesses.

Some companies are trying to help solve the problem. Nova Credit has built technology that allow immigrants to transport their credit history around the world. And Nav educates business owners on how to build their credit profiles and provide tools to make it simple to do.

In addition to immigrants, studies have shown that minority entrepreneurs can have a harder time accessing the credit they need to grow their business dream. The Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Atlanta recently released findings from the Small Business Credit Survey that looked at access to capital issues for minority-owned businesses.

That survey found that 58% of black-owned firms reported credit availability challenges, versus 32% of white-owned firms. The same survey also revealed that 40% of black-owned firms reported not applying for financing because they were discouraged (in essence, they felt they’d get denied), compared with 14% of white-owned companies.

How to Un-Ghost Your Credit

If you feel like a credit ghost, there are some simple ways to build your profile. As a business owner, you should be building both your personal and business credit profiles — they are separate.

For your personal credit, get a couple credit cards, even if it needs to be a secured credit card, to start establishing credit history. Always pay on time and keep your credit utilization low, below 30%. (Don’t understand what credit utilization is? Read this.)

For your business credit, ask your suppliers about setting net repayment terms and whether or not they report to the business credit bureaus. You should be able to get net 15-day terms or more if you have a solid history and relationship with the supplier.

You should also apply for a business credit line from stores like Lowes or Staples. Almost any business can get approved for a small amount at these places. Finally, you can also open business credit cards in your business name. Like personal credit cards, always pay them on time and keep your balances low.

The good news for credit ghosts is that establishing a positive credit history should help you improve your scores relatively fast. In a matter of months, you may be able to un-ghost your credit, and put your business in a position to access affordable cash whenever you need it. You can track your business and personal credit score progress for free on Nav.

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

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