Our lending experts are here to answer your toughest questions about small business financing. Shanna McClearn, a business development officer here at Opportunity Fund, shares her insights on lending with this Q&A about P&L statements. Continue reading to find out what they are, why you need to create one, and how it can help you get the loan your business needs.

Our lending experts are here to answer your toughest questions about small business financing. Shanna McClearn, a business development officer here at Opportunity Fund, shares her insights on lending with this Q&A about P&L statements. Continue reading to find out what they are, why you need to create one, and how it can help you get the loan your business needs.

In our blog post about the loan application process, we talked about preparing financial documents before applying for a loan. One of the most important documents lenders want to see after tax returns and bank statements is a P&L statement.

If you aren’t finance savvy, a P&L (Profit and Loss) statement is a document that summarizes your small business’ earnings and expenditures. Sometimes referred to as an income statement, a P&L shows how your business is doing over a period of time. It’s important to have an accurate P&L statement if you want an affordable loan to grow your small business. Keep reading to learn why.

 

Q: Why should business owners create a P&L statement?

A: Profit and loss statements are used to help business owners keep track of what is going on in their business and prove to lenders they can afford a loan. Having cash in the bank doesn’t always tell the full story. An owner can have a lot of cash in the bank, but that may be because they are not paying their rent or not paying all of their taxes. There’s no way to really tell without proper financial statements.

Owners need to know their numbers.  They should know their monthly/quarterly/annual sales and expenses. This helps owners track trends in their profits and spending. You need to know when and where to make adjustments before you’re running a deficit. Without a P&L, neither the business owner nor a lender will accurately know if the business is actually making money in the long-term.

Q: How does a P&L work with other financial documents? What’s the difference?

A: The P&L, Balance Sheet, and Cash Flow Statements are all interrelated. For example, the net income from the P&L is reported in the equity section of the balance sheet. If a business owner prepares the P&L on a cash basis versus an accrual basis, then cash flow from operating activities (i.e. cash from sales and cash paid to vendors or employees) would be included in the cash flow statement. Even if it may seem redundant, all of these financial documents paints a complete, detailed picture of how your business is doing.

Q: How will preparing financial documents help me get an affordable loan?

A: Besides a tax return, a profit and loss statement is the only other document that can tell a lender how the business is doing. Lenders need to be able to determine if the business is generating enough cash flow to pay the business expenses plus the proposed loan payment. Without a P&L, lenders won’t be able to calculate if the business is able to support a loan payment. If a lender doesn’t ask to see financial statements, chances are high that they are preying on you with an unaffordable loan that will cripple your business.

Q: What makes a stellar P&L statement stand out?

A: The more detailed, the better. Lenders want to know the source of the sales revenues. These type of details help lender truly understand the operations of the company. P&Ls that only show total sales and total expenses, with no itemization, are not really helpful. Here are a few examples of good itemization:

  • For a restaurant: breakdown your revenues from food sales versus liquor, beverages, or other merchandise.  
  • For a service company: breakdown your revenues from ongoing contracts versus one-time customers.
  • In general: it’s important to itemize your expenses so that lenders can see detailed cost of goods sold (COGS) and operating expenses like rent, payroll, and advertising.  It’s also good to note if there were any one-time expenses included on the P&L, like legal fees related to a lawsuit or start-up costs for a new product line.

From a lender’s perspective, accrual based accounting is better than cash based accounting because it’s a more accurate way of recording when revenues and expenses are recognized instead of paid. Discuss this with your accountant to see if this is possible for your business.

Q: What mistakes do borrowers make when preparing their financial statements and can borrowers avoid those mistakes?

A: The biggest mistake that small business owners make with their financial statements is taking a hands-off approach.  It’s understandable that small business owners are busy, and financial statements may not be their core competency. Many owners just pass along information to their bookkeeper or accountant and leave it up to that person to take care of all the financials. However, it’s important to take the time to understand what the numbers on the statements mean. You should learn how to read the financial statements to decipher things like how products are selling period-over-period, how product pricing may compare to expenses, and how expenses are trending each period.

Another big mistake small business owners make is only creating financial statements once a year. If you are only tracking revenues and expenses on a yearly basis, it’s hard to keep track of things because you are referring to outdated information. For instance, if adjustments to pricing need to be made or if the rental contract needs to be renegotiated, it’s difficult to know what adjustments to make if you don’t know and track the company’s numbers.  

Q: How do I get started?

A: Start by having a discussion with your accountant or bookkeeper. Collect your records of sales and expenses, calculate net income, and fill out a formatted document that will cleanly show your net income.

For a detailed guide on creating a P&L statement, check out this handbook by Zions Bank:

How to Prepare a Profit and Loss (Income) Statement

 

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


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

Nelda and Gammie Vargas had all the right tools to start their own Filipino restaurant, but couldn’t get funding. Opportunity Fund helped GNC Kusina Atbp grow with two small business loans.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Nelda and Gammie Vargas of GNC Kusina Atbp in Sacramento. Nelda and Gammie had all the right tools to start their own Filipino restaurant, but couldn’t get funding. Read how we helped them grow their business with two small business loans.

A Fresh Business Idea

Nelda and Gammie Vargas started their own Filipino restaurant, GNC Kusina Atpb, in 2014. Gammie has over 30 years of experience as a professional chef at restaurants like Morton’s The Steakhouse. Nelda studied accounting in the Philippines. The time was right for them to start a business.

GNC Kusina Atbp is unique in Sacramento: a restaurant/grocery store where you can pop in for a freshly cooked traditional Filipino breakfast or pick up staples like house-made pork rinds for your home pantry.

As a first time business owner, Nelda has worked through challenges to make her restaurant successful. “It was hard at first starting because we had no background with starting a restaurant business,” she said.  “We’re doing better now. We’re focused on introducing our food to new customers.”

Nelda Vargas - GNC Kusina

Nelda proudly serves authentic Filipino food (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

GNC Kusina Atbp is the only source of income for Nelda and Gammie. “This is our bread and butter,” she said. “Our business helps us pay our bills, our house payments, our utilities, everything. We’re doing well.”

Soon Nelda started looking for small business loans to help secure cash flow for the business. A unique business like GNC Kusina Atbp required a unique funding source. Opportunity Fund was the right fit.

Funding A Family Restaurant

Nelda went to her Wells Fargo business banker, who connected her to Opportunity Fund. Once she talked to loan consultant Madieu Shyllon, she knew we were the right choice for her business.

“Madieu came to my business and approved my first loan,” she said. “My credit wasn’t good when I first applied for loans. It’s hard to get approved for a small business loan without a business profile. I just started my business and couldn’t pay to hire someone to prepare my profile.”

The $10,000 loan helped Nelda purchase a new freezer unit in August 2015. Madieu closed a second loan in January 2017 for $15,000 to help with cash flow.

Nelda values her working relationship with Madieu. “He’s there whenever I call him,” she said. “Sometimes he comes all the way from the Bay Area just to visit us and see how we’re doing, even if he doesn’t have business in the area.”

Nelda is looking to the future of her restaurant. She hopes to call on us again when she needs working capital. We’ll be there to help GNC Kusina Atbp serve up fresh Filipino favorites.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 July 3 through July 16.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 July 3 through July 16.

Northern California/Sacramento

Drive New Business with Social Media
Date: July 6, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th St. Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (map it)
Contact: John Yost | jyost@santacruz.score.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

Join Santa Cruz SCORE for this workshop that will teach you how to get started with social media for your business or non-profit.

This session will answer your key questions, including:

  • Which social media platform(s) will have the biggest bang for your buck?
  • How to create content to grow your followers?
  • How to advertise on social media?
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

How Smart Business Owners Use Credit Cards
Date: July 13, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6820
Organization: U.S. Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Credit cards can be a great tool for managing cash flow or can be helpful as a short-term loan option. Join the SBA for this free seminar to learn how to use credit cards for your business to earn some sweet rewards while avoiding costly pitfalls.

We’ll discuss:

  • Pros and cons of credit cards for entrepreneurs
  • Different types of credit cards and how they can affect your credit scores
  • Common credit card mistakes many small business owners make
  • The one piece of plastic you should not use in your business
  • Key differences between personal and business cards
  • Qualifying for the best business credit cards
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Meet the Lenders Workshop
Date: July 13, 2017 | 12:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: Mt. Shasta Community Building
629 Alder St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Join us at Meet the Lenders and get answers to your questions on financing options for startups and expanding businesses, veteran entrepreneurs, and others through local and JEDI partner organizations.

We will cover:

  • Financing options available to small businesses
  • Loans for real estate, equipment, or machinery
  • Funding sources and services for veterans

Find the financing that fits your business needs! Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Introduction to QuickBooks
Date: July 6, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: Dee Anna Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

Learning a new software package can be scary. Join this free seminar and replace the fear with excitement.

Quickbooks can help you build, maintain, and grow your business by providing automated bookkeeping and accounting procedures that help you stay on top. Learn ways to customize the software to your specific needs and create quality reports that keep you on track, including:

  • Tracking income and expenses
  • Maintaining your accounts receivables and payables
  • Creating quality financial statements

Want more Quickbooks? Register for the 3-part hands-on Quickbooks training at IWEB, which starts July 27. Call Dee Anna Chandler at (909) 890-1242 for more information.

Click here to register for this event.

Bring Attention To Your Website and Your Business With Video!
Date: July 11, 2017 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Bellflower City Hall
16600 Civic Center Dr. Bellflower, CA 90706 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

Video is becoming the content of choice to showcase your business, your product, or your service online! Learn how to create and publish do-it-yourself video throughout your website, social media, and email with the tools you already have!

Haven’t you always wanted to direct? Join us for this free workshop and learn: 

  • Brand standards and consistency on your website, social media, and video.
  • Tools and techniques for making your own videos look polished and professional.
  • Information on apps that make it easy.
  • Actionable steps to market your video online with email and social media.

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital Workshop
Date: July 12, 2017 | 5:00 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: Downtown Anaheim Community Center—Assembly Hall
250 E. Center St. Anaheim, CA 92805 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cisneros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu |(310) 973-3177
Organization: The Center and Orange County SBDC
Fee: Free

Join Opportunity Fund at Access to Capital Small Business Workshop, hosted by The Center and the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Come meet non-profit and government organizations committed to supporting small business:

  • Orange County SBDC
  • SBA
  • Anaheim Small Business Organization
  • CIELO
  • Opportunity Fund
  • And more!

These organizations can help you with challenges ranging from lowering your cost of capital to preparing your loan application package.

Enter to win a $1,500 Business Advancement Grant! At registration, simply tell us your story—why you run a small business & some of your challenges and successes—to be eligible.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Small Business Owners: Access Financial Resources to Boost Your Bottom Line
Date: July 6, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Mary Overbey
Organization: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

If you need help accessing financial, health, or retirement resources to boost your bottom line and provide robust employee benefits, join this free webinar to learn about resources that can benefit your small business.

This free interactive event series will expand your knowledge of various topics such as optimizing your credit score, improving your health literacy, and exploring convenient retirement saving options. Register for one event, or sign up for the whole series for the most impact on your business!

  • Presentation #1 – Financial Resources (7/6/2017)
    Optimize your credit score, spot signs of predatory and payday lending, and easily access capital for your business.
  • Presentation #2 – Retirement Resources (7/13/2017)
    Discover the U.S. retirement savings gap and a summary of common retirement paths for entrepreneurs to help you and your employees save for the future and secure your finances.
  • Presentation #3 – Health Resources (7/20/2017)
    Learn what healthcare laws means for small businesses, and how repealing the ACA (or “Obamacare”) could impact employer-sponsored coverage for small firms and individual coverage for the self-employed. Additionally, we’ll provide examples of easy and affordable wellness programs that can benefit the health of your business and employees, and provide you with a guide to increase your health literacy.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Calculations That Answer Key Business Questions
Date: July 11, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (626) 585-3106
Organization: Pasadena SBDC
Fee: $25

Business owners can struggle with questions that affect the financial health of the company:

  • Are we selling at the right price?
  • Are we making money?
  • Can we afford to hire someone?

In this webinar, learn about Performance Measurements—simple mathematical calculations that can monitor sales, overhead, and profitability. Use them for business, independent of size and scope.

Click here to register for this event.

5 Cheap Ways to Market Your Business Online
Date: July 13, 2017| 10:30 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | (304) 347-5220
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

Getting your business online isn’t as complicated—or expensive—as you might think. Join this free webinar and discuss ways to promote your business online without breaking the bank or driving yourself crazy.

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.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

A huge key to the growth of your small business is whether your customers can easily do business with you from their cell phones. Read more to find out why a mobile-friendly business is important and how you can achieve this with minimal time and cost.

A huge key to the growth of your small business is whether your customers can easily do business with you from their cell phones. Read more to find out why a mobile-friendly business is important and how you can achieve this with minimal time and cost.

 

You may be thinking to yourself, “Why bother?” We understand that your time is precious as a small business owner, but investing in taking your business mobile is worth it.

More and more people are using their mobile devices to surf the web and make purchases online. In fact, mobile usage is surpassing traditional desktop use. What this means for your business is that your customers want to be able to interact with you from their cell phones and tablets. The benefit of increased traffic to your website and increased purchases of your product/service far outweighs the time it will take you to set up a more mobile company.

These four tips will help you develop a great mobile strategy to attract more customers.

Build and Optimize Your Website

If your business doesn’t already have a website, you need to create one. Having a digital presence is vital to succeeding in today’s business environment.

Check your website on your mobile device to see how it looks to your customers. Your website hosting service might have a place to configure how your site looks on mobile. If it doesn’t, you will have to figure it out yourself by doing research or hiring someone to do it. The time spent on making your website mobile-friendly will be worth it when you get more conversions.

Here’s a Tip: Make your phone number a click-to-call link so visitors who are interested in contacting you can easily tap on their screen and call you. Removing the extra step of manually dialing in your phone number is a surprising way to get more interaction.

Engage in Social Media

Smart phones and social media go hand-in-hand. A Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook page are a great way to reach out to potential customers. You can post deals, opening hours, promotions, and related content that you want to share with your followers. Customers can find out how to contact you, read and post reviews, and get the latest news on new items or sales. Check out our blog post for some resources for making quality social media content.

Even if your small business isn’t in retail or food service, social media can benefit you. Think of Facebook and Instagram as a mobile portfolio for your previous work. Seeing quality photos of your products or services, as well as you and your staff, can offer reassurance to potential new customers that your business is legitimate.

Here’s a Tip: Use a scheduling service to space out your social media posts for consistent exposure. It is easy to set up a post from your own cell phone and have it published at the optimal time. While your customers may be glued to their phones, you don’t have to be.

Expand Into E-Commerce

If you only offer your products and services in a brick-and-mortar store, you are missing out on a lot of sales. Selling online is not as scary as it may seem, and it will definitely boost your bottom line.

Just posting regularly updated photos and pricing for what your business offers – to both your website and social media – will help customers looking on their devices know right away if you have what they’re looking for.

Here’s a Tip: Participate in delivery and mobile ordering apps. This list has eight popular apps that you might consider joining. If you aren’t a restaurant, Postmates and Delivery.com will also deliver other items from your business.

Move Communications to Mobile Phones

Mobile communication applies to both your employees and your customers. Ask customers for their preferred method of communication whether that is email, phone calls, or texting. Log into your email on your phone, and check it regularly.  If you don’t have two separate phones, you’ll have to learn to balance work and personal communication, but being able to answer a client’s question or follow up with them on an offer within seconds cuts out unnecessary time for both of you.

Use group instant messaging to keep your employees on the same page. Some business owners ask their employees use this to call in sick, to find out who wants to trade shifts, or to give quick updates.

Here’s a tip: Texting really is a growing method of customer service and marketing. Don’t get too promotional, but you can easily ask simple poll questions, provide easy customer service, offer text-only sale or discount opportunities, and develop a personal relationship with your customers so they’ll come back to you. Just remember in certain states, like California, you must get permission up front to use their mobile phone for text communications.

 

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


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 16 through June 30.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 16 through June 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

Planning for Profit
Date: June 16, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: Diablo Valley College Humanities Building Room H119 (adjacent to Parking Lot 7)
321 Golf Club Rd. Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (map it)
Contact: info@eastbayscore.org | (510) 273-6611
Organization: East Bay SCORE
Fee: $35

Join East Bay SCORE for this seminar on the financial concepts and reports that allow a business owner to understand the financial health of his/her business and plan for profitable growth in this seminar.

You will learn and discuss:

  • Profits
  • Financial planning
  • Key financial terms

Learn key skills for your business:

  • How to determine the start-up funds your business requires and put together a funding plan
  • How to prepare sales projections
  • How to plan for ongoing operating expenses
  • How to understand the three major financial statements (balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement)
  • How to interpret the importance and impact of your financial statements on your business
  • How to prepare a breakeven analysis
  • How to build a financial projection that will determine if your business is viable

Click here to register for this event.

Keeping Track of Your Numbers
Date: June 21, 2017 | 5:00 pm PST – 8:00 pm PST
Location: 234 E. Gish Rd. Suite 100 San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: info@svscore.org | (408) 453-6237
Organization: Silicon Valley SCORE
Fee: $45

In this seminar, you’ll learn how to easily create an income (profit and loss) statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow forecast, plus what all of the financial records mean. This business seminar will also show You’ll also learn about how to manage tax regulations and make business decisions directly from your financial numbers.

Click here to register for this event.

Employment Law for Small Business
Date: June 28, 2017 | 2:00 pm PST – 4:00 pm PST
Location: Oakland City Hall
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza Hearing Room 2 Oakland, CA 94612 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | lee@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organization: Alameda County SBDC
Fee: Free

Owners of small businesses are challenged to create and maintain a positive, high functioning working environment within a maze of federal, state and local regulations. Legal requirements are present whether you’re hiring, firing, disciplining, evaluating performance, promoting, considering requests for leave or dealing with any of dozens of other employee issues.

What are the laws and regulations that pertain to you, and what are the best practices to manage your business while staying in compliance? This seminar will help you to understand federal, state and local requirements for your business, including:

  • Latest information on wage and hour legislation and regulations
  • How to manage your business to comply with these laws and regulations
  • Highest risk areas where your business is most vulnerable to employee lawsuits
  • Measure FF, the City of Oakland minimum wage, sick pay and PTO requirements

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Back to Business – 45 Ways to Grow Your List
Date: June 20, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: City of San Bernardino Training Center
201 North “E” St. San Bernardino, CA 92401 (map it)
Contact: Mary Takavorian | mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com | (909) 983-0751
Organization: Inland Empire SBDC
Fee: Free

Having an interested and qualified list of contacts that you can stay top of mind with is vital to every business. Continuing to grow that list is just as important. This workshop will show you 45 easy ways to grow your contact list today! We will cover:

  • Why someone should join your contact list
  • How to create “What’s In It For Me?” for your prospects
  • How to ask people to join your list “face-to-face”
  • How to use social media to grow your list
  • How to grow your list on your website or blog
  • How to use print material to get people to sign up
  • How to use events to help grow your list
  • How to use incentives and giveaways to grow your list

Plus, you’ll have a chance to network with other attendees and grow your contact list live during the workshop!

Click here to register for this event.

Create Your #SocialBusiness Plan
Date: June 23, 2017 9:00 am PST – June 24 12:00 pm PST
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $139

It’s up to you as a small business owner to tell the story about your company online.   

In this 2-day, hands-on workshop, you will receive instruction plus a blueprint to get you on your way to creating a digital marketing plan that works for YOUR business. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and work on your plan!

Get answers to these issues and more:

  • Digital marketing defined
  • Identify the next 3 steps you need to take to make your mark online
  • Create a content plan to show your audience that you are the leader in your industry
  • Win with engagement: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Decide how you will measure success

Click here to register for this event.

Instagram 101 for Business
Date: June 29, 2017 | 1:00 pm PST – 3:00 pm PST
Location: 13430 Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cisneros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu |(310) 973-3177
Organization: SBDC Hosted by El Camino College
Fee: Free

Learn the basics of how to get started with Instagram for your business in this free seminar:

  • How to set up your profile
  • How to get followers
  • Choosing the right hashtags
  • Creatively designing pictures

All participants will get a bonus ebook how to convert social media likes to sales.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

How to Borrow Money for Your Business and Avoid Abusive Lending
Date: June 21, 2017 | 12:00 pm PST – 1:00 pm PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Would a little money make a big difference in your business?

Have you thought about borrowing money, but don’t know where to start?

Are you stuck paying on high-interest loans or credit?

Understanding alternative small business lending and gaining access to responsible and transparent capital can help any business grow more quickly towards success.

We have partnered with JEDI to present this webinar to help small business borrow money responsibly. In this hour long session you will learn:

  • How to avoid the abusive practices of many alternative small business lenders today
  • How we and JEDI help small business owners grow responsibly
  • How to prepare and apply for a loan with a JEDI counselor
  • What it takes to get a loan with us

The webinar is hosted by Opportunity Fund Community Development Officer Robert Zapata. All who register will be sent a recording of the presentation. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.

Click here to register for this event.

SBA Radio Show
Date: June 22, 2017 | 11:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: Online—Radio broadcast
Contact: wsRadioStaff@gmail.com
Organization: SBA San Diego
Fee: Free

SBA Radio is a weekly small business advisory show built to assist and inform small businesses with the latest information from the Small Business Administration. The government has many programs to help small businesses and this is the show that keeps you informed.

Tune in every Thursday at 11am for this weekly radio show and start improving your business!

Click here to access the broadcast and to find archived shows online.

Options for Small Business Healthcare
Date: June 26, 2017| 10:30 am PST – 11:30 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Martin Short | martin.short@sba.gov | (803) 253-3753
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration—South Carolina District Office
Fee: Free

Effective in 2017, Small Businesses can utilize Health Spending Accounts (HSA) to fund coverage for their employees through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—a real benefit for higher paid, white collar workers.

In this webinar, you’ll get answers to your questions about health care for your small business:

  • What is the ACA and how does it work?
  • What are the differences between business and individual coverage options and requirements?
  • Is my business required to do anything?
  • Can I get tax credits of up to 50% for small businesses offering group health insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)?
  • What are COBRA alternatives and I may never have another COBRA enrollee?

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.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your toolbox for five affordable Human Resources tools.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your toolbox for five affordable Human Resources tools.

Payroll is probably your biggest expense as a small business owner, and HR is one of the most complicated to manage. Finding an affordable, easy-to-use solution can be a challenge. We’ve compiled this list of tools and resources that will help you manage your employees at low cost.

 

Zenefits

How much it costs: Free with premium plans starting at $5 per employee a month.

What it does: Zenefits is a popular HR tool that offers a free option for small businesses that don’t require a lot of managing services. You can get employee management and benefits administration free, which includes hiring, employee directory, payroll reports, and a few other useful tools. For an affordable monthly fee, you can get access to PTO management, ACA compliance reports, payroll management, tax filing, and many more features that will help you easily manage your business. In addition to the basic subscriptions, you can also add on supplementary tools such as background checks, commuter benefits, and timecard recordkeeping. This tool has everything you could need for HR.

 

Sentrifugo

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Sentrifugo is an open source tool, which means it is completely free. Some of the big features offered include a way for employees to update their information to save you time, a robust performance appraisal system, multi-level background checks, PTO and leave management, hiring and interview scheduling, expenses, and much more. This service is a great option if you have a low budget but a complicated set of HR requirements.

 

Small Business Administration

How much it costs: Free

What it does: The SBA offers many resources available to you for free. From workplace posters to union and disability compliance, check out the different topics they have. This is a great, basic tool for getting accurate information about human resource management and compliance.

 

SutiHR

How much it costs: Free trial with monthly plans starting at $2 per user.

What it does: SutiHR is the perfect paid tool for small businesses who want to only pay for the services they will use. Choose from a dozen options, and each option will add only $0.50 to $1 on to your monthly subscription. These options include performance reviews, benefits management, document storage, HR calendar that syncs with Google, project management, hiring, training schedules, attendance, an employee self-service portal, and mobile access.

 

WebHR

How much it costs: Free signup with monthly plans starting at $2 per user.

What it does: This is another affordable service that allows you to pay per tool. The more employees you have, the cheaper it is to include them in this simple, but easy service. Some of these include an HR calendar, payroll and attendance management, document storage, an applicant tracking system for hiring, and a self-service portal for employees. This is a really affordable platform that won’t over-complicate your HR needs.

 

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.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

Opportunity Fund is partnering with Lending Club to serve more entrepreneurs across the U.S. Learn more about the partnership, where we’re expanding, and our new model that combines the best of online and traditional community lending to serve more small business owners than ever.

Opportunity Fund is expanding its partnership with Lending Club to serve more entrepreneurs in more states across the U.S. Learn more about the partnership, where we’re expanding, and how our two organizations will provide more lending solutions than ever for small business owners.

Opportunity Development Beyond California

Opportunity Fund’s fast, easy-to-get, and affordable small business loans have helped California-based entrepreneurs for over 20 years. Through our partnership with Lending Club, we’re expanding to serve small business owners in 25 more states by the end of 2017.

In partnership with Lending Club, we are offering loans immediately in the first 12 states with the highest concentration of small business owners:

Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington.

Loans are available up  to $100,000 with an average 18-20%  APR.

In the fall of 2017,  we will begin offering loans in next 13 states and the District of Columbia:

Arizona, Arkansas, Washington DC, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

This expansion comes at a time when Opportunity Fund is also deepening our impact within California. Over the coming years, Opportunity Fund will add lending staff in new regions of the state (Fresno, Sacramento, and San Diego), and continue to reach more California borrowers online, in partnership with Lending Club.

Making Lending Work for Small Business

We’re expanding our partnership with Lending Club to continuously improve the small business borrower experience by delivering the best loan possible and serving a greater number of small businesses across the U.S..

Lending Club’s technology as a fintech leader will support our focus on underrepresented entrepreneurs. Together, we’ll be able to help more businesses that traditional lenders typically don’t serve.

We’re combining the strengths of marketplace lending and the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) model to expand access to capital for small businesses that neither organization could adequately serve on its own. In our complementary relationship, Lending Club contributes its technology, enabling almost instant pre-qualification for eligible applicants, to provide applicants a fast, simple, responsive customer experience.

Lending Club also brings us the broad reach into its applicant base and marketing. Opportunity Fund brings expertise in underwriting and servicing loans to borrowers who are underserved by traditional financing. The borrower gets a combined high-tech and high-touch experience and a loan that is best suited for their business.

We Believe Everyone Deserves a Chance at a Better Life

We strive to advance the economic well-being of working people by helping them earn, save, and invest in their futures. From a small business perspective, the organization deploys microloans for small business owners, many of whom have difficulty borrowing from traditional lenders and are vulnerable to high-cost alternative financing products that are all too prevalent in the market.

By expanding to these new states and the District of Columbia, Opportunity Fund will be able to “grow the pie” – bringing our proven products to small business owners who might not otherwise have found a responsible source of capital for their enterprise.  By doing so, we have the chance to help many more entrepreneurs achieve their goals and dreams.

This partnership with Lending Club is one of the ways Opportunity Fund plans to invest $400 million in 10,000 small businesses by 2020. The 25 states and District of Columbia in the 2017 expansion represent the major concentrations of U.S. small businesses.  Additional states will be phased in as we expand our services.

We’re proud to work with Lending Club to serve more hardworking entrepreneurs in their pursuit of the American dream. For more information about our commitment to fair lending practices and principles as stated in the Small Business Borrower’s Bill of Rights, please read our blog post here.

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


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16 year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

Sarah Mayer founded Shift Collaborative in Pittsburgh as a mission-oriented creative services firm. She needed a small business loan to help with cash flow. Our partnership with Lending Club allowed us to help Sarah retain her staff and do more impactful work in her community.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Sarah Mayer of Shift Collaborative in Pittsburgh. Shift Collaborative is a mission-oriented creative services firm that needed a small business loan to help with cash flow. Our partnership with Lending Club allowed us to help Sarah retain her staff and do more impactful work in her community.

A Born Entrepreneur

Sarah Mayer grew up around entrepreneurs. Her first jobs were working in the hair salons that her mother and grandmother owned. It was a natural progression for Sarah along with her partners to start Shift Collaborative in Pittsburgh, Penn. in 2013.

Shift Collaborative is a full-service creative firm that works primarily with non-profit clients. “We founded the business on the philosophy of working with change-makers doing amazing things and advocating positive change in their community,” Sarah said.

Their work goes beyond website development and marketing services. Sarah and her fellow partners at Shift Collaborative encourage their staff to volunteer time and services to non-profits and other causes they care about. “Every month we’re trying to do something beyond our work and helping our clients,” she said. “We’re working to bring visibility through social media and other ways that these organizations are doing great things in our community and nationwide.”

Staff retention at Shift Collaborative is key to maintain the company culture. Shift needed a small business loan to secure cash flow and keep her employees in place. She had options to get the funding she needed, but none were the right fit until she found Opportunity Fund.

Low Turnover, High Impact

Like many small business owners, Sarah has a hand in nearly everything the business does. This makes it difficult to take time to work on a long and complex loan application. “There was just a ton of paperwork,” she said of loan options she tried, like through her bank and credit cards. “I wanted to get it done quickly.”

Sarah came to Opportunity Fund through our partnership with Lending Club. She chose us for our easy-to-get and fast small business loans. “The loan process can be extremely time intensive,” she said. “The folks at Opportunity Fund have been easy to work with. Everyone I worked with made it really smooth.”

She worked with business loan advisor Mayra Contreras, who closed a $20,000 loan in March 2017. The loan is making a major difference for Shift Collaborative.

“Without the loan, we might have had to scale back on staffing,” she said. “That would have drastically changed our business and been difficult for us. The loan has allowed us to maintain our staff’s employment.”

Now that Shift Collaborative has the working capital they need, Sarah can focus on the next big thing for her company. With new projects in business development ahead, Sarah is hoping to staff up her current part-time employees to full-time. Long term, she hopes to double her company’s profits in the next year.

We’re honored to work with fellow difference makers and community development organizations like Shift Collaborative. We’ll be there to support Sarah’s future business goals.

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 California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last fiscal year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 June 15.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and 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 June 15.

Northern California/Sacramento

Internet Marketing For Business Owners
Date: June 2, 2017 | 11:30 am PST – 1:30 pm PST
Location: One Capitol Mall Suite 700 Sacramento, CA 95814 (map it)
Contact: Jessica Weeks | jweeks@metrochamber.org | (916) 319-4268
Organization: NEC SBDC – Capital Region
Fee: Free

Join the Northeastern California Capitol Region SBDC for this Executive Series seminar on internet marketing for small business owners.

Topics will include:

  • Website Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Local SEO using Google Places, Yelp, and other review sites and directories
  • Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter
  • Video creation, optimization, marketing and advertising
  • Google pay per click (PPC) advertising

Click here to register for this event.

SimpleSTEPS for Starting Your Business
Date: June 8, 2017 | 6:30 pm PST – 9:00 pm PST
Location: Santa Cruz County SCORE @ Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th St. Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (map it)
Contact: Edward Fordyce | efordyce@santacruzscore.org  | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

This SCORE workshop helps people understand what it takes to successfully start a small business. Real life experiences from small business owners helped us create this workshop to help new and early-stage businesses by presenting a broad brush overview of the subjects that may impact their success or failure, such as:

  • Start-up Myths
  • Critical Factors to Success
  • Business Opportunities
  • Marketing
  • Structure: DBA, Licenses, and Insurance
  • Record Keeping & Taxes
  • Cash Needs & Sources
  • Business Plans
  • Next Steps

Click here to register for this event.

Retail Basics – Seminar for Online and Brick & Mortar Retailers
Date: June 13, 2017 | 3:00 pm PST – 5:30 pm PST
Location: East Bay SCORE @ Cal State Center East Bay
1000 Broadway Suite 109 Oakland, CA 94607 (map it)
Contact: info@eastbayscore.org | (510) 273-6611
Organization: East Bay SCORE
Fee: $35

This interactive seminar is tailored to answer your questions about online, brick & mortar, and other retail-oriented selling. The seminar will focus on subjects important to the participants, including:

  • Merchandise selection and assortment strategies
  • Inventory management and flow tactics, turnover and budgeting
  • Expenses to consider
  • Vendor support and compliance
  • Sales and seasonal forecasting techniques
  • Buying and selling merchandise while making a profit

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Built By She: Speaks – with Natasha Case
Date: June 6, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 8:00 pm PST
Location: 10250 Constellation Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90067 (map it)
Contact: Kim Scanlan | kscanlan@cvwbc.org | (760) 345-9200
Organization: Built by She
Fee: $5

Built By She is hosting its second event called Built By She – Speaks to connect and inspire women entrepreneurs.

Join Opportunity Funded small business borrower Natasha Case, co-founder of Coolhaus. Natasha has grown her ice cream business to include four trucks and two storefronts in Los Angeles, two trucks and one cart in New York City, and four trucks in Dallas, Texas, plus Coolhaus pre-packaged ice cream sandwiches, hand-dipped bars, and hand-packed pints in over 5,000 grocery stores around the U.S. and internationally in Asia and the Middle East. Networking begins at 6:00pm with wine and ice cream before Natasha takes the stage to speak at 6:30pm.

Click here to register for this event.

Change Management for Small Businesses
Date: June 7, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 8:00 pm PST
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Change happens! As the only constant in business today and the new “business as usual” cjange can be scary, but if you learn how to identify change and then maneuver through it, you can continue operational success.

This workshop will address your most important questions such as:

  • Where do I start?
  • Whom do I involve in the change process?
  • How do I stick to the change?

Click here to register for this event.

Business Essentials for Entrepreneurs
Date: June 8, 2017 | 10:30 am PST – 12:30 pm PST
Location: West Los Angeles Business Source Center
13160 Mindanao Way Suite #240 Marina del Rey, CA 90292 (map it)
Contact: Daniel Ing | ding@pacela.org | (213) 353-9400
Organization:  PACE LA Business Development Center
Fee: Free

This new FREE workshop provides entrepreneurs with information to get your business started on the right path. You’ll learn:

  • Entrepreneur Keys to Success
  • Introduction to Business Planning
  • Choice of Business Entities
  • Basics of Financing Your Business

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Small Business, Big Threat: Is Your Business Protected?
Date: June 6, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

Small businesses are most at risk for cyber attack because they are not aware of the unique cyber threats that target small businesses. Learn best practices for protecting your small business during this one-hour webinar, hosted by the Small Business Administration District Offices of Michigan and Ohio.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media for Small Business Webinar
Date: June 7, 2017| 8:00 am PST – 8:30 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Karol Ikeda | karol.ikeda@sba.gov | (316) 269-6273
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

Get answers to your questions about how to maximize social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, Indeed, and many more in this free webinar. Learn how to use social media to help your small business grow.

Click here to register for this event. You will receive login instructions for the webinar via email.

Small Business Success Virtual Conference
Date: June 8, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 2:00 pm PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: webinars@score.org
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Login June 8th for the Small Business Success Virtual Conference powered by SCORE and Verisign. This half-day event offers educational webinars, one-on-one mentoring sessions, exhibitor booths, and networking chat rooms to give you the information you need to succeed as a small business owner.

Attend all or part of this conference to learn:  

  • How to build a strong credit profile to get funding for your business
  • New trends in social media, websites, and technology
  • New laws that will affect how you hire new employees
  • Little-known factors to consider when choosing the right location for your business

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.


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

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