Anthony and Cynthia started their business to share a taste of home with their new community in Orlando. They converted their West African restaurant into a food truck with the help of a loan from Opportunity Fund. Now with two food trucks in Orlando, African Soul Market is thriving as they share more of the food they love.

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

Anthony and Cynthia started their business to share a taste of home with their new community in Orlando. They converted their West African restaurant into a food truck with the help of a loan from Opportunity Fund. Now with two food trucks in Orlando, African Soul Market is thriving as they share more of the food they love.

The Taste of Success

Anthony and Cynthia Imana started African Soul Market in 2013 in Orlando. After they moved to Florida from the Bronx in New York, they wanted to start an African market to share Anthony’s taste of home.

“We moved to Florida for a better life for the kids and when we got here, we realized there weren’t many African options for my husband to eat,” Cynthia said. “I thought that he can’t be the only one who wants that food, so let’s do something about it.”

They started out in a brick and mortar location selling dry African goods. They changed their focus to prepared food on the weekends, which quickly sold out each day. “Then we started selling our prepared foods every day,” Cynthia said.

Their food was a huge hit, but the increasing rent for their restaurant space made it hard to stay in business. After two years as a restaurant, African Soul Market started over as a food truck.

African Soul Market

Anthony and Cynthia built their business together and watch it grow every day (photo courtesy of Jack Edwards)

They needed a small business loan to help finance their truck, so they reached out to One Fat Frog, a food truck manufacturer located in their hometown of Orlando. As one of Opportunity Fund’s key mobile food vehicle manufacturer and dealer partners, One Fat Frog connected the Imanas to us.

“One Fat Frog told us that Opportunity Fund does food truck loans,” Cynthia said. “We didn’t have the total amount to pay for the truck. We were relieved to know that funding was available.”

Starting Off Right

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Gerardo Campos helped close a $30,000 loan for the Imanas to complete the purchase of their truck. They were set up for immediate success.

“We’re the first food truck in the state of Florida serving authentic West African cuisine,” Cynthia said. They set up their truck in Pointe Orlando, a prime spot with a constant flow of foot traffic. Business grew so quickly that they returned to One Fat Frog for a second truck in March 2018. Gerardo was there again to help secure the $71,000 loan for the new truck.

Gerardo’s quick and personalized service helped the Imanas get their second truck going without missing a beat. “Gerardo was amazing,” Cynthia said. “He was straightforward and told us what we needed to provide for the loan. Everyone we worked with at Opportunity Fund is great and professional.”

The second African Soul Market truck travels to events around the Orlando area, as well as private catering engagements. Cynthia and Anthony go to work every day with their family members and cook their favorites while providing for the family’s needs.

We’re proud to watch African Soul Market expand and we’re thankful for our mobile food vehicle partners like One Fat Frog for helping us reach new clients outside of California!

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.


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.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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

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

 

Why do Small Businesses Fail?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trust in Your Business, Even If Banks Won’t

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

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

 

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

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


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

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

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from August 1 through 15.

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 August 1 through 15.

Northern California/Sacramento

Women Mean Business: Getting Ready for Holiday Sales
Date: August 8, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 275 5th St. San Francisco, CA 94103 (map it)
Contact: Erin Morris | emorris@rencenter.org | (415) 348-6227
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: $15

It’s never too early to prepare your business for a busy holiday season! Join us for an evening of networking, panel discussion, and light dinner with experienced business owners and experts on:

  • Digital marketing
  • Inventory
  • Finance
  • E-commerce

You don’t have to be a business owner to attend this event! Anyone who is interested in hearing from experts on these topics is welcome. Speakers include Jennie Lennick of Jenny Lemons, Laurie Kanes of 12 Small Things and Laurie O’Hara of Working Solutions.

Click here to register for this event.

Marketing your business
Date: August 9, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1887 Monterey Rd. 2nd Floor San Jose, CA, 95112 (map it)
Contact: Mimi Hernandez | mimihndz@sbdchc.org | (408) 385-9151
Organization: Silicon Valley SBDC
Fee: Free

This free workshop will help business owners develop tools to find clients and extend your client base to increase sales.

Click here to register for this event.

Women’s Empowerment Night
Date: August 13, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: Moseley’s Hilltop Tasting Room
2158 Hilltop Dr. Redding, CA 96002 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

AWE Redding California, WE Thrive Women’s Business Center at JEDI Group, and Women of Vision Movement invite you to an evening of networking, wine, and fun at Escape Redding.

When women support each other, incredible things happen. Come and witness magic unfold as we embrace our individual uniqueness, make new connections, strengthen bonds. and share creative approaches to career, business, and life!

Agenda:

  • 6pm – 7pm: Networking and Introductions
  • 7pm – 8pm: Optional fun at Escape Redding or stay in the Moseley’s Tasting Room to make new connections. Purchase your own wine at Moseley’s Tasting Room.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Cash Flow Management
Date: August 8, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 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

Understanding cash flow is crucial for every business to ensure healthy growth and business expansion. Join this workshop to learn:

  • What is cash flow
  • How to manage cash flow effectively
  • How to create a sound financial plan
  • How to calculate a break-even point

Click here to register for this event.

Getting Started with Social Media – Using Social Media to Drive Leads
Date: August 8, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: Chaffey College—Info Tech Center 3rd Floor Room 310
13170 7th Street Chino, CA 91710 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini | diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: $20

Learn the difference between Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+ for your business in this seminar on social media.

Topics include:

  • How to choose the right social media platforms for your business
  • How to get started with each platform
  • How to use each social media platform to drive business

Click here to register for this event.

Empowering Mompreneurs: 3 Simple Steps to Avoid Burnout
Date: August 15, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

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

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Google Tools to Start or Manage Your Business – Part 1 of 2
Date: August 2, 2018 | 4:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Sarah Espinosa | sespinos@uncfsu.edu | (910) 672-2683
Organization: Fayetteville State University Veterans Business Outreach Center
Fee: Free

Learn about no-cost software options from Google that can help you start or manage your business without adding extra costs to your bottom line.

Click here to register for this event and find information about Part 2 here.

After Lunch Webinar Series: A Small Business Guide to Intellectual Property
Date: August 9, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: rnsbdc@business.rutgers.edu | (973) 353-5950
Organization: Rutgers Newark (N.J.) SBDC
Fee: Free

If you have an idea, product, or service you believe in, you want to protect it. The Intellectual Property (IP) Basics Webinar is designed to give entrepreneurs, small business owners, and independent inventors the knowledge and tools to protect their assets and integrity of their business.

This workshop will help you to better understand the different types of IP and how to protect them. At the end of this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Obtain a clear understanding of what intellectual property is
  • Differentiate between patents, trade secrets, copyright protection, and trademarks
  • Identify issues generally found in patents, trade secrets, copyrights, and trademarks
  • Obtain helpful resources for guidance

Click here to register for this event.

4 Easy Steps to Setting Up your Business Website
Date: August 15, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (678) 335-5600 ext. 120
Organization: Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
Fee: Free

This webinar will cover four easy steps to set up a website that will drive business and increase sales:

  • Selecting a web domain and hosting service
  • Setting up a customized business email address
  • Choosing the best website for your brand
  • Including the right content for your website

Click here to register for this event.

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


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

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


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

Kei found almost instant success when she launched her scones at Los Angeles farmers markets. As she grew Sugarbird Sweets, she needed working capital to keep up with demand. Two small business loans with Opportunity Fund have helped Kei keep Sugarbird on track for scalable growth.

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

Kei found almost instant success when she launched her scones at Los Angeles farmers markets. As she grew Sugarbird Sweets, she needed working capital to keep up with demand. Two small business loans with Opportunity Fund have helped Kei keep Sugarbird on track for scalable growth.

Recipe for Success

Kei Okumura started her small business selling batch-blended organic teas at Los Angeles area farmers markets. Sugarbird Sweets grew when she decided to add fresh baked scones to her offerings at the farmers markets. Her brand grew organically into wholesale to cafes and restaurants across Los Angeles.

“I studied pastry making in Paris at culinary school two years prior,” Kei said. “I applied my pastry background to figure out what would go well with tea. Scones were the perfect combination.”

Kei had to create something new and fresh to make her products stand out. She had a presence at some of the biggest and most competitive farmers markets for vendors, which allowed her to establish her new business.

Her built in customer base helped get the word out about Sugarbird’s new scone offerings. The initial two flavors, Mixed Berry and Dark Chocolate Chip, grew into over 18 different unique herb, tea, and seasonal fruit inspired combinations.

“People came every week to get the scones,” Kei said. “I started out with two dozen, then twenty dozen, then thirty dozen. We’d always sell out.”

Kei’s signature creation, the white chocolate matcha scone, helped propel her business to even bigger success. The increased demand put a strain on Sugarbird’s production capacity and resources.

“For five years, I was renting kitchen spaces to keep up with the farmers market and our wholesale clients,” Kei said. “As the markets and wholesale accounts got busier, I would get inquiries for catering tea parties. That became a huge part of Sugarbird and helped us grow organically.”

Kei was able to find her own space for Sugarbird in downtown Los Angeles, thanks to the immense growth of her business. Almost every step up to bigger sales meant a roadblock for Kei to overcome. The next phase came from selling her products wholesale to vendors like Mendocino Farms and opening an Amazon.com storefront.

“I needed additional funds to keep my business going,” Kei said. “It was difficult trying to manage all the  30 plus accounts. I was running into cash flow problems.”

Rising to the Challenge

Kei reached out to Opportunity Fund. She connected with loan consultant Robert Zapata, who helped close a $10,000 loan for Sugarbird Sweets in April 2016. The working capital helped Kei finance the necessary production increase and provided her with the right funding solution for her small business.

“I tried other lenders and banks,” she said. “I had a hard time with the SBA. It took over eight months.”

Robert took the time to understand Kei’s business and work with what she needed to grow. Kei applied for a second loan in May 2017 for $20,000 to help her continue Sugarbird’s scalable growth.

Sugarbird Sweets - Scones

Sugarbird’s freshly made scones are a huge hit around Los Angeles (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)


“We’re looking for new ventures in the retail market,” Kei said. “We’re launching a product of frozen, ready to bake scones for the supermarket in 2019. I’m looking to grow marketing, budget, and production for that.”

We’re happy to support hardworking moms like Kei and we’re proud to watch her grow from a great idea at the farmer’s market to an up-and-coming retail brand.


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.

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 July 16 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 July 16 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

Before You Sign that Lease
Date: July 18, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: 1500 MacDonald Ave. Richmond, CA 94801 (map it)
Contact: Lucero De Leon | ldeleon@rencenter.org | (510) 221-2003
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: Free

The pre-printed lease form looks daunting and the broker is pressuring you to sign right now – but wait! There are many parts of office, retail, or other commercial leases that you can and should negotiate with the landlord to increase the odds of success for your business.

An experienced business and real estate attorney from the San Francisco Community Business Law Center will help you learn how to make well-informed commercial tenant decisions and prepare for landlord negotiations.

Although taught by an experienced business attorney, this class does not constitute legal advice.

Click here to register for this event.

Explore Your Psychology of Money – Build Financial Strength and Ease
Date: Starts July 19, 2018 | 5:30 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: $15

Building Financial Strength and Ease offers an overview of key psychology of money issues that either support your goals or hold you back. As our money cycles through four phases of activity—income, spending, saving, and investing—we need to manage each phase to make our daily financial habits support our goals. This seminar will help you get all your resources powered up and on track for more prosperous living.

Join us for two sessions July 19 and 26 to get answers to your questions about your business financial goals.

Topics include:

  • Realizing the amazing power of an income goal—and what stops us
  • Enhancing squirrel intelligence for better quality of life
  • Balancing today’s enjoyment with tomorrow’s plans
  • Positioning your money to grow
  • Implementing Aha! skills from Tapping into Wealth

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Taxes
Date: July 24, 2018 | 3:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfscore@sfscore.org | (415) 764-4964
Organization: San Francisco SCORE
Fee: $35

Tax laws are changing. Learn the IRS regulations that apply to small business owners and get answers to your tax questions in this informative and interactive live seminar. Topics covered include tax deductions and commonly used tax strategies for individuals, corporations, and LLCs.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Start-Up Workshop
Date: July 17, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 2900 S. Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (map it)
Contact: Cathleen Hy | chy@pacela.org | (323) 293-6284
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. We’ll cover the nuts and bolts of starting a small business:

  • Start up cost of your business
  • Your target audience
  • Finding and retaining clients
  • 5 Cs of the loan application process
  • Business plan writing
  • Credit counseling and loan packaging
  • Basic licenses and permits: Business license, DBA. Seller’s permit. EIN
  • Types of business entities

Alternately, you can schedule an appointment to sit down with our counselors to see what steps you can begin to take towards setting up your business and giving it the best chance for success.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media for the Busy Entrepreneur
Date: July 27, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: 8825 Aero Dr. Suite 102 San Diego, CA 92123 (map it)
Contact:  workshop0140@scorevolunteer.org | (858) 283-1100
Organization: San Diego SCORE
Fee: $20

Social media is a necessary component of business marketing. The most successful businesses on social media have developed a smart marketing strategy that includes setting goals and objectives, utilizing the best tools to engage with their target audience, and consistently analyzing their return on investment.

As a busy entrepreneur, you can do all these things above and still manage the other stresses of your job with the skills you’ll learn during this hands-on workshop. Learn how to make the most of your time and resources and unleash the power of social media to take your social engagement to the next level. You will learn the most relevant, proven tactics for social media success that will save you time and money.

Click here to register for this event.

Stress-Free Business Taxes
Date: July 28, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Take the stress out of preparing for your business taxes with this workshop. We’ll cover the basics, from business tax requirements through working from home to deductions, credits, and record keeping to get you ready for a stress-free tax day.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Outdo Your Competition by Optimizing Your Online Search Listing
Date: July 19, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: monmouthscore@gmail.com | (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (N.J.) SCORE
Fee: Free

Consumers use search engines to find information about local businesses. As local online marketing gets more competitive, the first page of Google search results gets smaller and smaller. You can make your business stand out with the tips from this free webinar. We’ll demonstrate how to optimize your Google My Business listing and other local search strategies.

Topics include:

  • Listings: The top online directories and citation sites to host your business listing
  • Name, Address, Phone Number (NAP): What is it and why it’s so important
  • Pictures: The right images to add to your listing and how to do it
  • The new Google My Business: How the Q&A feature can backfire if you’re not prepared
  • Maintaining your listing: Why frequently logging into your listing is crucial and how you can say ahead of your competition
  • Videos: Length, content, formats, and more
  • Local SEO strategies: How to find the gaps and beat your competitors to the punch

Please claim and verify your Google My Business listing before attending this webinar to get the most out of the material.

Click here to register for this event.

Discovering What Works in Social Media
Date: July 27, 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, Kutztown SBDC social media guru, for this 45-minute webinar about discovering what works in social media.

Learn how to attract customers via social media by developing best practices for your business through integrating your goals with designing and tracking the performance of content relevant in your industry.

Click here to register for this event.

Low Cost Marketing Ideas
Date: July 30, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@TheInstituteNC.org | (919) 956-8889
Organization: The Women’s Business Center of North Carolina
Fee: Free

Learn how to create a marketing strategy that supports your business goals. This seminar will cover some of the best free and low-cost marketing tools and explore creative ways to promote your business without breaking the bank or your budget.

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

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

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

 

So You Think You Want To Franchise

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

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

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

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

 

Who Pays For What?

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

You will cover:

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

They will cover:

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

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

 

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

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


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

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

Jill always dreamed of owning her own business and working for herself. When the right idea came along, she made her dreams possible through hard work. She grew her mobile pet grooming business with the help of small business loans from Opportunity Fund. Thanks to us, you can find Foxy Roxy’s Mobile Pet Salon in your area.

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

Jill always dreamed of owning her own business and working for herself. When the right idea came along, she made her dreams possible through hard work. She grew her mobile pet grooming business with the help of small business loans from Opportunity Fund. Thanks to us, you can find Foxy Roxy’s Mobile Pet Salon in your area.

Taking a Chance on a Great Idea

Jill Hailey started Foxy Roxy’s Mobile Pet Salon in Modesto in July 2014. While raising her family, Jill had dreams to start her own business with her husband Jonathan. The timing and ideas finally came together when they saw a mobile pet groomer on their street one day.

“The wait for an appointment was two months,” Jill said. “Jonathan saw the need for more mobile pet groomers in our area and said we should do that. But we knew nothing about grooming.”

Jonathan built the first van in their driveway, and Foxy Roxy was born. “We hired a groomer who taught us the grooming side of the business and Jonathan and I handled the rest,” Jill said. “From there, the business took off.

The company grew quickly from the single van operation to 10 employees and seven mobile grooming units today around Modesto, Pleasanton, and Santa Clara. Jill hires a groomer to operate each unit, which has a complete setup for dog grooming: baths, nail trim, fur drying, and space for the groomer’s tools and supplies. The runaway success was initially difficult to keep up with, even for the upstart Haileys.

Bath time

Dogs get deluxe treatment when Foxy Roxy comes to town (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

“Within three months of our launch our appointment schedule was booked out over a month,” Jill said. “We had to turn down customers. As we’ve added vans over these four years, we fill up our schedules until we’re booked out a month. When our customers say they can’t wait, we know it’s time to grow.”

When Hard Work Pays Off

Jill turned to a mobile dog grooming vehicle manufacturer to keep up with the demand for Foxy Roxy. She had fewer opportunities for financing due to a bankruptcy from her divorce. Then she got a tip about Opportunity Fund.

“It sounded too good to be true,” she said. Jill connected with our team, who helped her right away through understanding her situation and finding the right business financing solution for her. “I told them, I was the kind the bank won’t help. But they told me I was the kind they’re here to help.”

J & J

Jill and Jonathan share their business dreams as owners of Foxy Roxy’s Mobile Pet Grooming Salon (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Our loan consultant Madieu Shyllon helped close a $10,000 loan for Foxy Roxy’s Mobile Pet Salon in August 2015. Since then, Jill has returned to us for four more loans to help purchase mobile grooming units:

  • $47,000 in November 2015
  • $79,000 in May 2016
  • $77,000 in June 2017
  • $82,000 in November 2017

Now with five loans and a thriving business that allowed Jonathan to quit his sales manager job to focus on their dream, Jill is looking to the future of Foxy Roxy. They opened their first brick and mortar location in San Diego this May, and they’re spreading their reach further throughout California.

We’re proud to watch Foxy Roxy grow and we’re honored to support the dreams of hardworking entrepreneurs like Jill.

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.


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.

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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 July 1 through 15.

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 July 1 through 15.

Northern California/Sacramento

Coffee with a Business Advisor
Date: July 2, 2018 | 2:00 pm PDT – 4:00 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

Come and meet with expert business advisors with real world experience who help local businesses across many different industries. These advisors are here to answer your questions, provide guidance, and share feedback.

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

Click here to register for this event.

Simple Steps for Starting Your Business
Date: July 9, 2018 | 6:30 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Capitola City Hall—Community Room
420 Capitola Ave. Capitola, CA 95010 (map it)
Contact: John Yost | score0688@santacruzscore.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $20

This SCORE workshop can help you understand what it takes to successfully start a small business. The workshop is intended to help new and early-stage businesses by presenting a broad overview of subjects that will impact the success or failure of that of that business.

Pre-registration is suggested as seating is limited.

Click here to register for this event.

Modesto: Business Startup
Date: July 10, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: 1625 I St. Modesto, CA 95354 (map it)
Contact: Peni Hogwood | phogwood@valleysierrasbdc.com | (209) 422-6416
Organization: Valley Sierra SBDC
Fee: Free

If you dream of owning your own business and think you have what it takes to be successful, this free two hour workshop is for you. Join Valley Sierra SBDC to learn the basics of starting a new business.

We’ll address your questions about business startup, including:

  • Is my idea viable?
  • What kind of financing will it take to open my business?
  • Why do I need a business plan?
  • What are the risks, pitfalls, and requirements of opening a new business?

Keep up with free monthly business startup workshops from Valley Sierra SBDC in Modesto, Los Banos, and Merced, every 2nd Tuesday and/or 3rd Thursday of the month. Click here for the center calendar.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

1-on-1 Business Counseling
Date: July 9, 2018 | 4:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Contact: Steve Meng | smeng@pacela.org | (213) 353-9400
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: Free

PACE Business Loan Officer Steve Meng will be available at the Central Library to answer your business questions. Schedule your 1 on 1 appointment with him by email at smeng@pacela.org to discuss topics such as:

  • Starting a business in Los Angeles
  • Obtaining a license and permit
  • Writing a business plan
  • Marketing
  • Preparing a financial statement
  • And more

Please contact Steve for location information.

The ABCs of Starting Your Own Business
Date: July 12, 2018 | 4:00 pm PDT – 6:00 pm PDT
Location: Highgrove Public Library
530 Center St. Riverside, CA 92507 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

Join this free workshop learn to start a business. In this workshop, we’ll explore the first steps to creating a business, the legal structure your business might take, funding sources that are available to small businesses, and why business planning plays such a big role in startup success.

Click here to register for this event.

Women’s Networking Breakfast
Date: July 13, 2018 | 7:45 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Sheraton Mission Valley
1433 Camino del Rio South San Diego, CA 92108 (map it)
Contact: score0140@scorevolunteer.org | (858) 283-1101
Organization: San Diego SCORE
Fee: $20 before July 6 | $25 after July 6

Join San Diego SCORE for the Women’s Networking Breakfast event: Everything You Need to Build a Business Enterprise Can Be Learned from Dr. Seuss.

Michelle Bergquist, nationally acclaimed author, award-winning entrepreneur, and professional speaker, presents this lively, entertaining, and powerful presentation on how to do build a successful business according to the wonderful world of Dr. Seuss. You’ll learn business lessons from classics like The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Horton Hears a Who, and more. You can also network with like-minded women entrepreneurs at this one of a kind event.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

After Lunch Webinar Series: Website & Social Media Strategies
Date: July 5, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: rnsbdc@business.rutgers.edu | (973) 353-5950
Organization: Rutgers Newark (N.J.) SBDC
Fee: Free

Customers use search engines everyday to find products and services. Think about this: 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine. If your website isn’t showing up on the first page of a search engine for your product, service, or term, you’re missing out on potential customers!

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures that your business shows up in the search engine. You can increase your web presence and visibility through SEO to get more customers and grow your business. This webinar will help you understand the fundamentals of SEO to incorporate into your business marketing strategy.

Topics include:

  • SEO: what is SEO and why you need it
  • The search engine: how it works and affects your website’s rank
  • SEO Strategies: what you can incorporate to increase your website’s visibility and rank
  • Blogs: why creating and updating your blog is key for your online presence
  • Social media: how social networking plays into your SEO strategy
  • Analytics: how to track and measure your results

Click here to register for this event.

Mastering Pinterest, Instagram, & LinkedIn For Business
Date: July 9, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 2:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Diana Cescolini | diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar to learn how to use the most popular social media platforms to elevate your small business to success. Pinterest, Instagram, and LinkedIn are powerful tools for your business. Start with these topics:

  • Posts: how, what, and when to post content
  • Automation: how social media scheduling will save time and money
  • Events: why social media is essential for promoting and sharing your events

Click here to register for this event.

How to File a Fictitious Business Name
Date: July 12, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (909) 448-1567
Organization: University of LaVerne SBDC
Fee: Free

Join The University of La Verne SBDC and the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs to learn how to file your fictitious business name, also known as your dba.

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

Retire? As a small business owner? Yes, this is entirely possible and easier than you might think with a little bit of patience and a lot of planning. Read to find out how you can feel confident about successfully retiring from your small business.

Retire? As a small business owner? Yes, this is entirely possible and easier than you might think with a little bit of patience and a lot of planning. Read to find out how you can feel confident about successfully retiring from your small business.

 

Are you uneasy about the thought of retiring? Whether or not you are planning on retiring from your business soon, life is unpredictable and you should have a retirement plan and healthy savings built up.

The road through life as an entrepreneur is bumpy and unpaved. You might not have the same path as people who work a 9 to 5 job, but you can still retire as a small business owner. This concept might seem strange and unobtainable for you, especially if you aren’t as young as you used to be and haven’t thought about how to be comfortable leaving your business.

Retirement as a Small Business Owner Might Look Very Different

As a business owner, there is no one above you to hold your hand. Unless you took over your business and started out as an employee with a retirement plan already established and you are confident it will continue to be profitable until you die, you’ll need to develop an alternative retirement plan.

If you’re particularly good with numbers and smart about gambling, you could learn to invest in the stock market and live off your earnings once you retire. You could also live off your social security and current savings. But these aren’t reliable plans for everyone, so here are some more feasible retirement plans for entrepreneurs.

Set Goals For Yourself and Your Business

The easiest way to plan for retirement is to save money. You may not be 20 anymore, just starting out in the world with little financial responsibility and decades to save, but it’s never too late to start. Determine how much you can realistically live on once you retire. Set savings goals with a financial advisor and start today.

Also set goals for your business. Set a timeline for retirement and how you plan on letting go. Do you have a younger business partner who can buy you out or take over? Do you plan to sell to a new owner? Will you pass on your business to family? Or do you want to just close up shop and sell your assets? Any of these are acceptable – decide what plan is best for you.

Decide Which Retirement Investment Plan is Best For You

There are many different investment options for you as an employer. From Simplified Employee Pensions (SEPs) to Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) and 401(k) plans, educate yourself on your different options and which sounds like the best fit for you and your company. The IRS has a handy comparison chart for all kinds of plans. They also have a guide for calculating your own contributions as a self-employed individual. Take a look and talk it over with your business financial advisor.

 

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