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 September 18 through 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 September 18 through 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

Finance Your Business
Date: September 20, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Business Assistance Center
270 Frank Ogawa Plaza Oakland, CA 94612 (map it)
Contact: Diana Chavez | diana@workingsolutions.org | (415) 590-0155
Organization: Working Solutions
Fee: Free

Join this panel discussion with Working Solutions, U.S. Bank, Kiva, and Opportunity Fund to learn about key resources for lending for small businesses:

  • Financing options
  • What lenders are looking for
  • Credit requirements
  • Importance of a relationship with a financial institution
  • Eligibility guidelines and loan application procedures

Click here to register for this event.

Business Basics Series
Date: September 26, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: College of Marin—IVC Building 27 Room 112
1800 Ignacio Blvd. Novato, CA 94949 (map it)
Contact: Miriam Karell | miriam@marinsbdc.org | (415) 755-1100
Organization: Marin SBDC
Fee: $25

Learn what it takes to start a business and succeed! This series of 3 classes is perfect for those exploring business ownership and want more information about what it takes to run a business. This workshop series is also helpful for new business owners who want to brush up on strategic planning, finances and marketing.

Business Planning gives you the basic information on business start-up, business planning, and different types of business plans. Explore planning tools to help you define your unique business vision and develop a strategy that works.

Each class can be taken individually or as a series. You save $15 by registering for all 3 workshops.

Click here to register for this event.

Meetup: Escape the Bootstrap Trap with Jenny Kassan
Date: September 27, 2017 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: 1500 MacDonald Ave. Richmond, CA 94801 (map it)
Contact: Bret Sweet | bsweet@rencenter.org | (510) 221-2002
Organizations: Renaissance Richmond
Fee: Free

Join business coach Jenny Kassan for Escape the Bootstrap Trap: How to Get the Money You Need to Grow Your Business Without Maxing Out Your Credit Cards or Putting Your Personal Assets at Risk.

Are you:

  • Tired of not having the resources you need to do what you want with your business?
  • Wearing a million hats in your business instead of getting the right help?
  • Worried about how much of your personal assets you’re investing in your business?

This talk will teach you:

  • Three keys to get clear on your path for bringing the resources you need into your business
  • Ways to find the right investors that allow you to grow your business on your terms
  • Strategies to create a sustainable business that fits with your chosen lifestyle, goals, and values

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

San Diego Small Business Expo
Date: September 21, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: San Diego Convention Center—Hall H
111 W. Harbor Dr. San Diego, CA 92101 (map it)
Contact: clientservices@theshowproducers.com | (212) 404-2345
Organization: Small Business Expo
Fee: Free (upgraded services are available starting at $20)

Small Business Expo is America’s biggest and most anticipated business-to-business networking event, trade show, and conference for business owners, entrepreneurs, start-ups, and decision-makers.

Why you should attend:

  • Network with thousands of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups
  • Access to 25+ Business Critical workshops and seminars to help your business grow
  • Join speed networking sessions to make new contacts quickly
  • Learn about new cutting-edge products and services
  • Establish hundreds of new and valuable contacts
  • Interact with the movers and shakers of your industry
  • Leave the show with hundreds of qualified sales leads

Your free admission badge gives you access to the following areas of the Expo:

  • Exhibitor Hall
  • Workshops and seminars
  • ‘Get Dotted’ Business Networking Areas
  • Speed Networking Sessions
  • Business Card Showcase and Exchange
  • #smallbizselfie Contest
  • eLounge
  • Inspiration2020 Theatre Business Presentations, including Bill Walsh – The 7 Keys to Build a 7-Figure Business Presentation from 4:30 PM-6PM, Google’s Main Stage Presentations, the Free Bonus Small Business Workshop presented by our Titanium Sponsor, Powerteam International

Upgraded services are available for additional fees starting at $20. For more information about these services, click here.

Click here to register for this event.

Veteran-Owned Small Business Risk Education Workshop
Date: September 26, 2017 | 8:30 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Bob Hope Patriotic Hall
1816 S. Figueroa St. Los Angeles, CA 90015 (map it)
Contact: info@wbc-la.org | (818) 907-9922
Organization: VEDC Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

DID YOU KNOW you could be held liable for the auto accident of an employee? WHAT WOULD YOU DO if your supplier couldn’t deliver an item you use in your end product? COULD YOUR BUSINESS STAY OPEN if there was a natural disaster or if you had major surgery?

VEDC has partnered with Travelers to bring you this Small Business Risk Education workshop. Join us and learn how to better protect your small business. If you are a veteran or service-disabled veteran entrepreneur, we will teach you safety and loss prevention strategies, and develop a plan to address your business risks.

Topics covered in this workshop:

  • Managing business relationship risk
  • Keeping your business up and running
  • Establishing driver and vehicle safety

Minorities and women-owned businesses are encouraged to participate. Complimentary breakfast and networking begin at 8:30 am with the class following at 9:00 am.

Click here to register for this event.

SCORE’s 5th Annual Women Business Owners Conference
Date: September 28, 2017 | 7:30 am PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: The Great Wolf Lodge
12681 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, CA 92840 (map it)
Contact: Debbie Molino | Debbie.Molino@score114.org | (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: $79

Dare to Stand Out! Join SCORE for the annual Women Business Owners Conference: an interactive event for the savvy entrepreneur. Learn marketing strategies from women entrepreneurs scheduled to speak:

  • Keynote speaker Nellie Akalp, CorpNet CEO: How to Embrace the “Small” in Small Business
  • Liz Goodgold, REDFire Branding
  • Lisa T.D. Nguyen, Senhoa Jewelry Founder
  • Roni Ramos: Harmony 3 Productions, Founder

Your $79 admission fee includes breakfast, lunch, and parking. Please register before the Sept. 26 deadline.  

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

50 Ways to Get More Customers
Date: September 19, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: score.fairfieldcounty@gmail.com | (203) 831-0065
Organization: Fairfield County (Conn.) SCORE
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar to learn simple techniques and discover tools to increase your customer base in the age of the Internet. Together we’ll cover how to develop your presence and showcase your expertise to bring customers to you using a pre-sales nurturing campaign, social media, and email marketing. Get started with free tools and techniques plus get basic templates and then hit the ground running to boost your business.

Topics will include:

  • Learn how sales has changed with the Internet
  • Create to create credibility, authority and trust
  • Set up your device (laptop, tablet, or Chromebook) with the Chrome browser and a Gmail account
  • Get started with Google Analytics for a WordPress website and other website building apps
  • Create nurturing email campaigns with tracking in a Google Sheet with canned emails
  • Understand how to repurpose and plan content for use on social media sites and in email marketing campaigns
  • Discover tools to help research potential clients

Click here to register for this event.

Targets of Opportunity: Recent Study Reveals Best Potentials for Economic Growth in our Region
Date: September 20, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

What could you and your business do if you knew:

  • Which industries show strong economic growth?
  • What occupations will be growing in the future?
  • What entrepreneurial activity will look like in our region?

Start using data to make your business decisions. Join this webinar to learn how the far mountains region of Northern California (specifically Siskiyou, Shasta, Trinity, and Humboldt Counties) fared in the last national recession and which industry areas defied the recession and saw growth. We’ll uncover the industry groups which showed a combination of business growth, job growth, wage growth, and job opportunities. We’ll understand the trends in our region’s entrepreneurial growth and how that growth ties into the region’s industries.

Targets of Opportunity Study:

  • Which industries in your area show economic strength and competitive advantage
  • Which areas of the economy provide growing entrepreneurial opportunities, emerging businesses, increasing employment and rising wages
  • How your local economy links with the larger regional economy
  • Which businesses are economically interdependent yet have common supply chains, labor needs, technologies, and markets

This webinar will be useful for potential entrepreneurs, business owners, and economic development or workforce professionals.

All who register will receive a confirmation email containing information on how to join the webinar, plus a recording of the live event.

Click here to register for this event.

Improve Your Online Presence to Attract More Customers
Date: September 28, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: webinars@score.org
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Can customers easily find your small business online? Is all the information on your website, business listings, reviews, and social media correct and current? Inaccuracy can be costly and detrimental to your business and reputation.

Join this webinar to get started with immediate steps to building an accurate online presence.

You’ll learn:

  • What is an online presence, and why is it important to manage?
  • How to check your online data across the web (website, listing, reviews, social media)
  • How incorrect data can have a negative impact on your business
  • How to correct online business data immediately

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. In fiscal year ‘16, 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

Corporate giants aren’t the only ones that Washington is interested in. Our content partner Nav summarizes how the CFPB is taking steps towards helping small businesses.

Corporate giants aren’t the only ones that Washington is interested in. Our content partner Nav.com summarizes how the CFPB is taking steps towards helping small businesses.

 

Small business owners and regulators are often at odds with one another, but a new move from the country’s consumer watchdog agency could have the two groups aligned in a common cause — better access to business credit.

In a new initiative announced in the early morning on May 10, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) said it’s seeking comment and information from business owners, lenders and any related parties into how to better track and understand the financing needs of small businesses, particularly minority-owned and women-owned shops.

The bureau, in a white paper released later that day, estimates that small business access roughly $1.4 trillion in financing, but that the data surrounding where they access those funds, and whether there are significant differences in capital availability depending on location, gender and race, is incomplete or outdated. CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a Los Angeles field hearing on May 10th that he has seen first-hand the struggle for many small businesses to access financing.

“When I served as the Treasurer of Ohio, we had a reduced-interest loan program to support job creation and retention by small businesses,” Cordray said. “The way the program worked was that the state could put money on deposit with banks at a below-market rate of interest, and this deposit was then linked to a same-sized loan to a small business at a correspondingly below-market rate. This so-called ‘Linked Deposit’ program had been authorized more than 20 years earlier, but had gradually fallen into disuse.”

After streamlining the program, rebranding it and moving the application process online, Cordray said it found new success.

“Only about $20 million had been allocated when we started, but in less than two years we deployed more than $350 million, helping about 1,500 small businesses create or retain approximately 15,000 jobs across the state,” he said.

Levi King, CEO and Co-Founder of Nav, is familiar with the challenge of getting a small business loan — he’s started five businesses.

“In my first year of business, I had a crash course in the importance of financing,” he said. “Regular financing eliminated my need to dip into personal funds to run my company. It enabled me to hire new employees and buy better equipment. In short, it brought order to chaos, as a surge in liquidity meant that I could react quickly to new opportunities without upsetting operations.”

The CFPB is tasked with certain oversight functions under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. One of those is to create regulations on small business lending data that financial institutions are required to report to the agency. May 10th’s announcement kicks off the comment period, during which all interested parties can weigh in and give the bureau advice and guidance on how to best implement and design the new regulations. The goal is to ensure any new data collected will help the agency spot any credit access issues small business owners may be facing. Once the comment period is over, the agency generally reviews the input and crafts proposed regulations. If new and better data sources are added, that data could potentially be made publicly available on the CFPB website like much some consumer lending and complaint data is currently.

The CFPB’s news comes just a few weeks after 12 Federal Reserve banks from across the U.S. released their Small Business Credit Survey, finding that most small businesses faced a financial challenge in 2016 and that the most common challenge was getting business financing when they needed it. Business owners leverage both their personal and business credit scores in order to obtain financing, with many starting with business credit cards. (You can get tips for establishing business credit and check your business credit scores for free at Nav.)

 

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

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


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

Why do you hire people? You hire employees for more than finishing tasks – you want an extra pair of eyes and ideas for how to improve the business. Keep reading for a list of ten ways you can effectively manage a diverse workforce and harness each employee’s unique characteristics.

Why do you hire people? You hire employees for more than finishing tasks – you want an extra pair of eyes and ideas for how to improve the business. Keep reading for a list of ten ways you can effectively manage a diverse workforce and harness each employee’s unique characteristics.

 

America is a beautiful country filled with many different kinds of people. This nation was built by immigrants, and today’s economy still depends on a diverse population of workers.

Chances are that you have a team of employees from different backgrounds and have different characteristics. If you don’t, maybe you should think about why that is. Different kinds of people bring varying experiences, ideas, and skills to your business that you might not have access to with only one type of person.

Here are a few great ways you can effectively manage diversity among your staff to harness the productive potential of every individual.

Managing Diversity Means More Than Hiring Minorities

  1. Make sure that all hiring, promotion, and HR policies are built around workers’ performance and experience. Ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, disability, and other characteristics should never be part of these policies. This is the law, but sometimes small business owners don’t recognize their bias or how it is affecting the business.
  2. Take complaints of favoritism or discrimination seriously. If an employee thinks they are being unfairly treated, respect their observations. Look into allegations and find another neutral employee to mediate if you are the one being accused.
  3. Ensure proper allowances and accommodations are set in place for employees with specific needs. Can a disabled employee (or customer!) comfortably move around the space and facilities? Have you modified any uniforms to accommodate religious requirements? Are safety warnings and OSHA information posted in large, clear lettering?
  4. If you see a problem develop, address it fast: Hold regular diversity and tolerance trainings, don’t let discriminatory behavior go unchecked, and mediate disagreements before they disrupt the business.
  5. Write these policies and procedures down, and make it accessible to everyone. Having concrete guidelines for how to manage diversity and prevent discrimination is a good way to prevent accusations of unfair treatment. It is safer for you and more fair for employees that everyone follows pre-determined policies rather than make decisions on the spot.
  6. Encourage your team to think creatively and bring up any suggestions they have. You didn’t hire exact replicas of yourself, so utilize the different ways of thinking at your disposal.
  7. Respect individual strengths and weaknesses. If someone isn’t a native English speaker, maybe you should tell them things in person instead of sending them complicated company memos. Keep that second language in mind the next time you have a customer who speaks it – this is a great opportunity for your business.
  8. Encourage an open door policy. If employees aren’t comfortable going to you or another manager with problems or discrimination, you could lose a valuable worker.
  9. Give diversity a chance. If you’re looking at a qualified candidate but are worried about their disability, pregnancy, or military service, give them a chance. Don’t let unique characteristics keep you from hiring someone who would make a great addition to your small business.
  10. Be a role model. Employees don’t quit jobs, they quit managers. This saying is especially true when it comes to feeling included and appreciated despite differences. As a small business owner, it is your moral responsibility to start these diversity conversations and to be a role model for other employees to follow.

 

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 August 17 through 31.

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 August 17 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

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

This SCORE workshop will help you understand what it takes to successfully start and grow a small business. If you’re a new or early-stage business owner, this workshop is designed for your needs. We’ll present an overview of issues that can impact success or failure for small businesses, drawn directly from real experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders:

  • Start-up Myths
  • Business Opportunities
  • Marketing
  • Structure, DBA, Licenses, Insurance
  • Record Keeping & Taxes
  • Cash Needs & Sources
  • Business Plans
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Cash Flow Projections: How to Use Microsoft Excel to Plan Ahead for Your Business
Date: August 23, 2017 | 8:00 pm PDT – 5:00 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 (JEDI)
Fee: $10

Join the Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) for an intensive one-day session to set your business up for financial success. Together we’ll complete a cash flow spreadsheet and learn some basics of Microsoft Excel.

Get answers to your key questions such as:

  • What is a cash flow projection? Learn what the future may hold by creating the good, the bad and the ugly.
  • Is it all pie in the sky? Learn how to make sales projections based on research, comparison and solid assumptions.
  • When do I need a cash flow? Learn the different uses of a cash flow so you can make better decisions in your business planning.

Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Marketing For Your Small Business
Date: August 24, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 550 E Shaw Ave. Fresno, CA 93710 (map it)
Contact: David Vazquez | davazquez@csufresno.edu | (559) 278-3712
Organization: Fresno State SBDC Fresno/Madera
Fee: $75

Learn about the fundamentals of branding during this two hour intensive workshop. Whether you’re having trouble generating new business or have marketing brand in place, work with us to define and optimize your small business marketing focus.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

How To Get A Business Loan
Date: August 17, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: University of La Verne Campus Center Third Floor
2000 2nd St. La Verne, CA 91750 (map it)
Contact: Fidel Gomez | fgomez@laverne.edu | (909) 448-1573
Organization: University of La Verne SBDC
Fee: Free

Join us at the SBDC for a free seminar on how to prepare your best application for a small business loan. We’ll cover the following topics:

  • SBA loans and loan qualifications
  • Criteria lenders look for
  • Loan package process
  • And more!

Opportunity Fund loan consultant Osbaldo Velazquez is scheduled to attend the event. He will be available to answer your questions about small business loans including how to get started.

Click here to register for this event.

Legal Forms of Organization
Date: August 21, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 3780 Market St. Riverside, CA 92501 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organizations: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Join this workshop featuring an attorney who will educate you about the different forms of business organization and which is most beneficial for your business, including tax consequences and benefits of each type of information.

We’ll also discuss how to protect your personal assets and property from lawsuits plus how to prevent piercing of the corporate veil of protection.

The workshop will close with an overview of legal issues facing a small business from startup to success.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media Sells: Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram
Date: August 22, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce—Upstairs Conference Room
29737 New Hub Dr. #102 Menifee, CA 92586 (map it)
Contact: Mary Takavorian | mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com | (909) 983-0751
Organization: Inland Empire SBDC
Fee: Free

Social Media is a moving target with constant changes happening every day. Join this free workshop to get the up-to-date information on how you can use social media to grow your business.

Topics include:

  • Define marketing goals and strategies using free and subscription tools
  • Get started with social media analytics from gathering data to interpreting results
  • Set marketing goals based on analytics to optimize impact
  • Identify the latest trends with social media tools including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Linkedin, and Twitter
  • Analyze the demographics of who uses different social media platforms
  • Understand how and why Pinterest and Instagram choose to purchase products or services directly from a post
  • Discover how to use social media for non-profit and business to business marketing

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Essential Elements of Every Small Business Website
Date: August 17, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (New Jersey) SCORE
Fee: Free

Your website is the hub of your entire online presence and must function as a marketing asset. In this webinar, Duct Tape Marketing founder John Jantsch will cover the key features every small business website must have in the world of marketing-activated websites.

Topics include:

  • Draw visitors in with a compelling promise
  • Include key trust-building elements prospects look for
  • Create a “Call to Action” that gets clicks
  • Develop content to attract search engines
  • Build a homepage journey for your ideal client

Move your business beyond brochures and make the leap to digital!

Click here to register for this event.

Smart Borrowing Practices
Date: August 30, 2017 | 10:00 pm PDT – 11:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: workshops@sba.gov | (206) 553-7310
Organization: SBA Seattle District Office
Fee: Free

If you’re considering a major financial decision like purchasing a car or house, or looking to borrow money, this free webinar is your starting point on the journey.

Topics include:

  • Smart borrowing tips
  • Your rights as a borrower
  • Signs of predatory lending
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

The Hidden Benefits of Going Green
Date: August 31, 2017| 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (New Jersey) SCORE
Fee: Free

You probably already know the benefits of improving the environmental sustainability of your small business. Did you know that these initiatives go beyond preserving scarce resources like water and energy to helping lower your costs and gain customers?

Get tips for retailers looking to advance their sustainability efforts in this free webinar, including:

  • Low and no cost steps to take that will result in near-term savings
  • Special tips for food service establishments
  • Ways to share your efforts and appeal to your increasingly socially and environmentally conscious customers
  • And more!

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. In fiscal year ‘16, 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

The majority of the business world is occupied by men and popular resources are often targeted towards them. However, as a woman small business owner, you could really benefit from resources directed towards and run by other women. We’ve compiled this list of a few good resources for you to get business help, find motivation, and network with other female entrepreneurs.

The majority of the business world is occupied by men and popular resources are often targeted towards them. However, as a woman small business owner, you could really benefit from resources directed towards and run by other women. We’ve compiled this list of a few good resources for you to get business help, find motivation, and network with other female entrepreneurs.

Bizjournals – Bizwomen

Bizwomen is a great online resource for news articles and editorials about topics related to business women. They also have a list of events geared towards women entrepreneurs. Either choose your city from their drop-down menu or scroll through the list of all upcoming events, award ceremonies, and networking opportunities.

Entrepreneur – Women Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneur is an online magazine chock full of helpful articles, but they have a section dedicated to topics related to being a woman entrepreneur. Bookmark this great page for stories that will inspire, educate, and help you be a better small business owner.

AWBC – Association of Women’s Business Centers

The AWBC has a diverse collection of resources available for you as a female entrepreneur. You can attend webinars, find events and conferences near you, read helpful articles to grow your business, and more. Find your nearest women’s business center for training and more localized resources. If you become a member, your membership provides you with tangible benefits including a mentor program, a free Constant Contact account, a Quickbooks teaching license, a unified voice for advocacy in Congress, and special resources for you to better run your small business.

NAWBO – National Association of Women Business Owners

NAWBO is another robust resource for women entrepreneurs. They have the usual events, helpful blog posts, news, videos, and local chapters with specialized assistance and events. Additionally, their membership offers a virtual environment where members can access special resources and connect to each other on forums.

Women Who Startup

Women Who Startup is an amazing place for women entrepreneurs to get great advice, collaboration, and networking opportunities. They are in the process of setting up half a dozen “basecamps” with monthly local events, and their website offers you access to a blog, a podcast, workshops, and more.

SCORE – Women Entrepreneurs

SCORE is a great source of free business advising for all entrepreneurs, but they have a wonderful resource page dedicated to female small business owners. Read specially targeted blog posts on topics related to being a woman in the business world, access live webinars for free, and use all SCORE’s free mentoring resources to help you run your business better.

 

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

Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too.  Read about Jimmy Orozco of Iguana’s Burritozilla in San Jose. Jimmy is working to expand his Mexican food franchise in Santa Clara County. Thanks to a small business loan from Opportunity Fund, Iguana’s is set to open in its fifth location in South San Jose.

Made in San Jose

Iguana’s Burritozilla has been a part of the San Jose business landscape since 1994. Current CEO Jimmy Orozco started working in his uncle’s restaurant, the flagship location in downtown San Jose, when he was in high school. Since the beginning, Iguana’s has been a family owned and operated business, with Jimmy’s siblings and cousins all working together as co-owners of the franchise with four locations in Santa Clara County.

The Orozco family has built Iguana’s into a famous brand, with appearances on Travel Channel and Food Network programs. They also invest in the community by hiring staff from the neighborhoods where they open new stores and funding deejays for local high school dances.

Iguana’s success has always come from within, with Jimmy and the rest of the family bringing a “do it yourself” spirit to work every day. When Jimmy started thinking about small business financing to help open a new location in South San Jose, he needed a solution that worked for his business.

“We were turned down by a bunch of lenders,” Jimmy said. “None of them really seemed to understand the growth of our business.”

Jimmy found Opportunity Fund through the Stanford Latino Entrepreneurship Initiative, a research program at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business that explores and expands knowledge of the Latino entrepreneurship segment in California’s economy through research, knowledge dissemination, and facilitated collaboration. Opportunity Fund plus Iguana’s turned out to be the perfect recipe for success.

Big Burritos Equal Big Business

Opportunity Fund business development officer Shanna McClearn started working with Jimmy to get the funding he needed to open the new location. The $250,000 loan we closed in February 2017 made a major difference for Iguana’s.

“Without Opportunity Fund, we would probably be doing the same thing but with a little more strain on the company,” Jimmy said of their expansion. “Now we don’t have to worry so much, because the capital is there.”

Shanna’s guidance throughout the loan process was also a huge help. “Working with Shanna was refreshing and surprising, and unexpected,” Jimmy said. “She took the time to understand our business. She gets the entire picture of what we’re doing. The communication was easy and quick.”

Jimmy and Shanna - Iguana's

Jimmy and Shanna closed their deal with a handshake and an invitation to lunch (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

The new location is fast tracked for a spring grand opening, with more locations to come. Jimmy is focused on his hometown community as always, but he’s also looking to expand to locations outside Santa Clara County in the future.

“We serve college students, high school kids, local business people, locals, you name it,” Jimmy said. “Anybody who wants good food in a fun environment is welcome here.”

We’re proud to support successful local entrepreneurs like Jimmy and honored to serve family-owned small businesses. We’re especially looking forward to grabbing a taco at Iguana’s new location.

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

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 31 through August 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 31 through August 16.

Northern California/Sacramento

Modesto: Business Start Up
Date: August 8, 2017 | 8:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Kirk Lindsey Center
1020 10th St. Suite 102 Modesto, CA 95354 (map it)
Contact: Peni Hogwood | phogwood@stanbusalliance.com | (209) 422-6416
Organization: Valley Sierra SBDC Modesto
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 us for an entrepreneur’s introduction to the basics of starting a new business. Bring your ideas for your business model—rough ideas are okay too! Get answers to your questions like:

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

Click here to register for this event.

California Small Business Insurance Requirements Seminar
Date: August 3, 2017 | 2:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: 4608 Duckhorn Dr. Sacramento, CA 95834 (map it)
Contact: Catrina Avila | admin@vbocix.org | (916) 527-8400
Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Program
Fee: Free

California law mandates employers to have certain types of insurance, including workers’ compensation, unemployment, and (contingent on the business location) disability insurance, and others depending on your type of business. Join this seminar to learn the difference between the types of insurance and how to get started for your business.

Click here to register for this event. This seminar is also available as a webinar. Click here for more information.

WE Thrive Together on Tuesday: Being Bold With Heart – Networking Success Tips You Can Implement Now
Date: August 5, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Moseley Family Cellars
4713 Mountain Lakes Blvd. Suite 300 Redding, CA 96003 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Join the Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI) for this networking opportunity that will help you create a story for your small business.

Women share a desire to connect. We value our relationships. Together, let’s explore why our female assets are admirable in business development.

Discover these building blocks for small business success:

  • Define what “convenience” means for you in business development
  • Create a personal asset inventory
  • Engage your top 3 personality assets for successful marketing ideas

Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

How to Start Your Business Financials in Excel
Date: August 9, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 2:00 pm PDT
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

Overcome your fear of starting with an empty Excel spreadsheet. Learn the basic Excel functions necessary to develop your financials and then build a basic Profit and Loss statement for your business in this workshop.

For maximum impact you may bring your laptop to follow along, but it is not required. Basic computer knowledge is required for this class.

Click here to register for this event.

Demystifying the Commercial Leasing Process
Date: August 9, 2017 | 1:30 pm PDT – 4:30 pm PDT
Location: Mission Viejo City Hall—Saddleback Room
200 Civic Center Mission Viejo, CA 92691 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organizations: Orange County SCORE
Fee: $35 via pre-registration online  $45 at the door (cash or check only)

Commercial building owners and their agents each have a strong background in negotiating leases, which most commercial tenants lack. This course can help you even the score with skills on how to lease the right office, industrial, or retail space for your business.

Leasing commercial property takes knowledge and skill. Whether you are planning to lease a commercial property on your own or use the services of a qualified broker, this seminar will guide you through the steps of the process and prepare you for signing your lease with confidence.

Click here to register for this event.

Communicating & Negotiating Effectively Across Cultures
Date: August 10, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: San Diego Public Library—Mary Hollis Clark Conference Center
330 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101 (map it)
Contact: Cynthia Harris | cynthia.harris@sba.gov | (619) 727-4885
Organization: SBA San Diego District Office
Fee: Free

In today’s global environment, we must work with people from other cultures. Communicating with people with different cultural groups can be challenging, whether they are colleagues we are working with, suppliers and clients we are doing business with, or direct reports we are supervising. Each culture has its own rules and norms, which prescribe the attitudes and behaviors considered normal within that culture.

Our cultural background programs the way we view and interpret the world around us. Few of us are aware of our own cultural biases and baggage. This workshop will help you develop effective communication skills with people from other cultures through mindful and conscious learning.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Low Cost Marketing Ideas
Date: August 3, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Melissa Terrell | mterrell@theinstitutenc.org
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 the best free and low-cost marketing tools and help promote your business without breaking the bank.

Click here to register for this event.

Demystifying Business Insurance
Date: August 10, 2017 | 12:30 pm PDT – 2:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: workshops@sba.gov | (206) 553-7310
Organization: SBA Seattle District Office
Fee: Free

You’ve embarked on the incredible journey of starting your own business. You completed your business plan and worked with a top notch attorney to set up the right business structure for your new business. You found a prime location and space for your business and you’re ready to launch. There’s just one little thing left: insurance.

You have no idea what types of insurance coverage you need. The information your friends or family members tell you about insurance is confusing and may not be accurate.

This webinar from the SBA will help you get started with business insurance. Get answers to your questions:

  • Why do I need insurance?
  • What is the difference between first party and third party insurance coverage?
  • What are the common types of insurance coverage for business owners?
  • Why should I select available “optional” coverage?
  • How do I find the right business insurance agent?
  • What are the common myths about insurance?
  • And more!

The SBA Seattle District Office offers free workshops the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. Here’s an upcoming slate of free August events:

  • Webinar | August 10 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. | Make the World’s Biggest Buyer Your Customer through Government Contracting
  • Webinar | August 10 | 12:30 – 1 p.m. | Demystifying Business Insurance
  • Webinar | August 10 | 2:15 -3:45 p.m. | DIY Market Research with the U.S. Census Bureau
  • Seattle (in-person event) | August 24 | 9 – 10:30 a.m. | Meet the Lenders: How to Finance Your Small Business
  • Seattle (in-person event) | August 24 | 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Your Business Plan: Do the Financials Add Up?
  • Seattle (in-person event) | August 24 | 1 – 2:30 p.m. | Best Financial Practices for Your Business

Click here to register for this event and to get more information on upcoming seminars from the SBA Seattle District office.

Small Business Mentoring for your LGBT Business
Date: August 15, 2017| 7:00 am PDT – 8:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Valerie Maher | Houston@sba.gov | (713) 773-6500
Organization: SBA Houston District Office
Fee: Free

Join this free webinar for entrepreneurs. You’ll get information about:

  • How to get business counseling through SCORE, Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and Women’s Business Center (WBC)
  • How to grow your business
  • How the Greater Houston LGBT Chamber of Commerce can help your business
  • How small businesses benefit from SBA programs

Speakers will include:

  • SBA Houston District Office Experts
  • GHLGBTCC Chamber Leadership
  • SCORE
  • LGBT Business Owner

This workshop is open to all and we encourage the following groups to attend:

  • LGBT business owners (or prospective business owners)
  • Currently certified LGBTBEs seeking new growth strategies
  • Local business leaders
  • Supplier Diversity and procurement professionals
  • Anyone committed to the economic advancement of LGBT community

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. In fiscal year ‘16, 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

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

Running a business is a lot of work if you are the sole proprietor. Even if you have a partner and excellent staff, sometimes you need the support and opportunities of external groups. Our content partner Nav introduces four online groups you can join to network with other small business owners and resources.

Running a business is a lot of work if you are the sole proprietor. Even if you have a partner and excellent staff, sometimes you need the support and opportunities of external groups. Our content partner Nav.com introduces four online groups you can join to network with other small business owners and resources.

 

The work of entrepreneurs and small business owners is filled with pitfalls and challenges, and sometimes you just need to talk to someone who can share a few pieces of good advice. Business networking groups are a great way to meet advisors and mentors who can help during the journey, as well as to find new professional connections, opportunities and ideas.

Whether you’re looking for suggestions for your next product, emotional support or advice on taking your business to the next level, there’s a variety of small business groups and associations willing to assist. Even better, many of them allow members to join and access resources for free. Here’s a list of four organizations with free services for small businesses that can help no matter where members are on the path to entrepreneurship.

U.S. Small Business Administration

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is an independent U.S. federal agency that aims to help people start, grow, finance and sell their small business. The agency’s website contains valuable information in written and video format about a variety of topics, from drafting a business plan and registering your business to obtaining permits and applying for SBA loans. Those who are interested in a more personal approach can visit one of the SBA’s district or regional offices nearby, as well as connect with business centers supporting female entrepreneurs and military veterans.

The SBA is also known as a great resource for business financing. The agency guarantees billions of dollars in small business loans every year and can help you understand how to qualify for an SBA-backed loan or other types of business financing (here’s a comparison chart for a quick guide). SBA loans require an established business credit score —specifically, the FICO SBSS score — to secure financing. (You can check your personal and business credit scores for free on Nav.)

SCORE

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is a U.S. nonprofit association that provides members with free business mentoring and education, thanks to the support of the SBA and more than 11,000 volunteers who have signed up to share their expertise. The organization provides free, confidential business mentoring in person or online, as well as free resources, tips and tools through its website. Those willing to invest a little money in their education can also sign up to attend local workshops or webinars about topics as diverse as social media, taxes and branding.

Meetup

Meetup is a social network that allows members to find others who are interested in the same topics and activities and meet them for offline events and activities. To date, the website has helped organize more than 25,000 entrepreneurship meetups on six continents, from massive chapters in cities such as New York, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco to smaller and more specialized groups across the U.S. Most scheduled meetups are free to attend, with annual larger events charging admission to cover costs throughout the year. Meetups can be a great opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs, recruit from a specific talent pool or even market your business.

StartupNation

StartupNation is a website and content platform for current and aspiring small business owners that offers a wealth of information about a variety of topics, authored by industry leaders and visionaries. The community was founded in 2002 by Jeff and Rich Sloan, brothers who also host the nationally syndicated StartupNation radio program. Users who sign up for the StartupNation newsletter can receive free content such as articles, case studies, podcasts, book excerpts and webinars directly in their inbox.

Final Thoughts

Running a small business can sometimes seem overwhelming, so it’s comforting to know that these and other associations are available when entrepreneurs are looking for advice, insights or new contacts. After all, the importance of having a community where members can share experiences and knowledge with other business owners can’t be overstated.

 

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

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


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

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