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

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

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

It is hard to run a small business by yourself. That’s why you hire employees to delegate tasks to and work on bigger projects with – but this can get complicated. We’ve compiled this list of tools and resources that will help you manage and track team projects and shared tasks.

Hipchat

How much it costs: Free with a $2.00 a month premium plan

What it does: Hipchat is more than just a chat room for your employees. With their free, easy-to-use interface, you can also share files securely and create group chats or talk with members one-on-one. Their premium paid plan gives you unlimited file sharing storage and includes video conferencing capabilities. An amazing feature is the ability to search through conversations to find that one message you need.

MeisterTask

How much it costs: Free with paid premium plans

What it does: MeisterTask is a project management application that centers around collaboration and team coordination. This app offers mobile integration, checklists, deadline notifications, file sharing, and instant communication between team members. Simply open your dashboard in the morning, see what progress has been made on projects, and focus on what is important to running your business.

Trello

How much it costs: Free with paid premium plans

What it does: Trello is a simple way to track projects among your staff. Easily create projects and subtasks, add as many people who are involved, attach photos and files to projects, set deadlines, and start conversations through project comments. The free plan also allows for one “Power-up” which can sync an outside application or add a special feature your Trello account.

Producteev

How much it costs: Free with paid premium plan

What it does: With unlimited users, tasks, and projects, Producteev is a great task management service for collaborating. You can connect employees to shared projects with to-do lists, deadlines, auditing, priorities, and notifications. Easily turn work emails into tasks by forwarding them to Producteev. The premium plan only offers two additional services: personalized support and customization of the interface with your small business’ colors and logo.

Dropbox

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Dropbox is a really popular file-sharing service. Store your files in the cloud and sync with the people you want to share with. You also have the ability to collaborate with others on slides already uploaded into Dropbox. No more hassle of downloading, editing, and re-uploading files hundreds of times!

 

We’re always looking for the best affordable online resources including tools to promote to small business owners like you. If you have a tool you’d like to share with fellow business owners, contact us at sblending@opportunityfund.org.

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


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. In FY16 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

Small businesses that get ongoing business advice are more likely to sustainably manage or grow their business and achieve long-term success. That’s why Opportunity Fund has joined with Pacific Community Ventures to provide you with free business advising through Pacific Community Venture’s BusinessAdvising.org program.

Small businesses that get ongoing business advice are more likely to sustainably manage or grow their business and achieve long-term success. That’s why Opportunity Fund has joined with Pacific Community Ventures to provide you with free business advising through Pacific Community Venture’s BusinessAdvising.org program.

 

Opportunity Fund has partnered with PCV to offer you free business advising for your small business. You know how to run your business, but this business advising program can help you run it better. Learn how to scale up your business to take advantage of diversity supplier programs, expand your business’ products and services, generate profit beyond just breaking even, and more.

Business Advising That Fits Your Schedule and Needs

With our Business Advising program, you will be matched with a mentor who is an experienced, knowledgeable expert in your industry. These pro bono experts come from major banks, consulting firms, and Fortune 500 companies – and they want to help you!

Meet with them in person, over the phone, or online whenever your schedule works. Set goals that meet your short-term and long-term business goals.

Your advisor can help you with:

  • Marketing
  • Finance and accounting
  • Executive coaching
  • Business planning
  • Scaling up for large contracts
  • Operations (supply chains, B2B, B2C)
  • And more!

Get started today. Visit BusinessAdvising.org/opportunity-fund or call 415-442-4300 and reference this special offer from Opportunity Fund to get matched up with your business mentor. You don’t have to go it alone — make Pacific Community Ventures Business Advising program a part of your long-term business success!

Who is Pacific Community Ventures?

Pacific Community Ventures is a nonprofit that works with small businesses, investors, and policymakers to build an economy that helps entrepreneurs succeed. Located in Northern California, they offer small business owners financial and business coaching, access to community networks, and a unified voice to policymakers on their behalf.

Get started today!

Enrollment only takes a few minutes.  Visit BusinessAdvising.org/opportunity-fund or call 415-442-4300 and reference this special offer from Opportunity Fund.

 

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


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

Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Roan Victor of The Arsenal in San Jose. Roan wanted to grow her art studio into a hub for local artists. Thanks to three small business loans from Opportunity Fund, The Arsenal is opening a new studio and gallery in San Jose’s Japantown.

Creating Connections in the San Jose Art Community

Roan Victor started The Arsenal in the summer of 2011. Roan and her husband Sean Boyles, both artists based in San Jose, chose to open an art studio and gallery in their hometown.

The Arsenal offers art classes and workshops to artists in the community of all ages and skill levels. “We work with all kinds of people,” Roan said. “Seniors would come in to buy oil paints, and at the same time, younger guys would come in to buy spray paint. They would all interact with each other. It was fun to bring different cultures and ages together.”

Roan’s vision for her business included a move to their dream location in San Jose’s Japantown, for the community art connections, walkable neighborhood, and strong small business network. First, she needed a small business loan to help The Arsenal grow.

Her business banker at Bank of America was focused more on the financial success of The Arsenal, which didn’t meet her needs as a small business owner. “Our goal is to have a significant contribution to the art community in San Jose,” she said.

Opportunity Fund Helps The Arsenal Stay in the Picture

Bank of America connected Roan to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Laly Velazquez, who was able to close a $4,000 loan in September 2014 for The Arsenal. The funds helped Roan set up a new classroom space with proper lighting. Roan paid off the loan in less than a year and applied for a second loan of $8,000 in June 2015, which helped replace and maintain equipment like their silk screen machine.

Roan came back for a third loan this January for $8,000 to help move The Arsenal to Japantown. Roan and Sean are working with Roan’s sister Regine to prepare their new space for a grand re-opening this summer. With their new space, The Arsenal can offer studio space to local artists, plus more classes and workshops featuring artists from the area and a brand new art gallery.

Roan Victor - The Arsenal

Roan is a teacher, a business leader, and an advocate for her community arts scene (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Laly’s help through the loan process made a difference for Roan. “Sean and I both went to school for art so we don’t have a business background,” Roan said. “Working with Laly is like talking to a friend. She shows me what to do and how Opportunity Fund can help.”

Roan sees The Arsenal as a part of Japantown’s thriving arts scene and business community. “Our goal is to have a great studio with everything artists need, like what I had when I was studying painting at San Jose State,” she said. “I want to build a hub where artists with different experiences can work together.”

We’re proud to support Roan’s dreams to build The Arsenal into a community hub for artists and creators.

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 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

You want to get the most affordable loan possible to grow your small business, but your NAICS code could be hurting you. Our content partner Nav explains how and why you should look at your classification.

You want to get the most affordable loan possible to grow your small business, but your NAICS code could be hurting you. Our content partner Nav.com explains how and why you should look at your classification.

 

Even if you didn’t choose a NAICS code for your business (or have no idea what an NAICS code is), you probably have one.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes are six-digit codes used by the federal government to classify businesses into an industry. The system was created for statistical purposes but is also used for non-statistical purposes, including determining eligibility to bid on government contracts and the risk level associated with your business for some loans and financing options. There are 20 sectors and more than 1,000 industries in the U.S. NAICS system.

Because there is no agency that governs how NAICS codes are assigned to businesses, these codes are largely self-assigned or assigned to your business by an agency collecting information on businesses. For example, the U.S. Census Bureau may assign an NAICS code to your business based on a survey you took. If you applied for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) on the IRS website, information from your application can be used to assign your business a code. This code will also show up on your business credit reports.

 

How Your NAICS Affects Your Wallet

How risky your business is determines whether or not you qualify for the best loans and financing options. Some industries, as determined by NAICS codes, are riskier than others, and your NAICS code tells a lot about how risky your business is in the eyes of a lender.

There are a number of ways your industry code can cost you money.

1. By bringing down your business credit scores

NAICS and SIC codes are recorded in business credit reports. The industry in which your business is classified can have an impact on your business credit score — for example, Experian’s business credit score uses your industry code as one factor determining your score. If you are incorrectly classified in a higher risk industry than the one in which you operate, it could be bringing down your business credit scores. These scores are then used by lenders, vendors and suppliers to qualify your business for trade terms, loans, and lines of credit.

2. By lenders determining your eligibility and rates for a loan

Lenders are going to want to know your NAICS code to qualify your business for a loan. Any given lender may deem some industries too risky to work with. Typical “high risk” industries include gambling, political lobbying and businesses involved in pyramid sale distributions, but the list goes on. The Small Business Administration, for example, has a long list of ineligible businesses that they will not work with for their popular 7(a) loan program based on operating activities.

3. Determining whether your business is “small”

The SBA uses size standards to determine if you are a “small” business. Only “small” businesses can qualify for government programs designated for small business, including the SBA’s loan programs and certain government contracting opportunities.

If your business is classified under the incorrect industry, it could make a difference whether or not you are classified as small because different industries have different size standards.

For example, let’s say you are a residential remodeler, but you started your business specializing in roofing. Your NAICS code may be 238160 for Roofing Contractors, when it in fact should be 236118 for Residential Remodeler.  This might seem like it’s not worth the hassle of changing, but depending on your annual receipts, it could determine whether you are a small business. Roofing Contractors must have annual receipts of less than $15 million to be considered small, whereas Residential Remodelers can have annual receipts of up to $36.5 million.

The industry code may also determine how many opportunities are available for your business — in the case of our remodeling example, residential remodelers tend to have more opportunities available than specialized industries do.

4. Whether you qualify for contracting opportunities

Business opportunities presented by the federal government are offered to specific industries based on what the government buyer is looking for. The government uses NAICS codes to classify these solicitations for a business.

Here’s an example of where the industry code might show up on a solicitation form through fbo.gov:

This opportunity is set aside for NAICS code 236118, Residential Remodelers. If you are classified, instead, under NAICS code 236115, New Single-Family Housing Construction (except For-Sale Builders), you might miss this opportunity.

Although NAICS codes may seem a dry, complicated subject, taking the time to make sure (a) that your business has received one, and (b) that it’s accurate, could mean the difference between growing your business and being hung out to dry. You can check your business’s DUNS number, and your NAICS and SIC codes 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

Deago Williams started his life over by starting his own business. He worked hard to build his business but couldn’t get financing through his bank. Deago is improving his business thanks to two small business loans from Opportunity Fund.

Our customers inspire us every day, and we want to regularly share those stories to inspire you, too. Get to know Deago Williams of Williams Auto Detailing in Sacramento. Deago started his life over with hard work but couldn’t get a bank loan to grow his business. Read how we’re helping Deago improve his business and better serve his customers with our small business loans.

A Second Chance for a First Time Business Owner

Deago Williams took an unconventional path to entrepreneurship. After serving 16 years in prison in the Midwest, he came to Sacramento, California looking for a chance to rebuild his life.

Deago has 13 years of auto detailing experience, so he got back into the industry when he landed in California. “I had to teach myself all over again,” he said. “I got tired of working for somebody else. I wanted to see what it was like to have my own business.”

He founded Williams Auto Detailing in 2014 to fulfill those ambitions. Deago and his staff of his wife Denise and a new hire from the shop’s neighborhood work primarily with auto dealers in need of professional cleaning for their car inventories.

Soon Deago found the hard truth for most small business owners: it’s impossible to do everything on your own. He was working in the business every day, plus handling the finances, marketing, and other business functions.

He needed a small business loan to help purchase new equipment. “I go through a lot of money,” he said. “I’ve been able to stay in business this long because I put majority of my money back into my business.”

Deago’s bank couldn’t help, but a connection to Opportunity Fund made a huge difference for Williams Auto Detailing.

A Bright Future with Clean Cars

When I started my business I had no credit,” Deago said. His business banker at Wells Fargo was supportive of Deago’s business goals, but couldn’t get him the loan he needed. They introduced Deago to Opportunity Fund loan consultant Madieu Shyllon.

“Madieu visited me at my business,” Deago said. “He saw where I was coming from. He understood me and gave me confidence.”

Madieu got Deago started with a $3,500 loan in November 2015. Deago was able to pay the loan off and get a second loan of $8,000 in May 2016.

The working capital helps pay for backups for equipment that breaks down, which allows three Williams Auto Detailing employees to keep up with demand from seven auto dealers.

Deago Williams - Williams Auto Detailing

Deago counts on our small business loans to help him buy new equipment (photo courtesy of Heimo Schmidt)

Deago values Opportunity Fund’s commitment to open communication. “If I need to talk to someone, they lead me in the right direction with the right people. It’s taken care of,” he said.

Deago is focused on improving his business every day, with an upcoming move to a bigger workspace in the neighborhood. We’re focused on helping hardworking entrepreneurs like Deago make their dreams come true with our easy-to-get, fast, and affordable small business loans.

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

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

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