Food trucks may be a more accessible way to get your food into hungry people’s stomachs, but information about how to run a successful one isn’t as easy to find. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest news in food trucks and the mobile food business with these free blogs.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. Here are five free food truck blogs.

Food trucks may be a more accessible way to get your food into hungry people’s stomachs, but information about how to run a successful one isn’t as easy to find. Stay ahead of the curve with the latest news in food trucks and the mobile food business with these free blogs.

National Food Trucks

What it does: Although National Food Trucks doesn’t update their blog very frequently, what they do produce are great pieces that inspire, inform, and celebrate food trucks. From location-specific success stories, to adrenaline pumping pieces about greedy event bookers – you’ll find something useful and interesting to read here.

Food Truck Operator

What it does: Food Truck Operator should be your go-to source for food truck news. They update several times a month whenever something new comes out that would be beneficial to you as a mobile food entrepreneur. There’s a little bit of everything on this helpful blog: inspiring success stories, latest news and legislation, helpful business tips, and more.

Food Truck Empire

What it does: Another frequent poster, Food Truck Empire offers interesting articles about unique food trucks, new market trends, out-of-the-box business tips, and more. Keep updated with this food truck blog for a well-rounded knowledge about what’s changing in the mobile food industry.

Roaming Hunger

What it does: Roaming Hunger boasts several topics of articles from “experiential marketing” and “recipes” to “weddings” and “the office.” Why are wedding blog posts interesting to food truck owners? This blog not only offers insightful pieces that are helpful for you to read, but they also have lots of pro-food truck articles for your own business to share on your social media to help spread the word and attract big gigs.

Foodtruckr

What it does: Foodtruckr’s blog is full of motivation, inspiration, tips and tricks. This is definitely an amazing resource for you to grow your mobile food business, written by food truck experts for other entrepreneurs.

 

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 including Mobile Food Truck loans, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or loans@opportunityfund.org.  For questions about your existing loan or other customer service questions, please contact us at 866-299-8173 or sbhelp@opportunityfund.org.

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


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

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

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

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from August 1 through 15.

Northern California/Sacramento

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

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

  • Digital marketing
  • Inventory
  • Finance
  • E-commerce

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

Agenda:

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

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Cash Flow Management
Date: August 8, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 1055 Wilshire Blvd. Suite 900B Los Angeles, CA 90017 (map it)
Contact: Daniel Ing | ding@pacela.org |(213) 353-9400
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: Free

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Topics include:

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Recipe for Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rising to the Challenge

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

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

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

Sugarbird Sweets - Scones

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


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

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


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

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

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 16 through 31.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 16 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

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

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

Topics include:

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Start-Up Workshop
Date: July 17, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 2900 S. Crenshaw Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90016 (map it)
Contact: Cathleen Hy | chy@pacela.org | (323) 293-6284
Organization: PACE Finance Corporation
Fee: Free

If you are planning to start your business and you want to start on the right track, please join us at our next Small Business Start-Up workshop. We’ll cover the nuts and bolts of starting a small business:

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

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

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

Topics include:

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

Discovering What Works in Social Media
Date: July 27, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: John Merlino | jmerl018@live.kutztown.edu | (973) 879-3549
Organization: Kutztown (Penn.) SBDC
Fee: Free

Join John Merlino, Kutztown SBDC social media guru, for this 45-minute webinar about discovering what works in social media.

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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


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

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


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

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

There are a lot of laws and regulations surrounding businesses and consumer protection. The Federal Trade Commission has free resources for you to make sure your small business is in compliance. Here are a few resources for your small business from the FTC.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. Here are five ways the FTC can help your business.

There are a lot of laws and regulations surrounding businesses and consumer protection. The Federal Trade Commission has free resources for you to make sure your small business is in compliance. Here are a few resources for your small business from the FTC.

Competition Policy Guidance

What it does: All businesses want to succeed, and that usually means trying to attract customers away from your competitors. US antitrust laws ensure that market competition is fair for everyone, but it can get confusing to know if your business or your competitor is following all the rules. Take a look at the FTC’s useful guides and documents for your education. Think that another business is in violation? You can file a report easily here.

Advertising and Marketing

What it does: Marketing your business is more complicated than sharing photos of your products on social media. Whether you already have a robust marketing plan or are just getting your toes wet, read through the FTC’s guides for circumstances such as advertising children’s products, health care, using endorsements, telemarketing, “Made in USA” claims, and more.

Privacy and Security

What it does: Does your small business have a privacy policy? (Hint: if you don’t, you should implement one now.) Privacy and online security, including identity theft credit reporting, are very important to understand and comply with. The FTC offers helpful resources for all things related to personal information.

Credit and Finance

What it does: Whether you want to read up on your rights regarding getting a small business loan or you want to make sure you comply with all the rules about processing customers’ payments, the FTC’s center for credit and finance will have all you need to know.

FTC Blogs

What it does: In addition to helpful guides with easy categories, the FTC runs a blog. Here you can read up-to-date information and alerts. It would be a good idea to subscribe to get their blog newsletter, along with Opportunity Fund’s, so you can always read the latest tips for your small business.

 

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.

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


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

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

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

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 1 through 15.

Northern California/Sacramento

Coffee with a Business Advisor
Date: July 2, 2018 | 2:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT
Location: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library—Third Floor: SJPL Works
150 E. San Fernando St. San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: sjplworks@sjlibrary.org | (408) 808-2310
Organization: SJPL Works
Fee: Free

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Pre-registration is suggested as seating is limited.

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

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

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

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

Please contact Steve for location information.

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

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

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

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

Topics include:

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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


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

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


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

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

Alejandra made her dream to open her own cosmetics store come true through hard work. When she needed a small business loan to grow, Opportunity Fund was there to help. Thanks to our small business loans, Ale’s Bissu Makeup Store now has two locations in Corona.

 

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

Alejandra made her dream to open her own cosmetics store come true through hard work. When she needed a small business loan to grow, Opportunity Fund was there to help. Thanks to our small business loans, Ale’s Bissu Makeup Store now has two locations in Corona.

A Beautiful Dream of Business Ownership

Alejandra Dominguez started Ale’s Bissu Makeup Store in Corona in 2016. She made her dream to start her own cosmetics store happen, armed with a Wells Fargo credit card with a limit of $1,500. She worked with her husband Jorge to establish the business, which was a major change for her and her family.

“I used to be a normal housewife who was completely dependent on my husband’s income to buy everything for the house,” Alejandra said. “Before I started this business, I did not help financially in any way.”

Alejandra’s goals of business ownership remained strong. “I wanted to be independent and succeed in life,” she said.

As gifted makeup artist, Alejandra offers quality cosmetics and tools plus excellent customer service at Ale’s Bissu Makeup Store. “We sell high quality products at reasonable prices,” she said. “Our motto is to never have high prices.”

Ale's Bissu Makeup Store - Alejandra

Alejandra helps her customers find the right makeup (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)


She also offers free makeup tutorial workshops for clients in her Corona neighborhood. “We noticed some clients may not be able to afford classes,” she said. “Our clients are our priority.  I’m excited to help people in my community.”

With a knack for beauty and a passion for helping people, Alejandra was set up for success. However, she ran into a snag when she needed a working capital loan to help grow her business.

Building a Strong Financial Foundation

She reached out to AMPAC Tri State CDC in the Inland Empire. As a key community partner of Opportunity Fund, they connected Alejandra to our loan consultant Adela Escobar. Adela helped close a $10,001 loan for Ale’s Bissu Makeup Store in November 2017, with a reduced rate thanks to our partnership with the Tory Burch Foundation to support women entrepreneurs. The loan helped Alejandra purchase more products for her store and later helped her expand the business.

Ale's Bissu Makeup Store - Alejandra and Adela

Alejandra worked with her loan consultant Adela to get the financing her business needed (photo courtesy of Michael Microulis)

“We decided to expand and rented a kiosk at Tyler Mall,” Alejandra said. Together with her staff–her husband Jorge and two other employees–Alejandra is operating two locations in Corona and keeping up with her pledge to help the community with better access to cosmetics and tutorials.

“I had been denied for credit with banks and credit unions, but Opportunity Fund believed in me and in my dreams,” she said.

Alejandra’s goals are growing alongside her business. “I want to provide employment to my community,” she said. “I came to this country from Mexico to stand out and be a successful person. My business has helped me understand my passion of being a businesswoman and helping people. Opportunity Fund will be part of my team for success.”

We’re proud to support entrepreneurs with big dreams like Alejandra and we’re proud to see her business and goals grow.

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


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

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

If you don’t have a large budget with enough capital to invest in professional cyber security software, you should at least take the minimum precautions to make your small business operate as safely as possible. Here are a few resources your small business should try that don’t cost you anything but a few minutes.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. Here are three free cyber security tools for your business.

If you don’t have a large budget with enough capital to invest in professional cyber security software, you should at least take the minimum precautions to make your small business operate as safely as possible. You can take a look at the FCC’s Cyber Security Tips list for a few free ways you can operate your business securely.

LastPass

How much it costs: Free for individuals, paid plans starting at $2 a month

What it does: Never remember your complex passwords for dozens of websites? Always remember because you use the same, weak password? LastPass is a trustworthy site that will generate secure passwords for each website, account, and email you need. It will safely store your passwords for future use. If you want to upgrade to premium personal or a business account, you have even more security features at your disposal such as emergency access, passwords for applications, access to team passwords, and more.

Avira

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Avira Free Security Suite is a free antivirus tool perfect for low-budget small businesses like yours. Avira offers a free VPN, password manager, anonymous web browsing extension, safe shopping tools, third-party tracking blocker, and even a tool to check up your computer so see what’s slowing you down and what is a security issue. The only problem? Avira is available for Windows only.

Avast 

How much it costs: Free with paid premium plans

What it does: Available for Windows, Mac, and Android, Avast is another great antivirus software. In addition to standard antivirus features, Avast will inspect your Wi-Fi for weaknesses, automatically scan downloads, and keep an eye on your applications for suspicious behavior before you run into trouble. Paid premium business plans offer additional security features such as webcam shield, a secure VPN, permanent data shredder, and access to the software on all your small business devices.

 

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.

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


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

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

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

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

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

Northern California/Sacramento

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Topics include:

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Topics include:

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

Topics include:

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

Click here to register for this event.

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

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

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

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

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

Click here to register for this event.

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


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

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


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

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

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