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

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from January 8 through 17.

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 January 8 through 17.

Northern California/Sacramento

Developing Your Own Food Business—10 Part Seminar
Date: Starts January 10, 2018 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 am PDT
Location: Ruggieri Senior Center
33997 Alvarado-Niles Rd. Union City, CA 94587 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | seminars@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organization: Alameda County SBDC
Fee: Free

Thinking of launching a food product or opening a restaurant/cafe? Learn the critical aspects of how to start and succeed in the specialty food business!

The Alameda County SBDC and the Alameda County Community Development Agency offer a free 10-part seminar series: “Running Your Own Food Business” This series is for entrepreneurs interested in launching and growing food businesses in Alameda County.

Join us for this free 10 class series that meets every Wednesday and Thursday. Participants who attend eight of the ten sessions will receive a Certificate of Completion.

1/10/18 Class 1: Concept (mission/vision/values)     
1/11/18 Class 2: Operating Models    
1/17/18 Class 3: Consumer Packaged Goods & Food Service Models
1/18/18 Class 4: Understanding Costs (cash/profit)
1/24/18 Class 5: Operations                   
1/25/18 Class 6: Marketing Communications                                                       
1/31/18 Class 7: Financial Projections
2/01/18 Class 8: Legalities & Resources                               
2/07/18 Class 9: Funding Your Company                                                                 
2/08/18 Class 10: Your Business Plan

Click here to register for this event.

Own Your Negotiations – Women Mean Business
Date: January 10, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 275 5th Street San Francisco, CA 94103 (map it)
Contact: Fatimah Aure | faure@rencenter.org | (415) 348-6217
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: $15

Learn three powerful tools to get ahead and get along in your business negotiations with customers, vendors, and your team.

Enjoy a light dinner and learn from and be inspired by successful women business owners, industry experts, and thought leaders.

Women Mean Business is Renaissance SoMa’s monthly women’s networking meetup. This event strives to help local business women and emerging women entrepreneurs learn from successful women business owners’ experiences, make new contacts, build their networks, and grow their businesses. Examples of topics include setting goals, accessing capital, and industry-specific sessions in fashion, jewelry, retail, and food.

Click here to register for this event.

Exploring Business Ownership – What It Takes To Start a Business
Date: January 17, 2018 | 5:30 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 205 Chestnut St. Mount Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: Jenny Payton | jpayton@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670 ext. 10
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free with JEDI membership

Starting a business can be scary, but like any other successful adventure, the more prepared you are the higher chance of a positive outcome. If you are considering starting a business, join this workshop and get informed!

We will discuss the following:

  • The mindset and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs
  • The different types of businesses and legal structures
  • Common business terminology as it applies to start-ups
  • Why conducting a feasibility study is like packing the right supplies for a trip

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Basic Accounting for Your Business
Date: January 9, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 77-806 Flora Rd. Suite A Palm Desert, CA 92211 (map it)
Contact: Kim Scanlan | kscanlan@cvwbc.org | (760) 345-9200
Organization: Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

Because everything in business revolves around money, proper money management will be key your small business’s success. Your ability to understand and follow a few basic accounting practices is what will make the difference between success and profitability or headache and heartache. This workshop will show you the bare minimum accounting practices and procedures for any small business and how to implement them.

Click here to register for this event.

Women’s Networking Breakfast
Date: January 12, 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: score140@scorevolunteer.org | (585) 283-1101
Organization: San Diego SCORE
Fee: $20

Join us for this networking breakfast planned around the theme: Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Profit.

Rhonda Sher, The LinkedIn Diva, leads the seminar. She’s an expert in creating LinkedIn profiles and knows how to leverage the platform for business success. Rhonda will show you how to optimize your profile so that it speaks to your ideal clients and referral partners and stands out from the competition. You will also learn how to make connections on LinkedIn and how to go from offline to online in today’s digital world.

Your registration fee includes breakfast: scrambled eggs with chives, spinach and cheese, potatoes, bacon, sliced fruit, orange juice, regular and decaf coffee and tea.

Click here to register for this event.

Time Management – Work Smarter, Not Harder
Date: January 16, 2018 | 3:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: Highgrove Public Library
530 Center St. Riverside, CA 92507 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

If you’re doing more and enjoying it less, it’s time to make real choices about how and when to spend your time. This workshop gives you the tools to find balance, achieve your goals and be more effective and productive.

Join us and learn how to:

  • Plan your week so you can reduce stress and save time
  • Organize your master project and to-do lists so they are doable
  • Break down your personal or business goals into bite-sized pieces, and make the time to work on them

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Energize Your Enterprise
Date: January 11, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Stephen Konkle | stephen.konkle@sba.gov | (312) 886-4208
Organization: SBA Illinois District Office
Fee: Free

Owning and operating a small business is both rewarding and challenging. Over time, things change: markets, economic conditions, and people. What seemed like a great product or service when you started may need to be discarded or modified. Perhaps the market for the product or service you provide no longer exists. Financing methods can change. Your target market may evolve.

In this webinar, we’ll show you how to perform a systematic operational review. If you own a small business and have been operating for at least two years, it may be time to review the history and set the direction for the future. This free webinar can be your start.

Click here to register for this event.

Beyond Google: Free Market Research at Your Library
Date: January 11, 2018 | 12:30 pm PDT – 2:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: workshops@sba.gov | (206) 553-7310
Organization: SBA Seattle District Office
Fee: Free

It’s vital to stay ahead of the competition during any stage in your business. Information is key to success, but it can be expensive or time-consuming if you don’t know where to look. Find out how to navigate various databases available through your local library to help you make informed decisions in your business planning, marketing, site location and market analysis. Also, gain valuable information and insights to better understand local economic conditions, customers, and more.

Click here to register for this event. If you’re in the Seattle area, you can attend the class in person at SBA Education & Training Center, 2401 4th Ave, Suite 450 Seattle, WA 98121 (map it).

Managing Cash Flow
Date: January 16, 2018 | 6:00 am PDT – 7:30 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Savannah Wilburn | savannah.wilburn@sba.gov | (803) 765-5377
Organization: SBA South Carolina District Office
Fee: Free

Money Smart for Small Business (MSSB) provides a practical introduction to topics related to starting and managing a business. Developed jointly by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), this instructor-led curriculum consists of 13 modules.

This module, “Managing Cash Flow” is the third module of the series. Subsequent modules will be presented every month. Participants do not need to complete previous modules to participate in future modules.

After completing this module, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the purpose of cash flow management in a small business
  • Make cash flow projections based on the cash cycle
  • Identify some ways to manage cash flow, including receivables and payables
  • Work more effectively with technical experts

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 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 December 15 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 December 15 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

CommUNITY Cafe
Date: December 19, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: 2150 Allston Way Suite 400 Berkeley, CA 94704 (map it)
Contact: Berkeley@Impacthubbayarea.com | (510) 649-7700
Organizations: Impact Hub Berkeley
Fee: Free

Impact Hub Berkeley is excited to announce CommUNITY Cafe, on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 9:30am.

Each CommUNITY Cafe session will allow one group to present about their business or project and receive feedback, suggestions, and connection with the wider community. The main purpose is to get everyone to know the projects that are going on in the area, gain new connections, and discover new opportunities.

All are welcome and we look forward to seeing you there. RSVP to reserve your spot and make sure there are enough doughnuts for everyone.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Literacy Workshop
Date: December 19, 2017 | 7:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Oakland Financial Center
7901 Oakport St. Suite 2800 Oakland, CA 94621 (map it)
Contact: info@worldsystembuilder.com | (408) 941-1838
Organization: World System Builder
Fee: Free

World System Builder is a community of financial professionals on a mission to deliver the best financial education and revolutionize the financial service industry through a reliable, build-able system.

Join the World System Builder team for a free financial literacy workshop every Tuesday. Topics rotate each week and include:

  • Increase cash flow, debt management, emergency funds
  • Build strong financial foundation, proper protection
  • Build wealth, asset accumulation, saving for your child’s education
  • Retirement planning
  • Long-term care, Medicare basic, wealth preservation

Click here to register for this event.

Starting a Small Business – Lodi
Date: December 21, 2017 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Lodi Chamber of Commerce
35 S. School St. Lodi, CA 95240 (map it)
Contact: sbdc@deltacollege.edu | (209) 954-5089
Organization: Northeastern California Small Business Development Center – San Joaquin Delta College
Fee: $15

This informative workshop is a great place to start planning and getting your business started on the right foot.

Topics for this one-hour session include:

  • Legal requirements and regulations
  • Sources of financing
  • Free business resources

At the end of the workshop, you can schedule your first individualized consulting session to work specifically on your business. That session and all subsequent consulting sessions are always confidential and without charge.

Click here to register for this event. This workshop is also offered in Stockton on December 27. Registration is $25. Click here for more information.

Southern California/San Diego

Work Smarter, Not Harder – WordPress for Small Business
Date: December 18, 2017 | 10:30 am PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Webster University
32 Discovery #250 Irvine, CA 92618 (map it)
Contact: workshops@score114.org | 714-550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

WordPress is the fastest growing and most popular website platform for all levels of business, but especially small business. The amazing selection of features, options and benefits that attracted Samsung, Ford, EBay, GM and CNN to WordPress are the same for Small Business Owners everywhere.

We will discuss the following topics during our fact filled WordPress presentation:

  • What is WordPress?
  • Why is WordPress Perfect for Small Businesses?
  • What is Responsive Design & Why Do You Need It?
  • What are Website Best Practices?
  • Why Convert Your Site to WordPress?
  • What is Google Analytics?—An Overview
  • How to “Do it Right”?—Case Studies
  • What are the Top 10 WordPress Plugins?

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with State Senator Joel Anderson
Date: December 20, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: El Cajon—Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Contact: samantha@csba.com
Organization: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

State senator Joel Anderson will be hosting his annual small business meeting in his district on December 20 in El Cajon. The meeting is comprised of 6 to 8 local small business owners from within the district from a variety of industries. The purpose of the meeting is give small business a voice and to work with the Member to make small businesses in California stronger.

If you live or have a business in the district and would like to attend this meeting please email Samantha@csba.com.

Costing, Pricing, & Break Even
Date: December 7, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Fullerton Public Library Main Branch
353 W. Commonwealth Ave. Fullerton, CA 92832 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

How do you price your product or service? Is it at a level that generates a profit or are you losing money and burning through cash?

All businesses face this challenge. Before establishing prices it is necessary to understand your specific marketing goals, the factors that influence pricing strategy, and all possible pricing strategies.

Pricing is only part of the issue. Are you aware of the costs of your product or service?  How much do your employees cost and how do they impact pricing? How do your costs behave as sales increase or decrease?  

This workshop also addresses the following questions:

  • What annual sales level is required to achieve a sustainable cash flow position?
  • What annual or monthly sales do I need to achieve my targeted cash flow?
  • Is it a good idea to invest in a larger or nicer facility?
  • Should I hire full time or part time employees?  

This workshop is designed for entrepreneurs who are preparing business plans or financial projections.  Information from this workshop is also helpful if you are introducing a new product or service and want a more thorough understanding of pricing strategy.  Knowledge of financial statements would be useful but not necessary.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Been There, Done That! Podcast # 54 Maximize Twitter Advertising ROI
Date: On Demand Download
Location: Online—Podcast
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Learn how to increase website clicks and conversions by tweeting during live events and by tapping into followers of thought leaders for a particular genre that resonates with your target audience.

In this episode, Mical Johnson of Omen Interactive, a veteran of the Navy and nearly two decades in digital marketing, shares best practices to maximize the return on your Twitter advertising investment including geo-targeting, use of Twitter Cards, automatic bids, and more.

SCORE is proud to partner with Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources and the speaker to offer this program. FREE to download and listen.

Click here to listen and download.

Simplifying Social Media for Solopreneurs – Live Webinar
Date: December 19, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Social media might be the last thing on the minds of time-strapped solopreneurs and freelancers. But with a well-planned strategy, even the self-employed can make the most of these powerful and free marketing tools.

Join us for this seminar where we will discuss:

  • Which social media platforms to use if you are crunched for time
  • How to get the most out of your social media activities
  • How to align your social goals to business goals

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital 101: Funding Options to Start and Grow Your Business
Date: December 27, 2017 | 11:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contacto: Xiomara Peña
Organización: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

Are you having trouble obtaining funding for your business? Join Small Business Majority for a free national webinar where we will help you navigate the funding landscape and connect you with resources to help you obtain the capital you need to start and grow your business.

For entrepreneurs, getting a loan could mean the difference between success and failure, whether it’s used for renovation, purchasing equipment or working capital. However, one of the biggest challenges facing small business owners and entrepreneurs has been and continues to be the inability to access sufficient credit and capital. If you’ve been turned down by a bank, don’t feel bad. You’re far from alone.

Topics of discussion include:

  • An overview of alternative lending options including microloans, SBA’s loan guarantee program, community banks and credit unions, CDFIs, reputable online lenders and crowdfunding
  • Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights
  • Key questions to consider when seeking funding
  • Tips to help determine the best option for your small business
  • Helpful tools and resources

A question and answer period will follow.

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 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

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

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 May 16 through May 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 May 16 through May 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

Empowering Women Business Owners: Inspiration – How To Get It And Keep It
Date: May 19, 2017 | 12:30 pm PST – 2:00 pm PST
Location: San Francisco SBA Entrepreneur Center
455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: SFOmail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6820
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

With all the advancements for women in business over the last several decades we have much to celebrate, but we also have a long road ahead. Inspiration is the key ingredient.

The empowerment of women in business is critical to the success of the overall economic fabric of our communities. This workshop will provide you with critical information you can put to use in your business endeavors immediately following the session.

Two of San Francisco’s most admired business women, Gwen Kaplan and Emily Wirowek, will share ‘real-world’ challenges and inspirations and ‘real-life’ solutions to propel your business forward as the leaders of this seminar. Now is the time to be inspired!

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business IT Best Practices
Date: May 24, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: East Bay SCORE @ Cal State Center East Bay
1000 Broadway Suite 109 Oakland, CA 94607 (map it)
Contact: info@eastbayscore.org | (510) 273-6611
Organization: SCORE East Bay
Fee: $35

Organizations that embrace and leverage technology have a significant competitive advantage.  A modern business integrates technology with business processes to deliver security, control data, improve productivity, and quickly resolve issues.

In this seminar, you’ll learn best practices for future-proofing your organization’s IT including:

  • Risk Mitigation
  • Data Governance
  • Productivity
  • Maintenance & Support

Click here to register for this event.

SCORE Content Marketing Workshop
Date: May 25, 2017 | 10:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: 801 R St. Suite 201 Fresno, CA 93721 (map it)
Contact: Chunny Boosa | chunny.boosa@scorevolunteer.org | (559) 492-9709
Organization: Central Valley SCORE
Fee: Free

You’ve heard of “Location, Location, Location” for real estate. For online marketing, it’s “Content, Content, Content!”

In this seminar, you’ll learn the building blocks of great content that engages customers:

  • The words: what to say and the way you say it (tone, date & time, frequency)
  • Audience engagement: attract, engage, and encourage sharing
  • Structure and tools: how to make content creation fast, easy, and effective
  • Content management made easy: time-saving tips, techniques, and apps to boost your content
  • Writing for different platforms: better email subject lines and repurposing content the right way
  • Visual aids: images, graphics, videos, and much more

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Transform Your Business
Date: May 16, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 8:30 pm PST
Location: 77806 Flora Rd. Suite A Palm Desert, CA 92211 (map it)
Contact: Kim Scanlan | kscanlan@cvwbc.org | (760) 345-9200
Organization: Coachella Valley Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

During this highly interactive and insightful workshop, you’ll discover how consistently attracting high-quality clients and relentless money management is the real keys to profitability. You’ll also learn that proper planning and energy utilization is the foundation of a balanced work and personal life. And, perhaps most important of you’ll find out and appreciate just what it is that you truly love about your transformed business.

Click here to register for this event.

Murrieta-Area Business Roundtable
Date: May 17, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Murrieta Innovation Center
26442 Beckman Ct. Murrieta, CA 92562 (map it)
Contact: Diana Cescolini | diana.cescolini@scorevolunteer.org | (951) 652-4390
Organization: Inland Empire SCORE
Fee: Free

Come join business leaders and guest speakers in a great networking opportunities at a business roundtable meeting. This is a wonderful way to meet other business owners and discuss important topics crucial to the success of your business. Don’t miss out on this great networking opportunity.

Click here to register for this event.

Snapchat for Business
Date: May 17, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 8:00 pm PST
Location: Inglewood Public Library—Gladys Waddingham Lecture Hall
101 W. Manchester Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90301 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cinseros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu | (310) 973-3177
Organization:  SBDC hosted by El Camino College
Fee: Free

Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social networks of the decade. Since its inception in 2011, it has grown to 8 billion daily video views (head to head with Facebook) and 100+ million daily active users.

This platform is a content and storytelling haven. With an engaged user base, Snapchat delivers a marketing channel for the fast pace world we live in. As its user base continues to skyrocket, there is ample opportunity for businesses to take advantage of the attention on Snapchat. Brands like Taco Bell, Burberry, Sephora, Amazon and even Presidential candidates like Bernie Sanders are using it and seeing impactful results.

This interactive Snapchat for business class will provide step by step guidance:

  • How to navigate Snapchat: basic functionality
  • How to create content and build your tribe
  • How to develop a content strategy
  • How to repurpose your Snapchat content for other platforms
  • How to build a cross promotion strategy and plan of action for your business

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Time Management: Maximize Profitability, Achieve More by Doing Less
Date: May 16, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Ian Rogers | rogersia@gvsu.edu | (616) 331-7262
Organization: Michigan Small Business Development Center
Fee: Free

The demands that take you away from focusing on your most important work cost you time, money and stress. Some research has found that with the many interruptions in our schedule on a daily basis, we lose 28% productivity! That equates to almost one full day a week!

The models discussed in this webinar are designed to assist busy professionals with organization, prioritization, and narrowing their focus to achieve more and take back their time allowing more time with themselves, family and friends.

Click here to register for this event.

How and Why You Should Track Your Cash Flow Weekly
Date: May 18, 2017| 10:00 am PST – 11:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: webinars@score.org
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Managing your cash flow can be a stressful endeavor for small business owners. But you don’t need an accounting degree to track this key metric.

In this webinar, you will learn the fundamentals of cash flow management, including how to:

  • Develop a cash flow budget on your own
  • Use the budget to make critical business decisions
  • Forecast the future of your business with more certainty

Click here to register for this event.

Can Your Business Keep Up with Today’s Customer?
Date: May 30, 2017 | 10:00 am PST – 11:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: webinars@score.org
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

As social and mobile technologies change, businesses and customers interact differently. Customers are more sophisticated and knowledgeable than ever, but many small businesses don’t know how to adapt and keep up.

Join Laurie McCabe, six-time Small Business Influencer Award winner and Cofounder at SMB Group for this seminar where you will to learn:

  • Customer expectations: how and why they’re changing
  • Implications and challenges for small businesses
  • Tactics for sales, marketing, and service: keep pace with your 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. Last year, we made $60M in loans to help more than 2,200 small business owners invest in their businesses.  Opportunity Fund invests in small business owners who do not have access to traditional financing. As a founding member and signatory to the Borrower’s Bill of Rights, we believe in the important role small businesses play in our community and the economy, and we aim to help owners financially succeed.

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

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from April 3 through April 17.

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 April 3 through April 17.

Northern California/Sacramento

Food Business Entrepreneur Training Academy
Date: April 3, 2017 | 6:30 pm PST – 8:30 pm PST
Location: Dublin Library—Community Room
200 Civic Plaza Dublin, CA 94568 (map it)
Contact: (510) 208-0410
Organization: Alameda County SBDC
Fee: Free

The Alameda County SBDC and the Alameda County Community Development Agency offer a free ten-part seminar on “Running Your Own Food Business” for participants interested in launching and growing food businesses in Alameda County.

In this series, you will learn the basics to start and grow your own food business. Do you have a great idea and a burning desire to start a food product or restaurant/cafe business, but don’t know how? This series will help turn your idea into reality.

Starting with Session 1 – Defining Your Concept on April 3, we will discuss how to begin to take an idea for a new food company, and begin to explore how you can expand an idea into a business plan. We will also discuss other important factors in your business like:

  • Product – What (distribution channel options)
  • Target market – Who
  • Unique Selling Proposition (USP) – Why
  • Defining Success – Bottom line, triple bottom line, environmental and community impact
  • People
  • Shareholders/Stakeholders

Click here to register for this event.

SimpleSTEPS for Starting Your Business
Date: April 13, 2017 | 6:30 pm PST – 9:0 pm PST
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (map it)
Contact: Edward Fordyce | (831) 621-3735 | efordyce@santacruzscore.org
Organization: Santa Cruz County SCORE
Fee: $35

This SCORE workshop will give attendees an appreciation of what it takes to successfully start and grow a small business.  Drawn from the actual experiences of seasoned entrepreneurs and business leaders, this workshop is designed to help new and early-stage businesses by presenting a broad overview of the issues that may impact their success or failure, such as:

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

To register for this event, click here.

The Veterans Business Outreach Center Presents: Business Basics Seminar
Date: April 13, 2017 | 2:00 pm PST – 5:00 pm PST
Location: Veterans Business Outreach Center
4608 Duckhorn Dr Sacramento, CA, 95834 (map it)
Contact: Catrina Avila | admin@vbocix.org | (916) 527-8400
Organization: Veteran Business Outreach Program
Fee: Free for veterans and military | $49 for non-VBOC clients

This training is designed for individuals interested in starting a business or currently in business for two or less years. Course includes business evaluation, market research, licensing and permit requirements, start-up cost, financing sources, insurance, cash flow analysis, legal structure, self-employment analysis, cash management, customer profile, protecting your business idea, and the reality of operating a business.

Click here to register for this event (non-VBOC members).

Southern California/San Diego

Keeping the Books: Business Accounting Basics
Date: April 4, 2017 | 12:00 pm PST – 2:00 pm PST
Location: LA Law Library
301 W. 1st St Los Angeles, CA 90012 (map it)
Contact: 213-785-2516
Organization: LA Law Library
Fee: Free

Every business decision must be made with an eye toward the bottom line. Learn to accurately assess your business’ financial outlook and plan for the future by understanding the basics of business accounting and finance.

This class covers:

  • How to apply the fundamentals of financial modeling to set realistic, achievable goals
  • How to apply basic accounting concepts to ensure an accurate financial snapshot of your business
  • How to use key financial statements like income, balance sheet, and cash flow

Click here to register for this event.

QuickBooks Boot Camp
Date: April 7, 2017 | 9:30 am PST – 4:00 pm PST
Location: 26455 Rockwell Canyon Rd Santa Clarita, CA 91355 (map it)
Contact: Lora Nelson | lora.nelson@canyons.edu | (661) 362-5900
Organization: SBDC hosted by College of the Canyons
Fee: $139

In this day long, fast-paced, and all inclusive workshop, participants will get a running start with QuickBooks 2016. You’ll learn many valuable skills, such as:

  • How to set up their company file from scratch
  • How to create a quality chart of accounts
  • How to create new vendors, customer, items, and accounts
  • How to pay bills, invoice customers, receive payments, make deposits and reconcile bank accounts

An introduction to the report center will be covered, including how to create a Profit & Loss Statement and a Balance Sheet.

This course is Ideal for business owners, office managers, and bookkeepers who are brand new to QuickBooks, as well as, existing users who would like some formal education in one of these QuickBooks features. Training held in a computer lab with limited seating. Please note that there will be a half an hour break lunch break. Lunch is not provided.

Click here to register for this event.

Retirement Planning For Small Business Owners
Date: April 12, 2017 | 5:30 pm PST – 8:30 pm PST
Location: La Habra Community Center—El Camino Room
101 W La Habra Blvd La Habra, CA 90631 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

Small businesses have generally not been very successful in terms of providing opportunities for their employees to save for retirement. Only 44% of small businesses offer retirement plans. Lots of business owners are so busy working in their businesses they haven’t even taken time to plan for their own retirement, let alone keep up with the constant tax law changes which affect retirement planning in general.

This workshop will help you understand which retirement plans you should use for the best results.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Profitable Growth Through Smarter Business Choices
Date: April 5, 2017 | 11:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: njsbdcnb@business.rutgers.edu | (848) 445-8790 or (848) 445-8796
Organization: NJSBDC at Rutgers-New Brunswick
Fee: Free

This free webinar from SBDC-Rutgers New Brunswick will teach you best practices for expense reduction and optimum cash flow management through better business decision making. You’ll learn how to lead your staff to key success outcomes like:

  • Make your business leaner and hyper efficient while improving quality of service
  • Negotiate bigger discounts and better terms with suppliers
  • Improve your cash flow
  • Help your business support staff focus on other more critical revenue generating business functions.

Click here to register for this event.

Your Plan for Your Business Plan
Date: April 5, 2017| 4:00 pm PST -5:00 pm PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Barry Black | midflorida@scorevolunteer.org | (352) 399-0050
Organization: Mid-Florida SCORE
Fee: Free

Nothing is more crucial to business success than planning. Learn how you can best develop your plan for your business.  A small business is like a gemstone – all the facets have to work together to make it brilliant.

Click here to register for this event.

Three Easy Steps to Being A Better Boss
Date: April 6, 2017 | 10:30 am PST – 11:30 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Larry Batten | larry.batten@sba.gov | (304) 623-7447
Organization: SCORE
Fee: Free

Times are changing. Retaining employees has become more difficult, customers have become more selective, and change seems to have become the only constant in business. Developing our leadership skills can dramatically improve our odds at not just managing business and its uncertainties, but feeling empowered around it all. Come learn three effective, yet easy to learn strategies to becoming a better boss.

Click here to register for this event.

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

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


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

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

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free and/or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in March.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting the free and/or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in March.

Northern California/Sacramento

Protect Your Business – Understand Employment Law
Date: March 9, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 9:00 pm PST
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th Avenue Santa Cruz, CA 95062  (map it)
Contact: John Yost | score0688@santacruzscore.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

Are you considering hiring employees? Don’t let yourself get caught on the wrong side of legal issues regarding employment. Join SCORE and employment Law Attorney Carmela Woll to learn about the following important legal issues in employment:

  • Hiring
  • Terminating
  • Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Money Matters: Cash Flow
Date: March 16, 2017 | 1:30 pm PST – 3:30 pm PST
Location: 455 Market Street 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: Angelique Gosse | angelique.gosse@sfgov.org | (415) 937-7232
Organization: San Francisco SBDC
Fee: Free

The second class of this three part training provides an in-depth coverage of business finances. Using adult learning techniques with the most modern tools the course will explain the four parts of a Cash Flow Statement and how to use it to run your business. The outcome of this training will allow the participants to make better informed business decision based on clear understanding of money matters and be able to increase profitability.

To register for this event, click here.

Small Business Tax and Record Keeping Workshop
Date: March 30, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: 4990 Stockton Blvd Sacramento, CA 95820 (map it)
Contact: DHA-Stockton-Blvd-BIC@saccounty.net |(916) 875-3280

Organization: Sacramento County DHA Business Information Center
Fee: Free

Join Brenda Duran EA, BS Principal Tax Advisor BD Tax & Finance Group, Inc. for this free workshop on how to improve your tax and record keeping strategies.

Topics covered will include:

  • Setting up and running your business the right way
  • Federal taxes and your new business
  • Deductions and business related expenses
  • Filing and paying your taxes on time to avoid penalties
  • Essentials of running your home based business
  • Federal Unemployment Taxes

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Free Small Business Seminar
Date: March 9, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 1:00 pm PST
Location: Centro Maravilla Service Center
4716 East Cesar E Chavez Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90022 (map it)
Contact: Xiomara Peña | (818) 470-0377
Organization: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

The Small Business Development Center in East LA, Small Business Majority, and the Small Business Finance CDC invite you to participate in this one-of-a-kind event. Join several business experts and speakers on topics that can help you grow and expand your business, including Opportunity Fund loan consultant Osbaldo Velazquez.

This FREE resource fair and event will include information about procurement opportunities, access to capital, social media and marketing, human resources and much more!

Multiple workshops will be offered during various time frames so that you can join the topics most important to your small business! Complimentary breakfast & lunch will be provided.

Click here to register for this event.

Guided Business Plan
Date: March 13, 2017 | 10:00 am PST – 2:00 pm PST
Location: 3255 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 1501, Los Angeles, CA 90010 (map it)
Contact: (213) 674-2696
Organization: SBDC Pacific Coast Regional
Fee: $75

Is your banker, investor, or partner requesting your business plan? Attend the GUIDED Business Plan™ workshop to write a plan that engages your reader.

During the 4-hour session, you will write the first draft of the Executive Summary of your business plan. We prompt you to write the first words that come to mind. We remove the focus of trying to craft the perfect sentence for your business plan via brainstorming.

Our facilitators are able to quickly analyze a range of business models to provide constructive advice. Create your business plan the easy, simple and GUIDED way.

Click here to register for this event.

Credit Recovery
Date: March 21, 2017 | 1:00 pm PST – 3:00 pm PST
Location: 2075 Las Palmas Drive, Carlsbad CA 92011 (map it)
Contact: centerinfo@miracosta.edu | (760) 795-8740
Organization: North San Diego SBDC
Fee: Free

Join North San Diego SBDC for this workshop especially intended for anyone who has questions about their credit and credit reports.

Here’s how this seminar can help you:

  • Reading and interpreting your credit report
  • Defining and improving your credit scores
  • Identifying and correcting errors in your credit information.
  • Repairing your credit
  • Understanding the use of credit in the loan process
  • Taking next steps after being denied credit

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Two-Page Business Plan
Date: March 8, 2017 | 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Stephen Konkle | stephen.konkle@sba.gov | (312) 886-4208
Organization: SBA Illinois District Office
Fee: Free

Writing a business plan might seem intimidating, but it’s an essential tool for any entrepreneur. Attend this webinar to learn how to craft and hone your two-page business plan. We’ll share best practices and answer your questions. Join SBA Economic Development Specialist Stephen Konkle for this webinar.

Click here to register for this event.

How Business Owners Can Get and Keep Strong Personal Credit Scores
Date: March 8, 2017| 8:00 am PST – 9:00 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Ian Rogers | rogersia@gvsu.edu | (616) 331-7262
Organization: Michigan SBDC
Fee: Free

When you’re a business owner, strong personal credit scores can be an asset by helping you qualify for a business credit card, an SBA loan, or other types of funding that take the owner’s personal credit into account. But if you’re not careful, your business can hurt your credit scores.

Join Nav Head of Market Education Gerri Detweiler for this webinar, where you’ll learn:

  • The big credit score mistake many small business owners make
  • The ways to protect your credit from your business
  • The fastest ways to boost your personal credit scores
  • And much more!

Click here to register for this event.

Basically Business: Social Media Know-How
Date: March 9, 2017 | 12:00 pm PST – 12:30 pm PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | 304-347-5220
Organization: SBA
Fee: Free

This basic webinar helps you choose social media platforms, and get the most out of them while securing your privacy, connecting with peers, and showcasing your expertise. You do it anyway, so let us help you do it right!

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

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

Why You Should Do a Cash Flow Analysis

Knowing your business’ cash flow is the most important thing about running a small business. We asked one of our Business Development Officers, Shanna McClearn, why exactly it is important, common mistakes small business owners make, how you can better manage your cash flow, and how Opportunity Fund can help you.

Here at Opportunity Fund, our goal is to help small business owners like you make better financial decisions and get the right loans to help your business thrive. One of the most important things you can do for your business is to do a cash flow analysis on your finances.

To help you understand why cash flow analysis is important and how you can better keep track of your money, we asked one of our Business Development Officers, Shanna McClearn, what advice she has for you.

Why Is Cash Flow Analysis So Important?

Cash flow analysis simply means looking at your business’ influx and outflux of money. By having a detailed analysis of all your financial transactions, you will know exactly how much money should be in the bank.

If you don’t keep track of your cash flow, you run the risk of being taken advantage of. Employees could steal supplies and you would not know. Prices of merchandise could rise without your knowledge and this would really strain your budget. For example, one client we helped by creating her first ever cash flow analysis was paying her employees about 20% more than industry average. While this is a generous action it wasn’t sustainable. She did not realize this wage discrepancy was hurting her cash flow and ability to successfully finance her small business.

Common Mistakes Small Business Owners Make

When small business owners don’t feel like they have the expertise to manage their finances they let their accountant do everything. This blind trust could lead to problems of fraud or theft. If your small business financials are handled by an accountant, double-check everything they do. You don’t have to be a tax guru to see if something doesn’t look right.

When small business owners don’t keep physical copies and records. You should keep copies of everything in a safe place for future reference and insurance. If you don’t keep copies of your tax returns, you could be unaware of money you owe. This is why the IRS may place a lien on your business that would severely damage your chances of getting a loan.

When small business owners try to tackle payroll by themselves. Payroll is going to be any business’ biggest expense. Payroll also carries a high potential for tax errors. Investing in someone to manage payroll will be a worthwhile cost.

When small business owners extend credit to customers. If you extend credit to your customers, you run the risk of them not paying what they owe. Additionally, providing a service or a product before payment hurts your cash flow because you are relying on that payment to run your business. The exception is reliable, expected industry delays. For example, Walgreens may take up to 90 days to pay.

When small business owners assume automatic transformation of inventory to cash. When you buy a new machine or order new merchandise, it does not instantly turn into profit. A lot of small business owners mistakenly overestimate how soon products will sell or how soon they will see an increase in sales.

When small business owners, especially new immigrants, misreport on their taxes. Because you don’t want to pay a lot in taxes, you may be tempted to underreport profits or overreport losses. This is a bad idea because it will hurt your chances of getting outside financing and could get you in trouble with the IRS. It is better to work with a tax specialist to minimize your tax liability.

5 Tips To Manage Your Business’ Cash Flow Better

    1. Start with creating a profit and loss statement. Just check your business’ bank statement. In a spreadsheet or with your accountant, document every financial transaction including rent, utilities, payroll, supplies, loan/credit interest, insurance, and sales. Keep copies of all these bills.
    2. Keep all your paperwork organized, such as any invoices, tax returns, receipts, etc. The first thing lenders ask for is documentation. Opportunity Fund often finds that many small business owners don’t know their monthly sales average and would have to go look it up.
    3. Always save some of your profits. Don’t reinvest it all, because you need emergency funds. We recommend reserves that can support all your expenses for at least six months. You might need more cushion if your business industry is seasonally dependent such as taxes, ice cream, tourism, gyms, jewelry, etc.
    4. On an annual or semi-annual basis, review who you’re paying and what, like vendors and employees. Shop around for the best deal – just like you would for any personal purchase.
    5. Once you’ve started looking at your cash flow, keep track of it on a monthly basis for any changes.

Opportunity Fund’s Mission Driven Lending Helps You

Traditional banks may provide the lowest interest rates, but banks are also the hardest to qualify for. Unlike banks, Opportunity Fund looks at the person behind the numbers. Our goal is your success, so we want to make sure you have the best chance to get an easy-to-get, affordable loan.

Banks only look at official income reported to the government, such as on your W-2. Opportunity Fund includes any additional income you have in our analysis. We makes sure your sales cover all business and personal expenses with a cushion to weather slow times.

If you have an outstanding loan and are looking to refinance it, we use your current minimum payment. Traditional banks will calculate a new minimum payment based on the maximum you can pull out. If your credit card has a limit of $10,000, the bank will assume you maxed it out. This can really limit your cash flow.

Banks will want annual tax statements after they grant you a loan to review if you are at risk of defaulting on the loan. If your business shows a decline, they may “invite” you to pay it all off immediately and find financing elsewhere. Opportunity Fund doesn’t do this. Once we approve your business for a loan, we trust you.

Opportunity Fund has proven that with less documentation and more real conversations, we can still give loans and have good repayment from our clients. We are helping the whole alternative lending industry understand that helping small business owners like you by offering responsible loan options works even if you are classified as high-risk by traditional banks.

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


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

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

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in August.

Each month, we’re sharing and promoting the free or affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your monthly calendar for in-person events in Northern and Southern California and virtual events. Here are the best upcoming events in August.

Northern California/Bay Area

Financing your Small Business Workshop

Date: August 3, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT

Location: Veterans Business Outreach Center
4608 Duckhorn Drive Sacramento, CA 95834 (map it)

Contact: (916) 527-8400

Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Center

Fee: Free

This class reviews potential sources of capital to start, operate, and expand a small business. You will learn how to prepare for applying for a small business loan plus sources with expert help to guide you through the process. The class will also include insight into the most important conditions to a lender’s decision to approve or decline a loan request. The seminar will also cover how banks and other lenders operate with the impact of the current recession on their lending programs and how it all affects your ability to obtaining financing.

Click here for more information about this event.

Legal Issues for Small Businesses

Date: August 11, 2016 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT

Location: 234 E. Gish Road, Suite 100 San Jose, CA 95112  (map it)

Contact: (408) 453-6237 | info@svscore.org

Organization: Silicon Valley SCORE

Fee: $45 – Veterans can access a FREE promo code for the class here

This small business legal seminar is designed for startups as well as those already in business. When your business changes and grows, you must be prepared to respond to those changes. This is a unique seminar for business owner concerned about tricky legal issues when starting and managing a business. Key topics include how to choose of the type of legal business entity, protecting your identity, business contracts and leases, and many more legal issues that small businesses encounter every day.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Analysis for Small Businesses

Date: August 18, 2016 | 1:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT

Location: 455 Market St 6th Floor San Francisco, CA 94105  (map it)

Contact: Angel Cardoz (415) 937-7232 or angel.cardoz@sfgov.org

Organization: San Francisco SBDC

Fee: Free

This workshop will cover different financial analysis methods. You will learn how to analyze your profit and loss report and how budgeting and cash flow forecasting can be used to track and project future monthly cash needs. Small business owners will learn how to use these reports to identify areas where they can increase their profits and business performance plus improve their cash flow management skills.

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California

Develop a Winning Business Plan

Date: August 9, 2016 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:45 pm PDT

Location: Newport Beach Public Library Friends Room
1000 Avocado Avenue Newport Beach, CA 92660 (map it)

Contact: workshops@score114.org

Organization: Orange County SCORE

Fee: Free

A Business Plan is an important document for raising capital, helping you to monitor progress, and achieving your goals. When done correctly, it is a “living” document and tool that will help you manage the business beyond the start-up phase. We will help you prepare a realistic plan that will document your vision, goals, and strategy. No business should be started or maintained without a business plan.  You will learn the three financial statements and how they relate to risk and performance, taking the mystery out of forecasting. Pre-registration is recommended.

Click here to register for this event.

Why Do Small Businesses Need an Accountant?

Date: August 17, 2016 | 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm PDT

Location: Rancho Santiago Community College District
2323 N. Broadway, Room 107 Santa Ana, CA 92706 (map it)

Contact: David Calderon (714) 564-5200 | calderon_david@rsccd.edu

Organization: Orange County SBDC

Fee: Free

This interactive workshop led by CPA professionals from Mendoza & McDuffie, LLP will cover the basics of what small business owners need to know about accounting for their business. Get answers on why you need an accountant/CPA for the different phases of your business, which areas of expertise you need at each phase of your business, how to select an accountant/CPA, and more.

Click here to register for this event.

Loans for Your Small Business

Date: August 23, 2016 | 9:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: Menifee Chamber of Commerce – Upstairs Conference Room
29737 New Hub Drive Menifee, CA 92586 (map it)

Contact: Mary Takavorian (909) 983-0751 | Mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com

Organization: Santa Ana District SBDC

Fee: Free

Business owners have many options for securing capital for the business needs. Opportunity Fund Director of Microlending Daniel Fernandez and Carla Ulloa, CDC Small Business Finance, shed light on how business lending is changing and how not all lenders are playing by the rules. The seminar will provide information on Micro Loans under $50,000, how to identify the right type of loan for your type of business, and lending practices to be aware of so that you can be sure to avoid them. ADDED BONUS: If you are interested in getting pre-screened for a micro-loan, please bring supporting documentation to the event. You can access a list of the documents here.

To get more information about this event or to register, click here.

Virtual

5 Strategies to Boost Your Business Networking Skills

Date: August 10, 2016 | 10:30 am PDT – 11:15 am PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: Larry Batten (304) 623-7447 | larry.batten@sba.gov

Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE Association

Fee: Free

Business networking is more than bumping into a potential customer.  This webinar will introduce you to 5 fundamental strategies that will kick start your ability to target and grow your client base.  Learn tips on building business relations, maximizing networking events, effective communications skills, and using social media.

Click here to register for this event.

Getting a Bank Loan: Fact v. Fiction

Date: August 19, 2016 | 8:30 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: Kimberly Donahue (304) 347-5220 | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov

Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration and SCORE Association

Fee: Free

What are the keys to walking into a bank and walking out with a business loan? SBA’s Leo Lopez, a former loan officer, breaks through the myths and tells you how to make the lender say “Yes” in this online seminar.

Click here to register for this event.

The Business Plan and Strategic Planning Webinar

Date: August 25, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 1:30 pm PDT

Location: Online – Webinar

Contact: (916) 527-8400 | admin@vbocix.org

Organization:  Veterans Business Outreach Center

Fee: Free

This online seminar can help small business owners understand how to write a viable business plan. The workshop discusses key components of developing and usage of a business plan. Topic matter includes executive summary, marketing strategy, financial strategy, competitive comparison, financial management, legal structure, tools to forecast business needs, cash management, and much more.

Click here to register for this event.

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

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


Opportunity Fund is California’s largest and fastest-growing nonprofit lender to small businesses. Last year, we made $37M in loans to help more than 1,800 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

Don’t let these common mistakes trip up your small business. Our partner Nav shares a guest post from business accounting expert Chris Baskerville on how to avoid common pitfalls in small business management.

Sometimes the best lessons are learned by making mistakes, but you can skip the growing pains and avoid mistakes by reading this article about the common pitfalls in small business management. Our content partner Nav.com features a guest post by Chris Baskerville from his response to a question on Quora – What are the most common mistakes made by small to medium business owners?

Follow Chris on twitter @ChrisBaskervil

Speaking from my experience as a Chartered Accountant with over 10+ years experience in business reconstruction, insolvency, bankruptcy and liquidation, I can say that there are some common recurring mistakes made by Small to Medium Enterprises (SME).

The most common mistakes I see are:

1. Undercapitalization – this is like building a Boeing 747 airplane and leaving the tail off. You may not leave the ground on take off, or you may crash and burn shortly after achieving flight. I see too many businesses begin with very little capital and fall heavily reliant on debt with no alternate sources of equity. Without sufficient capital behind your business, you will fail.

2. Not reinvesting early year profits to achieve stabilization –another observation I have seen over many years is that all too soon, after a business starts to gain momentum, business owners want to upgrade their personal lifestyles (bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger holidays etc.) and not take those profits and reinvest them in the business to secure its long-term performance. In effect, business owners strip away the businesses’ precious resources that could be used for vital operations, or expansion.

3. Expanding too soon – this concept took me a while to understand as to why expanding a business could be a bad idea. I mean, is this not what the nature of business ought to be? What I have found is that expanding your business before it has the key resources (cash, access to equity, access to credit) or key structure in place (I.e., key staff or management, well entrenched business systems, secured supply lines in place) can lead to disaster. Don’t underestimate organic growth. It may appear slow at first, but it is solid growth.

4. Chasing turnover at the expense of profits – I have seen this many times in industries that are highly competitive (i.e., construction). Businesses that chase turnover “just to keep the boys employed” can lead to business failure, unless you are properly capitalized to weather the shortfall in work until more profitable contacts emerge. Take for instance employee costs; what some SMEs fail to realize is that employing staff incurs many costs that are not obvious (accrued annual leave, accrued long services leave, leave loading (extra money when you take holidays), work place injury insurance, payroll tax, to name a few). Such costs can be overlooked when pricing a job.

5. Failure to seek (and listen to) proper advice – many SMEs subscribe to the lyrics in Frank Sinatra’s song (My Way) of “…I did it my way”. This concept has merit and is an obvious driver of commerce in an economy, but not seeking advice from someone with a different perspective, or someone that is very knowledgeable in business transactions (accountants, lawyers, financial planners, strategy experts) can be deadly. Good business owners that I see, always seek counsel from someone with a bigger perspective and surround themselves with the right people and advisers.

6. Failure to deal with people – if people don’t like you, they won’t do business with you. Regardless of your personality type, it is a must to learn basic people skills. Without it, you can be “Hung by the Tongue”. This goes the same for dealing with your staff (who are your biggest asset) as they perform the tasks that business owners don’t want to do, or shouldn’t do on the quest to grow your business.

7. Not setting up the structure of the business correctly from inception – this is an extension of not “beginning with the end in mind” [Stephen Covey author of “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”] and of failing to seek proper advice. A good accountant or lawyer will be able to advise you of the best way to structure your business to achieve your business goals. It may initially cost a few thousand to get this right, but it is one of the best insurance policies you will take. Understanding the pros and cons of being a sole trader, company, trading trust, limited liability partnership is vital to know at the beginning of a business’ life. Good accountants and lawyers know this and will guide you here.

8. Failing to adapt to change – I have seen many multi-generational companies (i.e., companies that were handed down from father to son, or grandfather to son to grandson), with the newer generation failing to adapt to the changes in their industry. Instead, they adopted the thinking of the previous generation which is: “that is how we always did things”. Now with the rise of the digital age, businesses that fail to embrace technology or to see how to exploit it in their business are falling behind.

9. Taking on to too much – some major corporate failures have occurred as a result of taking on too much work. This is liken to promising too much and delivering too little. It may seem weird that taking on more work than you can handle can be a bad thing, but this can get you into trouble. You may have a short term win when you eventually complete the work, but at the expense of long term repeat, referral work. Not to mention the impact on staff working under high stress demand to complete work. I have seen some restructuring occur where we had to strip the business back to its core offering in order to survive, which did mean reducing the amount of work taken on.

10. Reliance on one key customer – this can be deadly, especially if that one key client is the government. This is because a change of government or government policy can mean the end of your business. Outside of government, if your one key customer fails in their business dealings, it is almost inevitably mean that you too will fail. Not to mention that business analysts see reliance on one key customer as ‘high risk’.

11. Greed – you could just about paint a brush across many business failures as being attributable to greed. Greed could be encompassed in a number of forms; treating the business as a personal piggy bank; fraud by officers; avoiding a low-flying life; or simply, shooting for a project, job or file that is well outside the capability and available resources of the business. Over extension due to greed places undue stress on the business assets which may lead to ultimate failure.

12. Loggerheads at management – a lot of business failure can be put down to a break down of relationships between the key managers of an organisation. This can include disputes between family members, disputes between partners, disputes between the relevant spouses of the directors of a business, the list goes on. Good businesses have agreements between the directors and shareholders (particularly in the SME space) as to how the relationship should work. I have always advised that agreements are not there for the good times, they are there for the bad times.

13. Failure to prepare a business plan – again this comes back to the teachings of Stephen Covey in not “beginning with the end in mind”. A business plan prepared prior to starting up a business makes you think about all the areas of the business and plan for those outcomes. Planning and mapping out the process will provide clarity and a sense of urgency to achieve your business goals. We don’t plan to fail, but we do fail to plan. There is a direct nexus and correlation between businesses that fail and the lack of business planning.

14. Failure to manage cash flow – cash flow is vital for all business operations. I liken cash to blood within our bodies. When you run out of blood, you die. It is all very good to appear profitable in your accounts, but it is not good if those profits don’t convert to cash in your bank account.

15. Inexperienced business people operating a business – I have often thought that putting potential directors of a company through a training and assessment system before entering into business would be a good idea. There is a ‘Grand Canyon sized gap’ between being an employee, mastering your trade craft and becoming a business owner. Those skills are mutually exclusive. You could almost be better off putting an experienced business person in charge of a plumbing business, rather than having an experienced plumber in charge of that same business.

Small Business Survival Rates

The odds are often against small business owners, especially at the beginning – but with these tips, you can avoid becoming a statistic (Photo courtesy of Small Business Planned)

Small Business Failure Rate: 9 out of 10?

Poor management is the number one reason for most SME failure. The economy has certainly added its contribution to failed businesses. Sadly, with most SMEs, the fate of the business is directly tied to the fate of the business owners’ family’s wealth, meaning that a collapse of the business almost inevitably leads to a loss of a family’s hard earned wealth. This also has knock on effects on domestic relationships.

Another sad observation is the SMEs can be reluctant to seek proper advice early when the signs of failure rear their ugly head, meaning that by the time advice is sought, it is almost inevitably too late. I call this “ostrich syndrome” (bury the head in the sand, hoping the problem will go away).

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. Last year, we made $37M in loans to help more than 1,800 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 and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

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