Finding a good team of employees can be hard and take a long time, but it hurts your business more if you hire the wrong person. The true cost of a bad hire goes beyond wasted wages. Read how much hiring the wrong person really costs.

Finding a good team of employees can be hard and take a long time, but it hurts your business more if you hire the wrong person. The true cost of a bad hire goes beyond wasted wages. Read how much hiring the wrong person really costs.

 

What makes a hire the wrong decision?

Whether you want to hire a seasonal worker or add a permanent team member to your small business, there are many ways that a candidate could be a wrong fit for your company and team. If this person can’t work well with your team, doesn’t do their job well, or isn’t trustworthy, you’ll waste money from wages, training, lost productivity, and potentially even more.

Team Morale and Productivity Suffers

One of the most common effects of a bad hire is what happens to your team. If there is tension between coworkers because someone isn’t pulling their weight or not meshing well with the team dynamic, everyone in a small business can feel it. Employees who aren’t happy at work are less productive, make more mistakes, and may quit.

Consider incorporating a casual meeting other employees – such as a team lunch or a chat during a slow period – into your hiring process. Ask your employees if they think the candidate would work well with everyone. They will be working even more closely with this person than you will.

All these things reduce your business’ profitability, and even more costly mistakes or stealing can hurt your business even more.

You Could Lose Customers and Cash

If you’re in a rush to find someone to fill an open position, you might be tempted to skip over calling references and validating qualifications. Just because someone sounds amazing on their resume and can sweet talk through an interview doesn’t mean they are the perfect candidate. Do your due diligence to make sure their education, skills, certifications, references, background check, and job history are accurate.

Hiring someone who isn’t truly qualified to do their job can make mistakes that could lose you customers, your business’ reputation, or even cause physical damage to goods or equipment. Nobody wants to suspect their employees of stealing money or products, but someone without positive references or lied on their resume is not trustworthy.

How can you pick the right person?

We’ve written this handy checklist of a few key things to consider when hiring to in order to help you pick the right candidate. Taking the time to go through applications thoroughly will benefit your business and potentially save you money.

 

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

As a busy entrepreneur, you may not have time to read through long business books or attend classes. However, you can find short periods of time when you could listen to an educational podcast recorded for small business owners. This is your toolbox for five free podcasts.

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

As a busy entrepreneur, you may not have time to read through long business books or attend classes. However, you can find short periods of time when you could listen to an educational podcast recorded for small business owners. This is your toolbox for five free podcasts.

 

Business of Fashion

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Why should you care about a fashion podcast if you aren’t in the fashion industry? Not only does BoF’s podcast tackle business-related topics that can be applied to many small businesses, but they also bring in other industry leaders and entrepreneurs. These 20 minute podcasts are great for listening to while taking a brisk walk, eating your lunch, or on your commute.

“The Business of Fashion has gained a global following as an essential daily resource for fashion creatives, executives and entrepreneurs in over 200 countries. It is frequently described as ‘indispensable,’ ‘required reading’ and ‘an addiction.’”

Available on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, and on Business of Fashion’s website.

Masters of Scale

How much it costs: Free

What it does: This entertaining, half-hour podcast series aims to help you scale your small business. Do you want your business to stay small and stagnate, or do you want it to grow in profits and success? This podcast features interviews with founders who successfully grew their business’ and their stories that will inspire you.

“How do companies grow from zero to a gazillion? Legendary Silicon Valley investor / entrepreneur Reid Hoffman tests his theories with famous founders. Guests include Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg & Sheryl Sandberg, Netflix’s Reed Hastings, Google’s Eric Schmidt, Spanx’s Sara Blakely. With original music and hilariously honest stories, the show sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard. Masters of Scale is a WaitWhat original series in association with Stitcher.”

Available on iTunes, Tunein, Stitcher, and on Masters of Scale’s website.

Online Marketing Made Easy

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Amy Porterfield offers lunch break-sized podcast episodes for small business owners and entrepreneurs to learn digital marketing without spending a lot of their hard-earned money on classes. If marketing your business is not your strongest talent, this podcast can help you improve!

Amy Porterfield is a marketing strategist helping entrepreneurs build their business online.

Available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Amy Porterfield’s website.

Entre Leadership

How much it costs: Free

What it does: This highly rated podcast hosted by Dave Ramsey – a national best-selling author and radio host – and his team aims to help you be a better leader and entrepreneur. Each topic lasts less than an hour and features valuable interviews with hugely successful business people. “Of leaders, by leaders, for leaders.”

Hosted by Ken Coleman, the EntreLeadership Podcast features lively discussions and tips on leadership and business by some of the top minds in the business, like Mark Cuban, Seth Godin, Jim Collins and Simon Sinek.

Available on iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, and Entre Leadership’s website.

Business Story of the Day

How much it costs: Free

What it does: This podcast is for the more experienced entrepreneurs who don’t necessarily want to spend their precious free time relearning the basics of business but are interested in keeping up with world events and new developments in the business world.

“NPR’s top stories about business, money, Wall Street, companies, and the economy that you can’t miss. Subscribe to the Business Story of the Day RSS feed.”

Available on TuneIn, Stitcher, and NPR’s website.

 

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

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


Opportunity Fund is 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 February 15 through 28.

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 February 15 through 28.

Northern California/Sacramento

How Women Can Save Money on Taxes and Prepare for Financial Freedom
Date: February 20, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:30 pm PDT
Location: Shasta County Office of Education
1644 Magnolia Ave. Redding, CA, 96001 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Join JEDI for this free workshop led by Linda Lingo, Financial Coach & CPA. Discuss financial freedom and retirement planning specifically for women and their needs and address your biggest fears in retirement.

Get answers to your questions about retirement and taxes like:

  • What retirement plans are available to business owners?
  • How does contributing to a retirement plan reduce my taxes?
  • How does contributing to a retirement plan create financial freedom?

Click here to register for this event.

Business Plan Writing Workshop
Date: Starts February 20, 2018 | 5:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 210 North 4th St. San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: Janet Garcia | jgarcia@anewamerica.org | (408) 326-2669
Organization: AnewAmerica
Fee: Free

Do you want to start your own business? Do you have an idea but need help exploring options? There are many things to consider before opening a successful business. Knowledge is the key to success.

Our FREE 9-week workshop for start-ups is designed to help you learn about every aspect of starting a business. You will work on the main sections of a business plan and work together as a group to brainstorm and encourage each other. You will develop a bond with your fellow entrepreneurs and have a network you can lean on for the life of your business.

You will walk away with a much greater understanding of what your next steps will be, and you will be closer to cutting that red ribbon to launch your successful new business.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media Marketing—New Sites and Strategies for Your Business
Date: February 20, 2018 | 6:30 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: Hayward City Hall—Conference Room 2A
777 B St. Hayward, CA 94541 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | seminars@acsbdc.org
Organization: Alameda County SBDC
Fee: Free

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, oh my! These are the go-to social networks for entrepreneurs. But did you realize that there are other networks that may be a better fit with your marketing strategy?

This seminar will explore additional social media marketing alternatives that can help to give you an edge in the digital world.

Topics include:

  • Recent changes to popular networks that can change your approach and usage
  • Other networks and directories to market your business
  • Localized directories (e.g. local online magazines) that can drive business to your website or store
  • Google My Business for maximum exposure for your small business
  • NextDoor for a highly localized presence for your small business

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Boots to Business Entrepreneurship Course
Date: February 21 – 22, 2018 | 7:30 am PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: 32nd Street Naval Base—San Diego
3455 Senn Rd. Bldg. 3210—Anchors Catering and Conference Center San Diego, CA 92136 (map it)
Contact: Mike Sovacool | michael.sovacool@sba.gov | (619) 727-4881
Organization: SBA San Diego District Office
Fee: Free

Veterans of all eras, Service members (including National Guard and Reserve) and their spouses are invited to enroll in this free two-day classroom course.

For more information about Boots to Business including additional business courses for veterans and their families, email boots-to-business@sba.gov or call (202) 205-8381. For more SBA resources for veterans, visit SBA.gov/vets.

Click here to register for this event. This course is also available at Camp Pendleton. Click here for more information or to register.

Stress-Free Business Taxes
Date: February 24, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $20

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

Click here to register for this event.

Trademark Protection
Date: February 28, 2018 | 3:00 pm PDT – 5:00 pm PDT
Location: 13430 Hawthorne Blvd., Hawthorne, CA 90250 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cisneros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu | (310) 973-3177
Organization: SBDC hosted by El Camino College
Fee: Free

Join this free workshop and learn the basics of how to protect intellectual property in your small business.

Topics include:

  • How trademarks, copyrights, patents, domain names, and business name registrations all differ
  • How to identify the benefits of federal trademark registration
  • Why it is important for any new business to select a trademark that you can federally register and legally protect, highlighting factors critical when choosing a mark
  • How to get free and reduced-price help when filing a federal trademark application

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Turn Facebook Likes into Customers
Date: February 16, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 8:45 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | (304) 347-5220
Organization: West Virginia SCORE
Fee: Free

Facebook changed their algorithm again. The platform now targets engagement bait. This means they will now downrank posts that ask you to like or share. Join SBA for a panel discussion with marketing guru Luke Nesler from Impakt Media on how small businesses can turn a Facebook Like into a customer.

Click here to register for this event.

5 Shortcuts to Small Business Success
Date: February 22, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: monmouthscore@gmail.com | (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (N.J.) SCORE
Fee: Free

Imagine running a successful local business with time on your hands. Stop dreaming about it and make it happen with this free webinar.

Join small business author and speaker Barry Moltz as he shares tips to help you run your business efficiently.

You’ll learn:

  • How to select a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
  • How to encourage a prospect to respond
  • How to use email marketing effectively
  • How to write emails that get opened
  • How to create a feasible social media strategy

Click here to register for this event.

Ten Tips for Managing Online Reviews and Listings
Date: February 27, 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

Your online reputation can hurt your business. Get some quick tips on how to make sure you are managing what is being said about you on the review sites.

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

Current credit all paid off and looking for a new loan? Our content partner Nav explains why waiting a month may be better for you.

Current credit all paid off and looking for a new loan? Our content partner Nav.com explains why waiting a month may be better for you.

 

You ran through an analysis and decided it’s time to borrow to boost your business. You paid off your old credit card balances and took steps to shore up your credit score. You scrubbed through your financial statements to make sure they are accurate and professional. Is it time to apply for the loan? Probably not just yet. Follow along to learn why you should wait 30 days to apply for a loan.

What happens when you apply for a loan?

The loan application process requires data from many sources to make a decision. Depending on where and how you apply, you may get an instant online decision or have to wait weeks for a reply from a traditional bank.

Regardless of where you apply for a business loan, the lender will review your loan application, financial information, and credit history before making a lending decision. If you have perfect credit, no balances, and strong finances, you shouldn’t have a problem getting approved. But it doesn’t always work like that.

Many businesses need a loan at exactly the wrong time. When you have high credit card balances, are strapped for cash, and need a little more working capital to get through the season, a loan may be just what you need. But in that situation, you might not come off as a great, low-risk applicant to the bank. This is where waiting to apply for a loan may increase your approval odds.

A zero balance doesn’t mean your credit score says zero.

Both personal and business credit scores factor in current balances on credit cards, lines of credit, and other loans. If you max out your credit card, the impact is even bigger. Armed with this information, you may think that you can simply pay off your credit card and apply for the loan right away. But the lender might still see your old, high credit card balance even though you paid it off.

This isn’t because your credit report is wrong, per say, it is because of delays in credit reporting. Each time you have activity on a credit card or other loan, your bank systems usually update within a day or so. But your credit report does not update as quickly or frequently as your account balances.

The credit bureaus track credit report data for over a hundred million Americans. Considering that many people have multiple accounts, it wouldn’t be feasible to update everyone’s credit reports on the fly.

Here’s how the credit reporting system works.

Considering the scale of it, the credit reporting system in the United States is quite impressive. Three companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, collect data from hundreds of millions of accounts and data sources for consumer credit scores. For business credit scoring, Experian, Dun & Bradstreet, and FICO are leaders in credit scoring and reporting. But a lot happens behind the scenes to calculate those credit scores.

In most cases, every credit account you open is reported to at least one of the big three consumer credit bureaus. Every time you have activity on your account, your bank tracks that activity. Then, typically once every month, the banks will send updated information for each account to the credit bureaus. Because of this timing, it is possible for you to pay off a balance and have to wait a full month before your credit report is updated.

The timing might work out that your credit is updated the next day, but there is no guarantee. Also keep in mind that each lender reports on its own schedule, and might not report all accounts on the same day. If you pay off multiple credit cards, your credit report will likely change a few times before the final payoff is accounted for and your credit report and score jump.

Debt utilization makes up 30 percent of your personal credit score, which makes it the second largest factor in your score after payment history. Don’t underestimate the power it has to influence your score. If you can pay off all revolving credit accounts and wait for your credit report to refresh, you will be in much better standing for a new loan, assuming nothing else goes wrong with your credit in the meantime.

Wait for a 30 day cycle before applying for a loan.

Each time you apply for new credit, that credit application shows up as an inquiry on your credit report, which can lower your credit score. Don’t apply for a loan and get rejected. Pay off your debt, patiently wait a month for your credit report to update, then apply for the loan.

If you want to know for sure that your credit report is updated before applying for a loan, Nav is for you! A free account gives you both a personal and business credit score for free, and premium accounts give you scores from multiple credit reporting bureaus. Sign up and check your credit before the bank so you don’t end up with a surprise rejection of your loan application. It takes just a few minutes to get your free credit score and tips on improving your credit. You have nothing to lose, give it a try today!

 

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

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

This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from February 1 through 14.

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 February 1 through 14.

Northern California/Sacramento

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Heath Flora
Date: February 2, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Organization: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Heath Flora will be hosting his first annual small business meeting in his district on February 2nd in Modesto. 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.

How The New Tax Law Affects Small Businesses and their Owners
Date: February 2, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: Cal State Center East Bay
1000 Broadway Suite 109 Oakland, CA, 94607 (map it)
Contact: info@eastbayscore.org | (510) 273-6611
Organization: East Bay SCORE
Fee: $35

The tax law passed by Congress in December 2017 makes major changes in how small businesses and their owners are treated for tax purposes. This workshop covers those changes.

Topics include:

  • How major changes made by the new tax law impact your business including changes in tax rates, treatment of pass-through income, and deductibility of certain business expenses
  • How to determine the best type of legal entity for your business and how the new tax law may affect your decision
  • How the new tax law affects the treatment of employees and independent contractors

Join East Bay SCORE for this workshop led by SCORE counselor Neil Rubenstein, a retired attorney with 38 years of experience as a practicing attorney. Your workshop fee includes a free download of SCORE’s 17 chapter guide How to Start & Manage your Small Business.

Click here to register for this event.

Business Start Up
Date: February 8, 2018 | 12:00 pm PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: Tracy Chamber of Commerce
223 E. 10th St. Tracy, CA 95376 (map it)
Contact: sbdc@deltacollege.edu | (209) 954-5089
Organization: NEC 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.

Southern California/San Diego

YouTube 101 for Business
Date: February 6, 2018 | 1:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: El Camino College Business Training Center
13430 Hawthorne Blvd. Hawthorne, CA 90250 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cinseros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu | (310) 973-3177
Organization: SBDC hosted by El Camino College
Fee: Free

Join the SBDC for a free seminar on understanding Youtube as a social media marketing platform for your small business.

Topics include:

  • How to choose content for Youtube
  • How to optimize and monetize Youtube videos
  • How to increase subscribers
  • How to integrate YouTube with social media to increase revenue
  • How to use Youtube in your marketing strategy

Click here to register for this event.

Lunch & Learn on Small Business Insurance
Date: February 8, 2018 | 11:00 am PDT – 1:00 pm PDT
Location: 700 S. Almansor St. Alhambra, CA 91801 (map it)
Contact: office@rosemeadchamber.org | (626) 288-0811
Organization: Rosemead Chamber of Commerce
Fee: $15 for Rosemead Chamber members | $25 for guests (non-members)

You’re invited to join the Rosemead Chamber of Commerce for a lunch and learn workshop on small business insurance in partnership with CST Insurance Services Inc. Lunch will be provided!

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Blanca Rubio
Date: February 9, 2018 | 2:00 pm PDT – 3:00 pm PDT
Location: Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Organization: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Blanca E. Rubio will be hosting her annual small business meeting in her district on February 9 in West Covina. 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.

Virtual

Starting a Business While Working Full Time
Date: February 7, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Larry Batten | larry.batten@sba.gov | (304) 623-7447
Organization: West Virginia SCORE
Fee: Free

We know it’s tough to leave a job for the unknown of small business ownership. What if you could start your business while still working? It’s been done before! Join the SBA’s Larry Batten as he guides you through the tools that can help.

Click here to register for this event.

Cybersecurity for Your Business and Value Chain
Date: February 8, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Pam Palazzo | palazzp@sunyit.edu | (315) 792-7547
Organization: Mohawk Valley (N.Y.) SBDC
Fee: Free

The pace of cybersecurity breaches has reached epic proportions. Organizations large and small need to take steps to protect their interests. This webinar will provide an overview of how cybercrime affects your business plus recent legislation, regulations, and frameworks that impact your business.

Click here to register for this event.

Basically Business: Phone & VOIP Know How
Date: February 8, 2018 | 3:00 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | (304) 347-5220
Organization: West Virginia SCORE
Fee: Free

Like it or not: we still communicate with customers via phone. How you come across speaks volumes about your business.

Join this 30 minute webinar and learn basic mobile phone, Skype, and Facetime skills to promote your small business.

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

You may know the difference between business structures, but are you aware of the financial pitfalls that you can encounter if your business is set up the wrong way? Read more to find out what these are and how to avoid them.

You may know the difference between business structures, but are you aware of the financial pitfalls that you can encounter if your business is set up the wrong way? Read more to find out what these are and how to avoid them.

 

You have a few options when it comes to organizing your legal business structure – sole proprietorship, partnership, incorporation. Refresh your memory on the differences between each one and evaluate if you need to restructure or just keep an eye out for potential costs.

Please remember that this does not constitute legal advice and does not replace consulting with a qualified legal advisor. If you need help, we compiled a few affordable legal resources for you.

Taxes

Nobody wants to think about the “T” word, but it is important to consider – Get the worst out of the way first! Taxes do vary between different business structures, and you should consider costs (and hopefully savings) related to your small business’ structure.

Sole proprietorships and partnerships file business and personal taxes as one. Corporations are separate entities that require separate tax filings. Depending on your business’ structure, you will have different costs.

For example, say you are the sole proprietor or a partner. Good news: Your taxes will be simple because you report all income and expenses on your personal taxes. Corporate taxes are more complicated and may cost you from hiring a professional tax agency – and even more money if you do it yourself incorrectly. Bad news: If your business is very successful, it will raise you into a much higher income bracket than you would be if your business was a separate entity.

Liability

Along with taxes, nobody really wants to think about liability. We all dream of a perfect world where disasters, lawsuits, and bankruptcies don’t exist. But they do, and it is important to consider the possibility of liability costs when organizing your business.

Let’s return to our example of sole proprietorship. Good news: Because your business does not have stock, you are less affected by the instability of stockholders and the stock market. Bad news: If your business takes a huge loss, you are solely responsible. Bankruptcies and bad credit affect your personal financial reputation.

If you are a partner in your small business, there are additional costs if you choose the wrong person to go into business with. It may cost you more upfront to create strong partnership agreement with a lawyer, but it could save you lots of money if your partner doesn’t work out. You might even need to buy your partner out if necessary.

Overhead Expenses

Incorporating your business costs a lot of money. There are four typical fees for incorporating a business: $100-$200 for filing Articles of Incorporation, $800-$1,000 in First Year Franchise Tax for each state you do business in (except Nevada), $50-$200 in various government filings, and $500+ in attorney fees for advising and setting everything up correctly. It is possible to file for incorporation without an attorney, but if you make a mistake you could cost yourself more in the process.

Additional hidden costs of incorporating can include state-level registration, penalties for missing ever-changing state and federal regulations, acquiring U.S. citizenship, and more.

What costs the most? If incorporating is the wrong structure for your small business. All those expensive fees are unnecessary if being a sole proprietor or being in a partnership works just fine. Check out this handy chart that compares business structures. If you think your business should be a separate corporation, talk to your business mentor.

 

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

Many small businesses experience seasonal ups and downs. When your business is in a boom, you may need to hire extra help. Our content partner Nav offers tips for knowing who and how to get the best seasonal help.

Many small businesses experience seasonal ups and downs. When your business is in a boom, you may need to hire extra help. Our content partner Nav.com offers tips for knowing who and how to get the best seasonal help.

 

In some industries, the need for workers peaks during a particular time of year. Pools need lifeguards in the summer. Pumpkin patches need workers in the fall. Retailers might want to staff up for the holidays, but need few of those workers to stick around come January. Whatever your seasonal need, it can be tricky to hire temporary employees. Follow these best practices to bring in high quality, seasonal workers no matter what you need them for.

1. Don’t Overwork Your Core Employees

Before we jump into the details of hiring seasonal employees, it is important to understand why they may be needed. Seasonal employees are ideal for positions that require little training or expertise, but require a human to physically be present and do the job. Common examples are retail cashiers, farm fruit and vegetable pickers, shipping company logistics, seasonal resort positions, and tour guides.

Some of these jobs may be needed year-round. For example, big box retail stores always need cashiers and UPS always needs people to unload and load trucks. But in the holidays, these companies need far more workers than they do the rest of the year.

You may be tempted to ask your current staff to work overtime, but that may not be ideal, both for financial reasons and for team morale. Instead of making your existing employees take all of the needed extra hours, hiring seasonal help is a great strategy.

2. Balancing Budget and Quality

Overtime hours requires paying overtime wages. When your business is at peak hours, managing your budget is important. Don’t sacrifice customer service for the sake of a few bucks, but do ensure your employment costs don’t get out of control when dealing with seasonal workers.

Start by budgeting for seasonal workers in terms of dollars, then figure out what that translates to in hours. With that information in hand, it’s time to start finding workers.

Remember that hiring is like much else in business: you get what you pay for. If you budget only for minimum wage workers, expect minimum wage quality. If you are able to offer a little more, you are more likely to attract higher caliber seasonal employees. Also, keep in mind that you have to pay taxes and may have other expenses, like insurance and payroll, for each seasonal employee you hire.

3. Make Clear Guidelines

Now you should know roughly what your seasonal employees—or seasonal intern—will do, your budget, and what you can afford to pay them per hour. Now it is time to put together a job description and get ready to hire.

Make your hiring and employee guidelines crystal clear so there is no confusion and you don’t make poor hiring choices. The clearer the job description, the easier it is to hire for that role. A good job description should discourage unqualified applicants and tell anyone what to expect in a day’s work.

Your job description may be published online, added to a print out, or passed out at a job fair. Make sure it is well written, easy to understand, and sufficiently detailed to explain to someone why this may or may not be the right role for them.

4. Join a Career Fair or Host Your Own

Now it’s time to hire your seasonal workers! You have a few great options to bring in potential workers for your seasonal needs. Here are a few popular examples:

  • Online advertising: Post your position on a site like Craigslist, Monster.com, Indeed, CareerBuilder, or elsewhere to get maximum exposure to job hunters on the internet.
  • Career fairs: Buy a table at an upcoming local career fair to meet potential hires in person. Local newspapers, nonprofits, and government organizations are good places to look to find upcoming job fairs near you.
  • Hiring event: Host your own job fair when you need to hire workers in bulk. Set up an efficient operation where workers can apply, interview, and get hired on the spot.

There is no right or wrong way to handle this, just try to stay efficient to avoid wasting time and money. Don’t forget your own network as a source for workers too. Friends who run businesses may know workers looking for a temporary job, and nepotism is perfect for bringing on part-time, seasonal employees on the cheap.

Another great option is to incentivize current employees for successful referrals. Offering a $50 bonus or a gift card might be enough to get your existing team exciting about the process, making your job easier.

5. Stay on the Right Side of the Law

However you decide to hire, make sure to stay compliant with all labor laws. Do not hire “contractors” for jobs that clearly require W-2 employees. Read up on child labor laws. Always follow the law to avoid issues that could require paying fines, big legal costs, or could even threaten to shut your business down for good.

Employee labor laws are extensive and can be confusing. If you are unsure or uncomfortable, consider a session with a local labor attorney to ensure you are doing things by the book, or read into laws for your city, state, and the Federal government.

Go Forth and Hire

If your employee needs seasonal labor, you can absolutely tap into the local labor market for great results. If a small investment in labor costs will lead to big results for the bottom line, there is no reason you should avoid or be scared off from temporary hires. As long as you follow the law, your budget, and stick with an efficient and effective hiring process, seasonal workers could be a path to sustainable results year after year. And that is what business is all about.

 

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

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

With wide-spread home internet and decreasing public funding, libraries may seem like a relic of the past. But these local hubs of knowledge still offer amazing, completely free resources that you can use to grow your business. This is your toolbox for five free ways the library helps entrepreneurs.

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

With wide-spread home internet and decreasing public funding, libraries may seem like a relic of the past. But these local hubs of knowledge still offer amazing, completely free resources that you can use to grow your business. This is your toolbox for five free ways the library helps entrepreneurs.

 

Amenities

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Libraries almost all offer free Wi-Fi, computer access, meeting rooms, and inexpensive printers and faxes. If your small business is home-based or if you just need a quiet space to get work done, your local library has many amenities for you to use.

Workshops and Classes

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Libraries often sponsor space and resources for organizations like SCORE to host workshops, classes, and mentoring. Some even have business resource information centers which can provide you with even more resources, information, and organizations to get assistance from. Your local branch may not advertise these, so make sure to ask directly. If they don’t, consider giving back to your community and hosting one yourself for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Research

How much it costs: Free

What it does: The most obvious way libraries can help you is through their vast inventory of books, periodicals, and research librarians. If mentoring isn’t right for you – or you just want to learn for yourself – you can easily research any business topic you need to brush up on.

Advertising

How much it costs: Low-cost

What it does: Many libraries have bulletin boards that allow you to post flyers and small adverts for your small business. Some are even starting to offer low-cost advertising opportunities (such as in windows, on bookmarks, in restrooms, etc.) for local businesses to combat declining library funding. You can also host your own workshops, offer mentoring, or donate your services to other library events in exchange for getting the word out and networking with potential customers.

Fairs and Expositions

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Occasionally, a large library will host a craft fair or STEM exposition to support local businesses and library patrons. Keep an eye out for these opportunities to offer your products and connect with new audiences.

 

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

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


Opportunity Fund is 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 18 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 January 18 through 31.

Northern California/Sacramento

12-Week Business Planning Class
Date: Starts January 23, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: 275 5th St. San Francisco, CA 94103 (map it)
Contact: Kareen Boncales | kboncales@rencenter.org | (415) 348-6227
Organization: Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center
Fee: $1000—12 week class that meets twice per week. Scholarships up to 50% and payment plans are available, based on household income. For more information on eligibility, see the scholarships page. A $40 nonrefundable application fee is required. This fee will be applied towards the class tuition if your application is accepted.

Take our 12-Week Business Planning Class and develop your business plan with confidence. This intensive class meets every Tuesday and Thursday and focuses on creating a practical and effective business plan—one of the most useful documents an entrepreneur will ever use. It is a critical management tool for feasibility analysis, operations, marketing, and finance and is necessary for accessing capital for business launch and growth.

The 12-Week Business Planning class addresses all aspects of business start up and expansion including:

  • Marketing strategies
  • Industry trend analysis
  • Operations
  • Financial projections and sales assumptions

Participants have access to industry experts, one-to-one consultations, small group interactions, financial coaching, and a business plan review session. Completing this course will help build a strong foundation necessary to embark on the exciting journey of entrepreneurship.

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a Renaissance SoMa Orientation. Get more information on income verification here.

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Catharine Baker
Date: January 26, 2018 | 9:30 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Organization: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Catharine Baker will be hosting her annual small business meeting in her district on January 26 in San Ramon. 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.

Building a Business Website
Date: Starts January 30, 2018 | 11:00 am PDT – 1:00 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

Do you want to build your own business website? Now you can in this introductory, hands-on, project based website development course for the small business owner.

Join this comprehensive class every Tuesday and plan, format, develop, and publish a basic business website using WordPress web or another web development software.

Skill learned include:

  • Developing copy
  • Adding text, images, media, widget, and navigation elements
  • Linking to other websites

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Why Your Website Should be Your Top Priority
Date: January 24, 2018 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: Rancho Santiago Community College District
2323 North Broadway Room 107 Santa Ana, CA 92706 (map it)
Contact: David Calderon | calderon_david@rscc.edu | (714) 564-5200
Organization: Orange County Small Business Development Center
Fee: Free

Wake up your website and drive more business! Join us to learn some of the latest best practices and techniques for making your website an effective sales tool.

Business owners should prioritize their website as the foundation of their online marketing to achieve success. This informative session will cover:

  • Mobile trends
  • Mobile-friendly websites
  • Website best practices
  • Turnoffs for visitors
  • Tips to make your website a more effective sales tool
  • Your site and HTTPS
  • Overview of Google Analytics
  • Resources for tracking and monitoring your website
  • Real world case studies and small business examples

Click here to register for this event.

Free Small Business Growth Workshop
Date: January 25, 2018 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT
Location: Ovitt Family Community Library
215 East C St. Ontario, CA 91764 (map it)
Contact: Denise Marquez | (909) 481-6474
Organization: Office of Norma Torres
Fee: Free

Join Congresswoman Norma Torres for a free small business growth workshop to learn how to gain access to loans in order to grow or start your business. The following organizations will be presenting at this event:

  • Opportunity Fund
  • CDC
  • Accion
  • AMPAC
  • Wells Fargo
  • SBA
  • SBDC
  • Inland Empire Women’s Business Center

Click here to register for this event.

Small Business Meeting with Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes
Date: January 26, 2018 | 9:30 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: Contact samantha@csba.com for location information
Organization: California Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes will be hosting her annual small business meeting in her district on January 19 in Corona. 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.

Virtual

Money Matters: Accessing Capital for Asian American Small Business Owners
Date: January 18, 2018 | 2:30 pm PDT – 2:45 pm PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Geri Agilpay
Organization: Small Business Majority and National ACE
Fee: Free

Small Business Majority and the National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (National ACE) invite you to join us for a free webinar on responsible ways to access capital for Asian American small businesses.

Through this webinar, Geri Aglipay of Small Business Majority and Emily Nordquist of LISC Small Business will help you understand the funding landscape to start and grow your business. Learn about safe forms of small business financing – from alternative to traditional methods –including how to navigate the growing online lending space. Dr. Karen Eng, National ACE Advisory Board member, will provide introductory comments and insight into growing a small business. This webinar is suitable for small business owners with less than 10 employees, startups, home-based operations and sole proprietors.

Topics of discussion include:

  • An overview of alternative and traditional lending options, including microloans, SBA loans, and reputable online lender
  • 5 C’s of credit
  • Key questions to consider when seeking funding
  • The Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights
  • Helpful tools and resources

Click here to register for this event.

How To Use Change Management In A Small Business Webinar
Date: January 23, 2018 | 8:00 am PDT – 9:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (810) 767-8387
Organization: VetBizCentral
Fee: Free

Improve your small business productivity and reduce costs with change management principles in this webinar.

Join host Salahuddin Ali, a client of VetBizCentral and CEO of SLA Business Solutions, to learn how to implement industry leading change management models in your business and keep up with the changing business world.

Topics include:

  • Information technology
  • Process improvement
  • Enterprise resource planning
  • Project management
  • Change management solutions

Click here to register for this event.

Digital Marketing Trends in 2018
Date: January 23, 2018 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: monmouthscore@gmail.com | (732) 224-2573
Organization: Monmouth (N.J.) SCORE
Fee: Free

Digital marketing is changing due to widespread ownership of smartphones, ever-increasing data and video streaming, and a cultural desire for digestible and personalized content. Do you know which trends will impact your organization in 2018?

Join us as we explore the top trends that small businesses should be paying attention to and some simple ideas for incorporating them into your overall marketing strategy:

  • Marketing automation
  • Content marketing
  • Video
  • Mobile

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

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