Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 3 through July 16.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from July 3 through July 16.

Northern California/Sacramento

Drive New Business with Social Media
Date: July 6, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT
Location: Simpkins Family Swim Center
979 17th St. Santa Cruz, CA 95062 (map it)
Contact: John Yost | jyost@santacruz.score.org | (831) 621-3735
Organization: Santa Cruz SCORE
Fee: $35

Join Santa Cruz SCORE for this workshop that will teach you how to get started with social media for your business or non-profit.

This session will answer your key questions, including:

  • Which social media platform(s) will have the biggest bang for your buck?
  • How to create content to grow your followers?
  • How to advertise on social media?
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

How Smart Business Owners Use Credit Cards
Date: July 13, 2017 | 9:30 am PDT – 10:30 am PDT
Location: 455 Market St. Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6820
Organization: U.S. Small Business Association
Fee: Free

Credit cards can be a great tool for managing cash flow or can be helpful as a short-term loan option. Join the SBA for this free seminar to learn how to use credit cards for your business to earn some sweet rewards while avoiding costly pitfalls.

We’ll discuss:

  • Pros and cons of credit cards for entrepreneurs
  • Different types of credit cards and how they can affect your credit scores
  • Common credit card mistakes many small business owners make
  • The one piece of plastic you should not use in your business
  • Key differences between personal and business cards
  • Qualifying for the best business credit cards
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Meet the Lenders Workshop
Date: July 13, 2017 | 12:30 pm PDT – 3:30 pm PDT
Location: Mt. Shasta Community Building
629 Alder St. Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 (map it)
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute (JEDI)
Fee: Free

Join us at Meet the Lenders and get answers to your questions on financing options for startups and expanding businesses, veteran entrepreneurs, and others through local and JEDI partner organizations.

We will cover:

  • Financing options available to small businesses
  • Loans for real estate, equipment, or machinery
  • Funding sources and services for veterans

Find the financing that fits your business needs! Click here or call (503) 926-6670 to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Introduction to QuickBooks
Date: July 6, 2017 | 6:00 pm PDT – 8:00 pm PDT
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: Dee Anna Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: Free

Learning a new software package can be scary. Join this free seminar and replace the fear with excitement.

Quickbooks can help you build, maintain, and grow your business by providing automated bookkeeping and accounting procedures that help you stay on top. Learn ways to customize the software to your specific needs and create quality reports that keep you on track, including:

  • Tracking income and expenses
  • Maintaining your accounts receivables and payables
  • Creating quality financial statements

Want more Quickbooks? Register for the 3-part hands-on Quickbooks training at IWEB, which starts July 27. Call Dee Anna Chandler at (909) 890-1242 for more information.

Click here to register for this event.

Bring Attention To Your Website and Your Business With Video!
Date: July 11, 2017 6:00 pm PDT – 9:00 pm PDT
Location: Bellflower City Hall
16600 Civic Center Dr. Bellflower, CA 90706 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

Video is becoming the content of choice to showcase your business, your product, or your service online! Learn how to create and publish do-it-yourself video throughout your website, social media, and email with the tools you already have!

Haven’t you always wanted to direct? Join us for this free workshop and learn: 

  • Brand standards and consistency on your website, social media, and video.
  • Tools and techniques for making your own videos look polished and professional.
  • Information on apps that make it easy.
  • Actionable steps to market your video online with email and social media.

Click here to register for this event.

Access to Capital Workshop
Date: July 12, 2017 | 5:00 pm PDT – 8:30 pm PDT
Location: Downtown Anaheim Community Center—Assembly Hall
250 E. Center St. Anaheim, CA 92805 (map it)
Contact: Martha Cisneros | mcisneros@elcamino.edu |(310) 973-3177
Organization: The Center and Orange County SBDC
Fee: Free

Join Opportunity Fund at Access to Capital Small Business Workshop, hosted by The Center and the Orange County Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Come meet non-profit and government organizations committed to supporting small business:

  • Orange County SBDC
  • SBA
  • Anaheim Small Business Organization
  • CIELO
  • Opportunity Fund
  • And more!

These organizations can help you with challenges ranging from lowering your cost of capital to preparing your loan application package.

Enter to win a $1,500 Business Advancement Grant! At registration, simply tell us your story—why you run a small business & some of your challenges and successes—to be eligible.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Small Business Owners: Access Financial Resources to Boost Your Bottom Line
Date: July 6, 2017 | 9:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Mary Overbey
Organization: Small Business Majority
Fee: Free

If you need help accessing financial, health, or retirement resources to boost your bottom line and provide robust employee benefits, join this free webinar to learn about resources that can benefit your small business.

This free interactive event series will expand your knowledge of various topics such as optimizing your credit score, improving your health literacy, and exploring convenient retirement saving options. Register for one event, or sign up for the whole series for the most impact on your business!

  • Presentation #1 – Financial Resources (7/6/2017)
    Optimize your credit score, spot signs of predatory and payday lending, and easily access capital for your business.
  • Presentation #2 – Retirement Resources (7/13/2017)
    Discover the U.S. retirement savings gap and a summary of common retirement paths for entrepreneurs to help you and your employees save for the future and secure your finances.
  • Presentation #3 – Health Resources (7/20/2017)
    Learn what healthcare laws means for small businesses, and how repealing the ACA (or “Obamacare”) could impact employer-sponsored coverage for small firms and individual coverage for the self-employed. Additionally, we’ll provide examples of easy and affordable wellness programs that can benefit the health of your business and employees, and provide you with a guide to increase your health literacy.

Click here to register for this event.

Financial Calculations That Answer Key Business Questions
Date: July 11, 2017 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: (626) 585-3106
Organization: Pasadena SBDC
Fee: $25

Business owners can struggle with questions that affect the financial health of the company:

  • Are we selling at the right price?
  • Are we making money?
  • Can we afford to hire someone?

In this webinar, learn about Performance Measurements—simple mathematical calculations that can monitor sales, overhead, and profitability. Use them for business, independent of size and scope.

Click here to register for this event.

5 Cheap Ways to Market Your Business Online
Date: July 13, 2017| 10:30 am PDT – 11:00 am PDT
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Kimberly Donahue | kimberly.donahue@sba.gov | (304) 347-5220
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

Getting your business online isn’t as complicated—or expensive—as you might think. Join this free webinar and discuss ways to promote your business online without breaking the bank or driving yourself crazy.

Click here to register for this event.

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


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


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

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

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 June 16 through June 30.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from June 16 through June 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

Planning for Profit
Date: June 16, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: Diablo Valley College Humanities Building Room H119 (adjacent to Parking Lot 7)
321 Golf Club Rd. Pleasant Hill, CA 94523 (map it)
Contact: info@eastbayscore.org | (510) 273-6611
Organization: East Bay SCORE
Fee: $35

Join East Bay SCORE for this seminar on the financial concepts and reports that allow a business owner to understand the financial health of his/her business and plan for profitable growth in this seminar.

You will learn and discuss:

  • Profits
  • Financial planning
  • Key financial terms

Learn key skills for your business:

  • How to determine the start-up funds your business requires and put together a funding plan
  • How to prepare sales projections
  • How to plan for ongoing operating expenses
  • How to understand the three major financial statements (balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement)
  • How to interpret the importance and impact of your financial statements on your business
  • How to prepare a breakeven analysis
  • How to build a financial projection that will determine if your business is viable

Click here to register for this event.

Keeping Track of Your Numbers
Date: June 21, 2017 | 5:00 pm PST – 8:00 pm PST
Location: 234 E. Gish Rd. Suite 100 San Jose, CA 95112 (map it)
Contact: info@svscore.org | (408) 453-6237
Organization: Silicon Valley SCORE
Fee: $45

In this seminar, you’ll learn how to easily create an income (profit and loss) statement, a balance sheet, and a cash flow forecast, plus what all of the financial records mean. This business seminar will also show You’ll also learn about how to manage tax regulations and make business decisions directly from your financial numbers.

Click here to register for this event.

Employment Law for Small Business
Date: June 28, 2017 | 2:00 pm PST – 4:00 pm PST
Location: Oakland City Hall
1 Frank Ogawa Plaza Hearing Room 2 Oakland, CA 94612 (map it)
Contact: Lee Lambert | lee@acsbdc.org | (510) 208-0410
Organization: Alameda County SBDC
Fee: Free

Owners of small businesses are challenged to create and maintain a positive, high functioning working environment within a maze of federal, state and local regulations. Legal requirements are present whether you’re hiring, firing, disciplining, evaluating performance, promoting, considering requests for leave or dealing with any of dozens of other employee issues.

What are the laws and regulations that pertain to you, and what are the best practices to manage your business while staying in compliance? This seminar will help you to understand federal, state and local requirements for your business, including:

  • Latest information on wage and hour legislation and regulations
  • How to manage your business to comply with these laws and regulations
  • Highest risk areas where your business is most vulnerable to employee lawsuits
  • Measure FF, the City of Oakland minimum wage, sick pay and PTO requirements

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Back to Business – 45 Ways to Grow Your List
Date: June 20, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: City of San Bernardino Training Center
201 North “E” St. San Bernardino, CA 92401 (map it)
Contact: Mary Takavorian | mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com | (909) 983-0751
Organization: Inland Empire SBDC
Fee: Free

Having an interested and qualified list of contacts that you can stay top of mind with is vital to every business. Continuing to grow that list is just as important. This workshop will show you 45 easy ways to grow your contact list today! We will cover:

  • Why someone should join your contact list
  • How to create “What’s In It For Me?” for your prospects
  • How to ask people to join your list “face-to-face”
  • How to use social media to grow your list
  • How to grow your list on your website or blog
  • How to use print material to get people to sign up
  • How to use events to help grow your list
  • How to use incentives and giveaways to grow your list

Plus, you’ll have a chance to network with other attendees and grow your contact list live during the workshop!

Click here to register for this event.

Create Your #SocialBusiness Plan
Date: June 23, 2017 9:00 am PST – June 24 12:00 pm PST
Location: 1003 East Cooley Dr. Suite 109 Colton, CA 92324 (map it)
Contact: Dee Ann Chandler | deeann@iewbc.org | (909) 890-1242
Organization: Inland Empire Women’s Business Center
Fee: $139

It’s up to you as a small business owner to tell the story about your company online.   

In this 2-day, hands-on workshop, you will receive instruction plus a blueprint to get you on your way to creating a digital marketing plan that works for YOUR business. Get ready to roll up your sleeves and work on your plan!

Get answers to these issues and more:

  • Digital marketing defined
  • Identify the next 3 steps you need to take to make your mark online
  • Create a content plan to show your audience that you are the leader in your industry
  • Win with engagement: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest
  • Decide how you will measure success

Click here to register for this event.

Instagram 101 for Business
Date: June 29, 2017 | 1:00 pm PST – 3:00 pm PST
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

Learn the basics of how to get started with Instagram for your business in this free seminar:

  • How to set up your profile
  • How to get followers
  • Choosing the right hashtags
  • Creatively designing pictures

All participants will get a bonus ebook how to convert social media likes to sales.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

How to Borrow Money for Your Business and Avoid Abusive Lending
Date: June 21, 2017 | 12:00 pm PST – 1:00 pm PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: info@e-jedi.org | (530) 926-6670
Organization: Jefferson Economic Development Institute
Fee: Free

Would a little money make a big difference in your business?

Have you thought about borrowing money, but don’t know where to start?

Are you stuck paying on high-interest loans or credit?

Understanding alternative small business lending and gaining access to responsible and transparent capital can help any business grow more quickly towards success.

We have partnered with JEDI to present this webinar to help small business borrow money responsibly. In this hour long session you will learn:

  • How to avoid the abusive practices of many alternative small business lenders today
  • How we and JEDI help small business owners grow responsibly
  • How to prepare and apply for a loan with a JEDI counselor
  • What it takes to get a loan with us

The webinar is hosted by Opportunity Fund Community Development Officer Robert Zapata. All who register will be sent a recording of the presentation. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with information about joining the webinar.

Click here to register for this event.

SBA Radio Show
Date: June 22, 2017 | 11:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: Online—Radio broadcast
Contact: wsRadioStaff@gmail.com
Organization: SBA San Diego
Fee: Free

SBA Radio is a weekly small business advisory show built to assist and inform small businesses with the latest information from the Small Business Administration. The government has many programs to help small businesses and this is the show that keeps you informed.

Tune in every Thursday at 11am for this weekly radio show and start improving your business!

Click here to access the broadcast and to find archived shows online.

Options for Small Business Healthcare
Date: June 26, 2017| 10:30 am PST – 11:30 am PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Contact: Martin Short | martin.short@sba.gov | (803) 253-3753
Organization: U.S. Small Business Administration—South Carolina District Office
Fee: Free

Effective in 2017, Small Businesses can utilize Health Spending Accounts (HSA) to fund coverage for their employees through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)—a real benefit for higher paid, white collar workers.

In this webinar, you’ll get answers to your questions about health care for your small business:

  • What is the ACA and how does it work?
  • What are the differences between business and individual coverage options and requirements?
  • Is my business required to do anything?
  • Can I get tax credits of up to 50% for small businesses offering group health insurance through the Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP)?
  • What are COBRA alternatives and I may never have another COBRA enrollee?

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

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 18 through April 30.

Every two weeks, we’re sharing and promoting free and affordable events that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your bi-weekly calendar for in-person and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events from April 18 through April 30.

Northern California/Sacramento

San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance Fundamentals
Date: April 20, 2017 | 3:30 pm PST – 5:00 pm PST
Location: 455 Market Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: sfomail@sba.gov | (415) 744-6777
Organization: Small Business Administration
Fee: Free

Come learn about the newly enacted San Francisco Paid Parental Leave Ordinance, requiring employers to provide paid leave for new parents.

Topics include:

  • Who is covered
  • Employer responsibilities
  • How to apply
  • How to calculate benefit amount
  • Interaction with related state and federal law
  • And more!

Click here to register for this event.

Disruption Recovery Plan for Your Business
Date: April 27, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: NEC SBDC at Butte College
202 Mira Loma, Oroville CA 95965 (map it)
Contact: Sophie Konuwa | konuwaso@butte.edu | (530) 895-9017
Organization: Northeastern California SBDC
Fee: Free

These are the times! With upswings in cyberattacks, and natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, tornadoes, and hurricane, business continuity planing has suddenly moved to the front of the line as more businesses are being forced to complete their disaster recovery plans.

This training will help you complete a workable plan that you and your employees can easily follow and visit regularly to ensure usefulness, relax from the stress of unplanned activities that cause your profit to drop, teach you how to complete a plan to address your business operation for disruption, and prepare you for funding when available.

To register for this event, click here.

10 Best Practices for Business Success on Facebook & Twitter
Date: April 27, 2017 | 1:00 pm PST – 4:00 pm PST
Location: 455 Market Street, Suite 600 San Francisco, CA 94105 (map it)
Contact: (415) 937-7232
Organization: San Francisco SBDC
Fee: Free

In this class, you will learn how Facebook and Twitter work, best practices, success stories from other businesses who are winning it, and tools to save you time. Connect the dots from social media to sales! This class is part of a series called “Social Media and Online Marketing Made Simple.”

Click here to register for this event.

Southern California/San Diego

Leveraging Video Marketing to Engage Your Target Audience, Drive Traffic, and Generate Leads
Date: April 18, 2017 | 9:00 am PST – 12:00 pm PST
Location: United States University
7675 Mission Valley Road San Diego, CA 92108 (map it)
Contact: workshop0140@scorevolunteer.org | (619) 727-4874
Organization: SCORE San Diego
Fee: $20

Nearly all business owners understand the need to have a digital or online presence. But did you know:

  • Online video has increased 8-fold in the past 5 years
  • Video content is shared 1200% more often on Facebook alone than traditional posts or graphics
  • The average website visitor will stay 5 times longer on a site with video
  • Nearly 80% of consumers say watching online videos influence their decision making

Other than face-to-face meetings, video is by far the strongest connection you can make with your target audience. This workshop goes far beyond simple video production to helping your videos reach your audience and engage them. You will learn key skills and strategies like:

 

  • Essential research in pre-production
  • Basic equipment to start on a small budget
  • Scripting your videos for greatest impact and conversion
  • Optimizing videos to rank and be found on Google, YouTube, and major social media channels
  • Social video marketing vs. search
  • Live video streaming
  • Copywriting and creating a video Call-To-Action (CTA)
  • Lead generation with video
  • Video data and analytics: measuring your video campaigns


Click here to register for this event.

An EZ Trip Through Your Financial Statements
Date: April 24, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 9:00 pm PST
Location: Orange Public Library
407 E. Chapman Ave., Orange, CA 92866 (map it)
Contact: (714) 550-7369
Organization: Orange County SCORE
Fee: Free

If you’ve ever wanted to know where financial statements come from and how to make them work for you, this workshop is for you. The session includes basic accounting principles and an interactive case study where you’ll learn about the following tools and skills to create a healthy, profitable business:

  • Balance sheets
  • Income statement
  • Cash flow
  • Ratio analysis

Click here to register for this event.

Business Communications
Date: April 26, 2017 | 6:00 pm PST – 8:00 pm PST
Location: 6160 Van Nuys Blvd  Van Nuys, CA 91401 (map it)
Contact: (818) 894-8800
Organization: ICON CDC
Fee: Free

This workshop will help you develop and refine your brand and practice your sales pitch. This training will give everybody the opportunity to practice their pitch before the SFV Marketplace event on May 2.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Process Improvement & Working Smarter
Date: April 18, 2017 | 2:00 pm PST – 3:30 pm PST
Location: Online—Webinar
Organization: Women’s Business Center
Contact: Martha Ocasio | mocasio@thecentre.org | (813) 251-8437
Organization: The Helen Gordon David Centre for Women
Fee: Free

How do you improve the work processes in your office or small business? This class focuses on applying “lean” process improvement to add efficiencies to your business and improve your bottom line potential. You’ll learn ideas to make your work processes flow better, faster, and cheaper, plus problem solving and identifying “value added” activities.

“Lean” thinking applies to any business process, regardless of your industry. In many cases, this can result in improved customer service, saved labor, better inventory control, and reduction of expenses.

Click here to register for this event.

Radio Show: Business Basics VEDC
Date: April 20, 2017| 5:00 pm PST -5:30 pm PST
Location: Radio show on KKVV Las Vegas (Nev.)
Organization: VEDC Nevada Business Opportunity Fund
Fee: Free

Do you want to become an ENTREPRENEUR? Need FUNDING for your business? Have questions about MANAGING your business? Tune into “Business Basics VEDC Radio Show” on KKVV Radio 1060AM at 5:00pm to listen and learn about the basics of being a business owner. Listen via LIVE stream at www.kkvv.com.

Click here to register for this event.

Get Found on Google Search and Maps
Date: April 26, 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

It’s important your business’ information appears correctly when people search online. Did you know:

  • 4 out of 5 people use search engines to find local info like business hours and directions
  • Businesses with complete listings (with updated photos and hours of operations) are twice as likely to be considered reputable by customers
  • 37% of businesses have claimed a local business listing on a search engine

This workshop will explain how to setup Google My Business as your one-stop-shop for managing your business info as it appears across Google Search and Maps. Your potential customers will find important info for your business like your phone numbers, hours of operation, and driving directions.

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 or affordable online tools that help small business owners run their businesses better. This is your toolbox for five affordable social media resources.

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

Social media is the new hot way to market to customers around the world. And it’s free to use! We’ve compiled this list of five affordable online tools you can use to utilize social media for your small business. From creating to publishing, this list has you covered.  

How much it costs: Free, with optional premium paid plans

What it does: Hootsuite is a great easy-to-use dashboard for writing and scheduling your social media posts to be published in the future. The free plan allows you to connect to three social media profiles with basic analytics tools for tracking follower growth and post performance. If you need help thinking of things to post, they also offer ten free content suggestions every week. If you just need help, Hootsuite has helpful social media classes and an online help forum.

How much it costs: Free, with $19 a month premium plan

What it does: Cyfe is another all-in-one dashboard that keeps everything you need to know about your social media in one convenient place. In addition to creating and scheduling posts, you can track your followers and post performance, see demographics of your followers, and look at detailed web analytics for your small business. What is outstanding about Cyfe is it also allows you to track your business’ sales, finances, and projects. This resource really is great for small business owners who want everything in one place without having to log into multiple websites and accounts.

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Latergram is specific to scheduling Instagram posts, but it is really convenient to be able to create and publish Instagram posts from your desktop instead of hunching over your mobile phone all the time. Not many web services let you do this for Instagram, so take advantage of Latergram’s incredibly helpful tool. Their calendar view scheduling is easy-to-read, and their media library lets you keep all your photos in the cloud to use in the future. Latergram is also planning on implementing a hashtag campaign tool which will make Instagram giveaways and contests easier for you – these are popular marketing strategies to engage younger customers.

How much it costs: Free, optional premium paid plans

What it does: Buffer is another scheduling tool that is simple and straightforward. Their integrated Pablo tool allows you to design visuals for your posts, and connects to all six major social media platforms (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Linkedin). If you want to connect your business Instagram, you’ll need to download the Buffer mobile app. This may sound complicated, but using the mobile app allows you to schedule your posts on the go.

How much it costs: Free

What it does: Images boost interaction from your followers – you should try to include some kind of visual in every social media post. Finding images for commercial use can be difficult and expensive, so Hubspot created over 500 royalty-free images that you can use. No fees or attribution required. If you need help using images in social media posts, take a look at some of these affordable design tools.

 

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

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


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

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 and virtual events in Northern and Southern California. Here are the best upcoming events in October.

Northern California/Bay Area

How To Boost Your Sales: Learn the Key Elements Of A Winning Window Display

Date: October 19, 2016 | 8:00 am PDT – 10:00 am PDT

Location: Dublin City Hall—Regional Meeting Room
100 Civic Plaza Dublin, CA 94568 (map it)

Contact: Lee Lambert | lee@acsbdc.org | 510-208-0410

Organization: Alameda County SBDC

Fee: Free

Your retail window displays is one of the most important marketing tool you have at your disposal. Your window display can convert passer-bys into customers. With effective planning, great lighting, and some creativity, your window display can have a major impact to boost your sales. This seminar will teach retail store owners about the key elements of a great holiday window, creating your own cost saving visual plan, review visual case studies of impactful windows through the calendar year, and how to take the appearance of your display windows and the image of your store to the next level.

Click here to register for this event.

Planning for Profit

Date: October 21, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT

Location: SCORE East Bay Office
492 9th Street, Suite 350 Oakland, CA 94607 (map it)

Contact: SCORE East Bay | info@eastbayscore.org | 510-273-6611

Organization: Easy Bay SCORE

Fee: $35

Learn the financial concepts and reports that allow business owners like you to understand the financial health of your business and plan for profitable growth at this workshop led by SCORE business professionals  Sid Landman and Mike Harris. You’ll learn about key topics in business financial management like the importance of financial planning, key financial terms and definitions, how to put together a funding plan, how to understand the three major financial statements (balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and cash flow statement), and their importance and impact on your business, and much more! The $35 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.

E-Mail Marketing: Build Relationships that are Key to Your Business Success

Date: October 26, 2016 | 10:00 am PDT – 12:00 pm PDT

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

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

Organization: Silicon Valley SCORE

Fee: $45; Free for veterans (see below)

This class will provide tips on how to increase your email deliverability and open rates, write good headlines and content, and most importantly, strategies for getting and keeping high quality prospects, customers, and members. Learn how to become a trusted email sender, how to build your list, how to get your emails read and turn your readers into buyers. At the end of this class you will be armed with ways to improve your email marketing. The class focus is on using Constant Contact as the prime email marketing tool; however the topics covered are relevant to any email marketing tool.

Click here to register for this event.

Veterans: Free admission is available for this class. Click here for details.

Southern California

Incorporating Your Small Business

Date: October 4, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT

Location: Carolyn Owens Community Center—2nd Floor
13201 Central Ave Chino, CA 91710 (map it)

Contact: Mary Takavorian | mtakavorian@iesmallbusiness.com | 909-983-0751

Organization: Inland Empire SBDC

Fee: Free

The process of incorporating your business can be a difficult one. You likely have a lot of questions, like “What forms do I need?” or “What processes will my new company need to follow to comply?” Seminar presenter Attorney Gary Foltz has over 20 years of experience helping entrepreneurs incorporate their small businesses and will discuss important topics like forming a corporation, the various forms of organization, selecting the type of organization that’s right for you, and more. Foltz will also answer your business planning questions. This free small business workshop is sponsored by the City of Chino.

Click here to register for this event.

Social Media Marketing: Creative Tools That Are Cutting Edge

Date: October 7, 2016 | 10:00 am PDT – 11:30 am PDT

Location: 9207 Eton Avenue, Chatsworth CA 91311 (map it)

Contact: Amber Lopez | sbdc@canyons.edu | 661-362-5900

Organization: College of the Canyons SBDC

Fee: Free

Do you find it challenging to figure out who you should be marketing to in managing your business? Are you looking for a better, more personal way to connect to your audience while building your brand? This free seminar will introduce you to marketing tools that can shift your perspective and help you find and reach out to clients, customers, and audiences. Gather a few new tools to help you expand your audience outreach. Explore different ways finding the best fit for you in the marketplace. Learn about Periscope: a new Twitter live streaming iOS and Android app. Join us for this fun, interactive workshop!

Click here to register for this event.

El Monte Business Resource Seminar

Date: October 12, 2016 | 8:15 am PDT – 12:30 pm PDT

Location: Grace T. Black Auditorium
3130 North Tyler Avenue El Monte, CA 91731 (map it)

Organization: Small Business Majority

Fee: Free

Small Business Majority has partnered with the Board of Equalization. Small Business Majority will have a booth providing employers with information regarding Covered California for Small Business: how can employers qualify for a tax credit, how they can sign up for CCSB coverage, what are the options available to small business owners through Covered California and more. We’ll also provide resources on CA’s new Paid Sick Day Law, and Paid Family Leave.

Click here to register for this event.

Virtual

Free Workshop Thursdays—October 13

Date: October 13, 2016 | 9:00 am PDT – 3:00 pm PDT

Location: Online—Webinar

Contact: workshops@sba.gov |206-553-7310

Organization: U.S. Small Business Association

Fee: Free

Free workshop Thursdays are offered on the 2nd & 4th Thursday of each month. The classes are held virtually online. You can register for all the classes or just one.

Check out the three free online seminars offered on October 13:

Coffee & Cash: How to Finance Your Small Business | 9:00 am – 10:30 am

Join us for a cup of coffee and get valuable information on borrowing money to start or grow a small business.  The SBA offers a wide range of loan programs whether your business needs $500 or $5 million, our network is here to help. Financing experts will discuss key topics like how to determine what loan program is the best fit for your business, what a lender looks for when reviewing and evaluating a loan application, and available resources to help you run your business better.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to learn how your business can get the funding it needs.

Small Business Owner’s Tax Workshop | 11:00 am to 1:00 pm

Learn the basics of small business taxes. Tax professionals will help you understand your tax reporting responsibilities. You’ll learn about key topics like types of entities, record keeping, accounting methods, travel & entertainment expenses, business use of home, self-employment taxes, estimated taxes, and much more.

Beyond Google: Free Market Research at Your Library | 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Whatever stage your business is at, it’s vital to stay ahead of the competition. Information is key to success, but can be expensive or time-consuming if you don’t know where to look. Find out how to easily 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.

This bi-monthly virtual event features diverse topics specializing in the needs of small business owners like you. Click here to register for the October 13 seminars and to get more information about upcoming free webinars from the SBA.

IRS Small Business Tax Webinar

Date: October 25, 2016 | 1:00 pm PDT – 4:00 pm PDT

Location: Online—Webinar

Contact: Catrina Avila | admin@vbocix.org |916-527-8400

Organization: Veterans Business Outreach Center

Fee: Free

One of the biggest challenges faced by individuals starting a business is understanding and meeting their tax filing requirements. This free workshop provides the tools you need to be a successful small business owner, including information to help new and existing small business owners understand and meet their federal tax obligations. The workshop will cover Basic IRS Tax Requirements. You will learn about record keeping and bookkeeping systems, business income and deductions, the different types of entities, how to file and pay business federal, and much more.

Click here to register for this event.

Power Up Your Small Biz: Technology Trends

Date: October 27, 2016 | 12:00 pm PDT

Location: Online—Webinar

Organization: SCORE

Fee: Free

SCORE and Verisign have partnered to offer the Power Up Your Small Biz: Technology Trends Virtual Conference.

This event is a half day of learning with eight informative webinars on how you can leverage technology to meet your goals. You’ll hear from a number of industry experts, including Web.com, ComplyRight, AT&T, Verisign and more, as they share their insider tips for simplifying your efforts, securing your data, and growing your business.

Join us in this online event that has the look, feel and benefits of a local, in-person conference or trade show. Participants can visit virtual booths to collect materials, meet sponsors, ask questions, and even pick up some virtual swag. You can attend our educational sessions, exchange ideas with other business owners in the networking lounge, and download conference materials in your virtual briefcase. This event will happen live for all participants and the virtual environment is archived for future access.

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

Implementing affordable marketing strategies really make a difference for your small business’ growth. Our partner Nav explains why using Twitter to market your business is important and how to make the most out of this invaluable and low cost tool.

Marketing strategies really make a difference for your small business’ growth. Find out how Twitter can help it grow – read this post from our partner Nav.com.

Given the number of consumers who use social media, your marketing strategies for various platforms can be as influential for your small business’s growth as what’s on your business credit report.

Take Twitter, for instance. Per the site’s data, it has 316 million monthly active users who send 500 million tweets each day. 500 million is a daunting number, and you might be wondering how your business is going to get noticed in such an enormous sea of tweets.

Here’s a look into how Twitter works and how you can cut through the noise to promote your business to potential customers.

Twitter Caters to Businesses

Twitter has carved out tools for businesses, including separate tips and hints for small businesses. Not only is it a contemporary marketing avenue, but it is also free if you’re using basic features.

After you set up a profile, start following other businesses and individuals you know or work with that you think might follow you back. This is a good starting point to building a follower base. Start posting tweets to update your followers on your business, or tweet content that’s related to your business and relevant to your growing group of followers.

Once you have a few tweets with good content, try to identify individuals that fall under your target market. Follow your current and potential customers, and tweet about upcoming sales, discount codes, and new products and services. Take advantage of hashtags, which are highlighted keywords preceded by a pound sign (#) in tweets that make your posts easier to locate in Twitter’s internal search results.

If you have some room in your budget, you can promote your account or use promoted tweets. These are direct advertisements that are placed in the Twitter feeds of users who may be interested in your products or services. This functionality can be paired with your customer relationship management information to better define the parameters of your ad campaigns and reach a wider base of new customers.

Marketing in the Twitterverse

Twitter is one of the many 21st century versions of word-of-mouth advertising and has unique demands if you want to use it effectively. Here are some tips for marketing via Twitter:

Interact with other users. Retweet, favorite, message, and tweet to other users in your posts. Doing so will not only engage another user, but will give you exposure to their followers, and allow you to create alliances with other active Twitter users interested in working together to build an audience.

Tweet often. At the very least, post one tweet per day. If your account appears dormant, customers may not be as engaged with it.

Offer exclusive deals to your followers. Keep users interested and engaged by tweeting about promo codes or flash sales that are exclusive to your Twitter followers. Offer to send freebies to your brand advocates who promote your business on Twitter.

Use hashtags. If you’re in the business of paper sales, users can search for tweets related to paper and find your business. However, if you use hashtags, your tweets become more visible in the search results. Tailor your hashtags to your business and current ad campaigns.

Use news to stay relevant. Is there a breaking story or event coming up that you can twist to relate to your business? Post a tweet about it and latch onto relevant hashtags for more visibility.

Use Twitter to promote original content. Take advantage of integration features for your own website, and always post content that will direct your followers back to your web page.

Bonus: Use Twitter Analytics For Free

Under your profile drop down menu, you can access Twitter Analytics. See how your account performs from month to month and track your growth. Understand what content is working and what isn’t by tracking your Tweets’ impressions, favorites, and retweets.

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

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


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

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