To help Oakland’s Equity Loan and Grant recipients build long-term sustainable and successful businesses, the City of Oakland has established the Gaining Resources to Achieve Sustainable Success (“GRASS”) program.  GRASS is a business coaching program modeled after programs implemented by other capital providers such as micro-lenders and equity investors who seek to ensure growth and success is achieved by the entrepreneurs they fund.

The City of Oakland’s GRASS program consists of the following components:

  1. Historical Financial Review: Helps entrepreneurs create realistic budgets and provides a better understanding of future cash needs. The process includes review of:
    1. Past financial statements, including but not limited to the Income Statement, Cash Flow Statement, and Balance Sheet.
    2. Timing of actual historical expenditures
    3. Timing of revenues/sales and when cash is actually collected.
  2. Customer and Market Review: Help entrepreneurs understand their target customer, the markets in which the business operates, the competitive landscape and opportunities to grow through strategic partnerships and relationships. In addition customer acquisition costs and strategies will be reviewed.
  3. Operations Review: Help entrepreneurs conduct an ongoing review of business operations including staff, site/location, inventory, technology needs, regulatory compliance, and implementation of best business practices.
  4. Budgeting: Help entrepreneurs forecast revenue growth, expenditures and future cash needs of the business.  Entrepreneurs will begin by developing an annual spending budget as well as a revenue/sales forecast.  This forecast will be tracked over-time via budget to actual comparisons to determine if the company’s revenue growth and spending are on track.  Such an analysis will help manage cash flow and address unforeseen cash needs before long-term financial problems develop.
  5. Action Planning: Help entrepreneurs develop an annual action plan, including establishing goals and milestones, to ensure the highest probability of success for the company.  A periodic review of this action plan will be conducted to make appropriate adjustments as needed.