A New School Year Begins at Cal State Fullerton!

Here is this week’s edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider. Make sure to click the link so that you won’t miss any future updates.

Why do people go to Cal State Fullerton?

For our entrepreneurship students it is so that they can learn how to be entrepreneurs. And the kind of entrepreneurial education that they are immersed in at Cal State Fullerton is unique.

Every student who majors in entrepreneurship must take six courses that are built to inculcate them with a broad range of business knowledge that they can use to be entrepreneurs.

Four of the courses that they take have students working on consulting projects for businesses who are eager to learn how to grow their businesses in new ways. The other two courses have students building a business plan for a concept of their own in one semester and then attempt to launch that business in the next. Some of our students are very successful from the start and are able to continue on with their business after they graduate.

One recent example that comes to mind is Wecademi, which is officially launched and will be helping current CSUF students pass the most difficult courses through a combination of tutoring and class study guides.

But even if some, or even most, of our students do not end up starting businesses they still have learned how to be entrepreneurs. And being entrepreneurial is an asset that will set them apart from their peers for the rest of their lives.

We are all looking forward to this new school year and all of the opportunities that it will bring. We hope that you will join us!

Sincerely,

John Bradley Jackson
Director and Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

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Work with the CSUF Entrepreneurship Team this Fall

In this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider we talk about how every entrepreneur needs a team and how one of the teams from our CSUF Consulting program can help you get new things done.

We recently published a post called The “Three T’s” of Starting a Business and one of the the “T’s” is Team. Having a great team is something that every entrepreneur should develop and nurture from startup to established business. Entrepreneurs cannot do everything and empowering others to work with you to build something better is how to really get great things done.

But every team, no matter how much it excels, needs a boost every now and then; an injection of fresh ideas and a strategy for how to do things more efficiently and effectively. That is where CSUF Consulting teams come in. Our teams work with new and existing businesses over the course of a semester to develop innovative strategies for our clients.

These strategies can focus on improving synergies with strategic partners, conducting market research for new products or services, and many other facets of a business. Chances are, most of the entrepreneurs who are reading this have thought about improving a part of their business but have not had the time to do it. Now is always the right time to improve and please contact us at (657) 278-8243 to find out how we can help.

Sincerely,

John Bradley Jackson
Director and Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

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Types of Intellectual Property that Entrepreneurs Should Know

Justin Sanders Explains the Different Forms of Intellectual Property

Justin Sanders Explains the Different Forms of Intellectual Property

Justin Sanders, the VP for High Tech and Mechanical Devices at Entralta, gave a very insightful presentation on intellectual property last night for the Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Startup Incubator at the CSUF Irvine campus. He covered a lot in his hour long seminar so I’m simply going to give you an overview of his talk here and, hopefully, in the future we will publish key segments from his talk as part of our Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship series.

What are the types of intellectual property?

  • Patents

    • Patents are a “set of exclusive rights in an invention granted for a limited period of time… [and it gives the patent owner the] right to exclude/prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing infringing goods/services.”
    • There are different kinds of patents, including:
      • Utility Patents

        • “Protect structural/functional features of an invention (i.e., the way an invention works).”
      • Design Patents

        • “Protect non-functional, ornamental features of an invention (i.e., the way an invention looks).”
      • Plant Patents

        • “Protect the invention – or discovery and asexual reproduction – of a distinct, new plant other than a tuber or a plant found in the wild. Means of asexual reproduction include cuttings, layering, budding, and grafting but do not include growth from a seed.”
  • Trademarks

    • “Non-functional, distinctive source identifiers used in connection with sale and offer for sale of goods and/or services. [Examples include:] brand names, company names, logos, tag-lines, jingles, product packaging, product shape, product color, store appearance/decor, etc.”
  • Copyrights

    • “Legal right of ownership that arises automatically when an original work of creative authorship is fixed in any tangible medium of expression from which the work can be perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a device. Work must be independently created and possess minimal degree of creativity. Work cannot be functional (e.g., undulating Ribbon bicycle rack).”
  • Trade Secrets

    • “Any information that derives independent economic value (actual or potential) from not being generally known to others, so long as reasonable measures (under the circumstances) are taken to maintain secrecy of information; e.g., Coca Cola recipe.”

Justin obviously went in to greater depth on each of these (except for the plant one, either he’s not a fan of plants or it’s just an area of IP law that he doesn’t cover all that frequently; it’s probably the latter) during the talk and I do hope that we will be able to get important segments of this talk published soon. Make sure to keep updated on all events and knowledge that comes out of our program by becoming a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider.

Until then, here is Justin’s PowerPoint presentation:


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge

How to Profit from your Intellectual Property @ CSUF Startup Incubator

This Wednesday at 6pm at the Cal State Fullerton campus in Irvine we will be hosting a talk by Justin Sanders titled How to Profit from your Intellectual Property. In order to register, please go to the Eventbrite page.

Intellectual property is becoming increasingly important when it comes to business valuation as well as success – especially for tech companies. A well-developed patent portfolio (along with an intellectual property portfolio, generally) conveys a high degree of technical and commercial sophistication to potential investors, customers, competitors, and licensees.

It also proves that you value investment in research and development and are prepared to take appropriate steps to protect those investments. This presentation will provide an introduction to intellectual property generally (including patents, trademarks, copyright and trade secrets), as well as related issues to keep in mind, so that you will be better equipped to identify and protect your intellectual property in a timely manner, both in the U.S. and abroad.

Pizza and soft drinks will be served at this event.

We hope to see you there!

[You will need to purchase a parking permit to park on this campus. Information for parking can be found here: http://www.fullerton.edu/irvinecampus/about/campusmap.php]

About the speaker, Justin Sanders:

Justin Sanders is a registered patent attorney and Vice President of One3 IP Management, where he primarily oversees the High Tech and Software practice group. Justin graduated from California State University, Long Beach, earning a B.S. in Computer Science with a minor in Human Resources Management. He went on to attend Whittier Law School, as a Fellow in the Center for Intellectual Property Law, where he received his J.D. with magna cum laude honors along with a Certificate in Intellectual Property Law. Justin assists clients (primarily startups) with all aspects of identifying, procuring, policing, enforcing, and monetizing their intellectual property in both the U.S. and abroad – all at competitive flat fee rates.


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge

The “Three T’s” of Starting a Business

Travis Lindsay, Entrepreneur in Residence, Cal State Fullerton Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Startup Incubator

Travis Lindsay, Entrepreneur in Residence, Cal State Fullerton Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Startup Incubator

What is it, exactly, that separates successful entrepreneurs form those that are less successful?

It’s a loaded question and any honest answer comes replete with a healthy amount of caveats but it’s still a very valid question as well. And this was the question that Chris McCarthy, the Social Media Specialist for Mihaylo College, asked me. He was kind enough to videotape my answer, and it is below, but if you like reading more then here’s the short answer.

Based off of my experiences of working closely with entrepreneurs and business owners for years now is that three of the most important factors that determine an entrepreneurs success are:

  • Tenacity
  • Team
  • Timing

As Chris and I discussed, the importance of those three factors fluctuates depending on the situation but those factors keep on popping up in all of the examples I can think of.

Tenacity is pretty self explanatory. Either you have the drive or you don’t. And tenacity is different from passion. Passionate people can end up having a lot of tenacity as long as their amount of passion does not wane. But it inevitably does wane; it at least fluctuates. People who have the tenacity to work hard consistently have a higher chance of being successful entrepreneurs than those that do not have that quality.

Team is another one that some people, especially first time entrepreneurs, overlook. I’m not going to go into the psychology of why people overlook the importance a strong team can make but the best explanation I have ever heard about why teams are important goes something like this: If you, as the founder, can create $1,000,000 worth of value a year that is the most you will ever make if you continue on as the sole person in the company. As you add people into your company’s capacity for creating value increases as well; which will hopefully end in higher revenues and, fingers crossed, more profitability as well. Regretfully, I cannot remember who first made this argument to me but it has stuck with me since and it does make a whole lot of sense to me.

Timing is tricky and it’s unforgiving. If your timing is too early your market will never materialize; if you’re too late then somebody else will grab hold of the market and won’t want to give it up without a fight. There are things that you can do to time the market, and you should absolutely do things like researching potential markets, understanding who your competitors are and what substitutes for your product and service already exist, etc. And these are things that the CSUF Consulting program and the CSUF Startup Incubator works with clients to figure out. But you can never be sure that your timing will be perfect. At a certain point you have to trust in your plan and launch.

There’s obviously more to it than that for each of those “T’s” and there are many other factors that go into the success or failure of an entrepreneurial endeavor. In fact, if you have any you’d like to share, please do so in the comments. I’m interested in finding out what you think about this.


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge

Getting New Things Done with CSUF Entrepreneurship

In this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider (sign up to get this newsletter delivered to your email box every week) Director John Bradley Jackson highlights the new book by Professor David Obstfeld: Getting New Things Done. Getting new things done requires people to work together towards a common goal and for businesses that means developing new ideas and creative solutions. The CSUF Consulting program is designed to help business do this and we are currently accepting applications from businesses now for the fall semester. Read ahead to find out how to apply.

Getting New Things Done is CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor David Obstfeld’s new book published by Stanford University Press. In this book, David lays out a framework for how new things are accomplished and he cites many examples of this process in action. It’s a thoroughly researched work and it definitely has value for anyone who wants to have a better understanding of how innovation happens.

One of the key insights from David’s book is that innovators do not operate in a vacuum. Innovations need support to take hold and that support can come in many different ways. Take, for example, the CSUF Consulting program. We work with dozens of businesses every semester to help them develop innovative solutions for their toughest problems. Whether the difficulty lies in their marketing plan, operations, accounting systems, or their company’s culture, our teams of students are able to create actionable solutions for our clients.

We are recruiting clients for the fall semester right now and if you or a business that you know could benefit from working with one of our CSUF Consulting teams please give Project Client Specialist Charlesetta Medina a call at (657) 278-8243 for more information on how one of our consulting teams can help you get new things done.

Sincerely,

John Bradley Jackson
Director and Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

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Startup Funding Option: Family and Friends

Jim Cooper is an expert on startup funding and at this talk he will go through some of the lesser known funding options for entrepreneurs.

Jim Cooper is an expert on startup funding

I am sitting here watching a great presentation by startup expert Jim Cooper, co-founder of Braid Theory, and he is talking about funding. It’s a complicated subject, or at least it can get that way, but I think one of the main complications is that people make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Many of the entrepreneurs that I talk with think that they should be looking for funding from an Angel group or VCs. Basically, to these entrepreneurs, that’s the only way they can think of to raise money for what they are doing. Starting a business is tough and oftentimes expensive so I understand why people, especially first time entrepreneurs, think that in order to raise funds they have to go through professional investors.

But that’s not the case. Not only is that not the case, the vast majority of startups do not get their first funds from professional investors. Ideas are great but they just don’t make for great investments all that frequently.

So, how do most startups get, well, started?

Self funding is one way. And raising funds from family and friends is another popular way for early stage companies. And the reason why is simple: you, your family, and your friends are the people most likely to believe in you. They are willing to take that chance… and it is a very big risk because most startups don’t end up making much, if any, money.

Jim did provide a couple of great tips for entrepreneurs who are approaching family and friends for investment funds:

  • Get it in writing!
    • Any agreement involving money and equity must be documented. Future investors will want to see who owns what and getting agreements written down will help to curtail any disagreements in the future.
  • If you don’t want your family and friends controlling your business sell them shares that do not include voting rights.
    • Selling equity that doesn’t come with voting rights is a normal thing in the startup world but most non-professional investors probably haven’t heard about this and might become offended if one of their family members or friends tries to sell them shares that don’t come with voting rights. Entrepreneurs should tread carefully here but the entrepreneur needs to be the leader and making the argument for why they need to maintain control of their business, especially during the earliest stages of a venture’s life.
  • Don’t raise more than $500,000 from family and friends
    • I think this is more a rule of thumb for Jim but I can see his reasoning here. Startups aren’t worth a lot in the beginning and $500,000 would probably represent a sizable chunk of the business’ equity. Sure, if an entrepreneur could convince a rich uncle to invest that amount of money and not require voting rights then the entrepreneur would still have control of his business but would probably only have a fraction of the equity.

Jim’s talk contained a lot more information than what I’ve been writing about. I hope that we will be able to publish some of the more important segments from Jim’s talk in the future as part of our Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship series. And to work with mentors like Jim and those that you can find at the CSUF Startup Incubator get in touch with us by sending us an email at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.


#CSUF

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Incubator

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:
http://business.fullerton.edu/Center/Entrepreneurship/Consulting

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:
http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:
http://bit.ly/csufknowledge