Monthly Archives: February 2012

Entrepreneur Society Fundraiser

What are you doing tomorrow for lunch? If you are going to be on campus you should check out the Entrepreneur Society’s HotDog Fundraiser. They provide an excellent service to CSUF’s student body by helping budding entrepreneurs achieve their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Here’s a little bit from the Society itself:

Hi Everybody! This is Entrepreneur Society Club. We are hosting the hotdog fundraiser for this Tuesday from 8am to 5 pm at Central Squad.

The food will be so yummy, so you guys can numnum for the whole day! 🙂

Save your hungry for us and Check out our menu on Tuesday right here!

For more information you can visit their Facebook Page and you can also take a look at their menu for tomorrow by lowering your eyes an inch or so.

Come and support CSUF's Entrepreneurship Society

Entrepreneurship Scholarships

CSUF Entrepreneurship Scholarship Winner Award Ceremony

Look at that picture. Last year Haleigh, the one holding the certificate, won $3,000 as the Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship recipient. Maybe she used that money to pay off student loans or start a business. Whatever she did with the money is immaterial. What’s important here is that she earned that money and was able to something with it.

What about you? What could you do with an extra $3,000? Maybe you have a lot of debt – that $3,000 would help. Even if you don’t win the $3,000 prize that doesn’t prevent you from winning the $1,000 Steve Keller Memorial Scholarship does it? Even though $1,000 is less than $3,000 I bet you could still figure out how to spend it.

The funny thing is that year in, year out we do not receive a lot of applications for these scholarships. Do you people not like free money? Don’t be like the curmudgeonly baby on that Jimmy Fallon credit card commercial. Sign up for these scholarships!

Here’s the link to the form. Please submit one form along with the necessary supporting paperwork, which is specified on the application, for each scholarship to SGMH 3280. Somebody will surely be in the office during the afternoons from Monday through Thursday. Applications are due by March 2nd, which is just around the corner, so get busy.

PS: What follows are the rules and terms for each scholarship.

Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers Entrepreneurial Scholarship

Amount: $3,000

Established by: This scholarship was established by Conrey Insurance Brokers and Risk Managers on behalf of the Entrepreneurship Program in the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, Cal State

Open to: This scholarship is open to full-time students in their junior year, entering their senior year in the upcoming fall semester—all applicants must be majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

Criteria: 2.5 GPA (employed and/or extracurricular activities) ♦ 3.0 GPA (unemployed or not involved in extracurricular activities)

Application Procedure: 1) Complete the SA application, answering all 7 questions, and sign the certification; and 2) Submit application to the Department of Management, Center for Entrepreneurship SGMH 3280.

Application Deadline: March 2

Steve Keller Memorial Scholarship

Amount: $1,000

Established by: This scholarship was established by Bemus Landscape, Inc. in memory of Steve Keller on behalf of the Entrepreneurship Program at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, California State University, Fullerton.

Open to: This scholarship is open to juniors and seniors who are beginning their last year of study—all applicants must be majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.

Criteria: 3.0 GPA ♦ Extracurricular activities ♦ Financial need

Application Procedure: 1) Complete the SA application, answering all 7 questions, and sign the certification; 2) Include a statement of financial need; and 3) Submit application to the Department of Management, Center for Entrepreneurship SGMH 3280.

Application Deadline: March 2

PPS: There are probably 100+ scholarships HERE for business students. It looks like they were all due March 2nd so you don’t have much time to submit your applications.

Like, you know, isn’t this a great idea?

Take any entrepreneurship class or read any entrepreneurship book and you’ll learn about all the elements that make up a business plan and what goes into each element. Many also have advice on how to package the business plan and investor presentation in a way that caters to the investors’ interests. There are also many articles on topics such as making your business plans more persuasive or how to better connect with your audience. What is left unsaid is that all of this must be presented in a manner that looks professional and does not embarrass your English teacher. Remember that, first and foremost, investors are investing in you.

In this age where we communicate in smaller intervals, it has become too easy to ignore the rules of grammar. Many of us (myself included) write entirely in lower-case when emailing our friends. We rarely use complete sentences when texting and much of what we text is slang or abbreviation. Since most people who are no longer in school do not have to write anything more than a lengthy email, it has become very easy to forget how to write and communicate well.

Here are some basic tips to help improve your grammar:
• Use the spell check and grammar check feature of your word processor or presentation program. This may sound like a no-brainer, but I have seen too many business plans and presentations that contain errors that could have been fixed by taking full advantage of the software tools available.
• A good general rule to follow is that anything that is appropriate when texting is not appropriate in a professional document or presentation.
• Get someone else to proofread a document that you are going to share with an external party. A co-founder is a good start. Even better is to have someone who is not associated with the business (e.g., a spouse, friend, etc.) review the document.
• Do not confuse “effect” and “affect.” “Effect” is typically a noun, meaning some consequence or result. “Affect” is typically a verb, meaning to bring about an effect.
• Do not confuse “its” and “it’s.” “Its” is the possessive form of “it,” whereas “it’s” is a contraction for “it is.”
• Do not confuse “there”, “their” and “they are.” Use “there” when referring to a place or location. Use “their” when indicating possession. Use “they’re” (a contraction of the words “they” and “are”) to indicate that the subjects are taking action.
• Use “i.e.” and “e.g.” appropriately. The abbreviation “i.e.” means “that is,” so i.e. is a way of saying “in other words.” It is designed to make something clearer by providing a definition or saying it in a more common way. The abbreviation “e.g.” means “for example”, so e.g. is used before giving specific examples that support your assertion.
• Write out numbers from one to nine, and use numerals for numbers larger than nine.

Here are some basic tips to help improve your communication skills when presenting:
• Do not say the word “like” unless you are comparing something.
• Do not say the words “you know” at the end of a statement.
• There is nothing wrong with silence when pondering something. Do not fill it with “aahs” and “umms.”
• Conduct a practice session and record it. The video will clearly reveal how you appear to an audience member and what you can do differently next time to improve.

What are some other tips you would like to share that can help improve our grammar and communication skills?

Dr. Atul Teckchandani
CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor

Business Model Generation

The most important part of the planning process in starting a new venture is putting together the business model. A business model communicates all of the activities that affect how the firm competes in the marketplace. Investors want to know how the business will deliver value – to customers, partners, employees, and shareholders. Articulating a firm’s business model in a manner that is easy to understand can help improve the effectiveness of your elevator pitches and presentations.

I recently came across a book called “Business Model Generation” that helps you do just that by advocating a very creative and visual approach for creating business models. At the heart of this book is a tool they call the “Business Model Canvas” (it can be downloaded here: The canvas has a section for each component of a business model (e.g., value proposition, key partners, customer segments, etc.). The idea is to use sticky notes to populate the canvas and then draw on it to explain your business model as a narrative. If done well, the canvas can help you tell a convincing story for the value of your business. The visual nature of the canvas makes it easy to use, less intimidating than most other tools, and a fun exercise to do in teams.

Dr. Atul Teckchandani
CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor

Different Ways to Expand Your Business

Sooner or later growing businesses will reach a point where they have saturated their current market. After all, there are only so many people who are willing to rent movies from a kiosk. But that did not stop Redbox from figuring out a different way to grow.

According to Inc. Redbox and Verizon are now teaming up to offer online movie streaming, which makes it a direct competitor of Netflix now. Here is a snippet from the story:

The co-investment with Verizon is an adjacency move that, importantly, opens a new front for Redbox. The best way to think about new adjacency opportunities is along various dimensions, such as new customer segments, channels, geographies, product segments, or strategic moves along the value chain. In this case, Coinstar is building a new channel with the same product by taking their kiosk-based movie business and expanding it online. Previously, Coinstar’s strategic investments focused on expanding its product offerings within the existing kiosk distribution channel.

As you can see from this concise knowledge nugget from Inc. there are a number of ways for you to grow your business. What follows are little examples for each customer base growing method:

Customer Segments: Most companies break down their customers into groups based off of demography. Although some people argue that this is an outmoded way of thinking many companies still live by it. In order to grow this way you have to move from only serving Segment A (middle aged college graduates with 1+ children in college who live in the suburbs) to also serving Segment B (middle aged high school graduates with 1+ children in college who live in the cities).

Channels: This is all about how you get your products/services to your customers. Redbox suffices as an example in this instance because they are adding online streaming as an additional channel to their already established kiosk channel.

Geographies: Fairly self explanatory. If, for example, In-N-Out were to expand into other parts of the country that would be an example of expansion through geography.

Product Segments: Product segmentation is a way to distinguish products based off of what they do and how they are perceived. For example, if Ferrari were to decide they were going to create an affordable sedan they would be going into a different product segment.

Value Chain: Products don’t just happen, they are built. The mining company retrieves the metals, the metals are shipped to a processing company, metals processed into… eventually an iPad gets made. For the most part there is a separate company at each of those steps. If, however, Apple wanted to take over one or more extra steps in the value chain then that would suffice as a move along the value chain.

What do you think? Will Redbox eclipse Netflix as the major movie rental company anytime soon?

Travis Lindsay
Center for Entrepreneurship

The Tailored Resume

We all know it is tough to find a job right now, but what makes life particularly difficult for the job seeker is the sheer number of people applying for any given job.  Depending on your skills and the position available, your resume may easily be one of hundreds.  How can you make your resume stand out in this competitive climate?

This seems challenging enough, but consider the following.  According to a January 2012 article in the Wall Street Journal, by Lauren Weber, many companies are relying on software to sift through the sheer mass of resumes they receive for a job opening.  Large companies, in particular, are very likely to have software filtering software, because these companies usually receive a high volume of applicants.

These kinds of software use keywords and other filtering techniques to sort out the less qualified candidates.  If you make this first cut, you may be invited to a phone or in-person interview.  But you must pass the automated software’s requirements first.

Also, simply being qualified for a position is not enough.  You must take 100% responsibility for yourself and take the time to tailor your resume for each and every position that you pursue. The days of sending the one resume to many companies are over.

It may seem tedious, but it can very effective.  It is possible to customize your resume for every position you apply for.  Pay attention to the job description, read the company website, and find out whatever you can about this particular company and/or position.  Sprinkle these keywords and ideas in your resume.  You need to speak the hiring firm’s language.

In this way, you are also preparing yourself for a future interview.  You will know ahead of time what they are looking for in a candidate.

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship


Business Plan Competition

You find yourself today on the wrong side of the line. The side you are on is the side where you are still just a student taking classes, doing homework, going to work; you know, the usual stuff. On the other side of the line is where the entrepreneurs stand. Those brave souls who have taken the imaginative leap into creating something new and useful.

But don’t get depressed. This really isn’t something that rises to the level of needing to be fretted over either. Why? Because you still have time to go your own way. One potential first step you can take is to enter the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Business Plan Competition. That link is your guide towards taking that first step to becoming an entrepreneur.

Maybe now you’re asking yourself “Why does this competition need to be my first step?” Truthfully, it doesn’t have to be your first step. Maybe you are well on your way to launching your own business thanks to our New Venture Launch class taught by Dr. Teckchandani and Professor Jackson or the New Venture Creation course taught by Dr. Obstfeld. Maybe you’re just really good at this all on your own.

But for everybody else (and by “everybody” I mean all CSUF students and those of you who aren’t students but who can convince a CSUF student to be on your team) I strongly suggest entering the Business Plan Competition. This competition will expose you to the rigors of creating a business plan and will also give you access to mentors and local professionals who are great sources for information and inspiration.

Your first step will be to get onto TITANium, do a search for “Business Plan Competition” on the communities section and sign up by agreeing to our competition rules (you don’t have to agree but if you don’t you can’t participate). Your next step will be to fill out the Business Concept Application, which can be found on our TITANium community page, and submit it by Sunday, February 19th, by midnight.

After diligently reviewing your submissions and picking those who advance to the semifinals there will be some more tasks for you to complete. For example, there is the presentation of your business idea (and they can be more than ideas, they can be businesses that you have already started but it’s safe to say that businesses that have been around for a long time need not apply) to a panel of local entrepreneurs/professionals/investors.

For those of you who have already presented to a panel like this in our 465 A & B courses you know how exciting these presentations can be. And they are extraordinarily helpful to you as well because you have the opportunity to present to people who one day might be your partners or investors.

There you have it. Are you in or out?