Monthly Archives: August 2012

CSUF MBA Students Available for Consulting

Strategy is all about making the right choices. CSUF MBA teams are available now to help you create a comprehensive strategic review of your company with 3-5 year projections and a plan of action.

Analysis of future company directions will be based on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Options could include strategic alliances, acquisitions, or divestiture. A final report will provide detailed action plans, time lines and budgets. This review can contribute to a sustained competitive advantage and enhanced firm value.

For nearly two decades, CSUF MBAs have been helping business owners like you develop successful business strategies that have improved profits. We have had an extraordinary record of success. Please check out our client testimonials.

As a client you will be matched with a student consulting team and instructor. The objective of the team’s consulting project is to help you make lasting improvements in your business. By trusting us, and participating in our consulting process, you will have the opportunity to:

(1) Receive practical recommendations for improving your venture. They will be summarized in a final presentation and detailed in a written report.

(2) Learn how the students did their research. In the future, you can use the same methods to tackle your business challenges.

(3) Obtain a fresh, independent view of your venture, and new ideas helpful to your business.

To be considered please complete our Request for Consulting Application. We have a few spaces remaining and encourage you to submit your application today. Client involvement will begin mid September. Please contact Ms. Charlesetta Medina, Field Case Coordinator, at 657 278 8243 or by email at cymedina@fullerton.edu.

 

The CrashRespond Challenge – Build an App that Sells while in School and Working Full-Time (Part 1)

This post was republished with permission from the BDEC, Irvine.

This series of posts will walk you through the process of planning, market testing and developing an app. The app we’ll talk about is called CrashRespond. It will automatically detect car accidents and upon detection, send a text and email alert to up to 3 pre-selected contacts.

Our goal is to give worried parents of new drivers some much needed piece of mind for $2-$5. We believe that when parents are worried about their kids driving around out in the world, they will relax knowing that CrashRespond would notify them if their kids were involved in a serious accident.

Research the Competition
We found several apps that would detect car accidents automatically, but they all had fewer than 100 sales. We attribute the poor sales to the fact that these apps required the user to activate the app before getting in car! We will market this app to parents for their kids, and there is no way you’ll get a teenager to remember to activate an app before they start driving. If we get CrashRespond to activate automatically once the user started driving (by monitoring GPS location to detect speed), we could succeed where other apps failed.

After researching the competition, we set about following the Lean Startup Method by identifying our core business hypotheses(beliefs upon which our business will succeed or fail) and testing them.

Hypothesis 1: Parents would be willing to purchase this app for their new-driver son/daughter.

To test this hypothesis we created this survey, and we used it to interview random people at a local outdoor mall and handout to our friends and family. After 2 weeks and 208 responses, here is what we learned:

  • Most parents(52%) would purchase the app based on its description in the survey.
  • 30% of parents said they would purchase the app depending on how much the app cost, whether there was the possibility of false-positives and whether or not the app drained phone resources.
  • The average price that parents said they would pay for this app is $5.52.
  • 18% of parents said they would not purchase the app because they believe CrashRespond will cause them to worry unnecessarily.
  • 23 people gave us their email addresses because they wanted to be updated when the app was finally released

You can see the full results of the survey at the end of this post.

We believe that we can convert the majority of the ‘Depends on…’ responses into ‘Yes’ responses just by having a well-made and reliable final product. If this is correct, then our survey effectively has an 82% ‘Yes’ response rate! Satisfied that there is a market for CrashRespond, we then set out to determine the technical feasibility of the idea.

Hypothesis 2: CrashRespond can be automatically activated once the user is driving

To test H2, we contacted local developers (and CSUF alums), Prosperitech, gave them our specifications and requested a quote.

Prosperitech researched the app with their development team and concluded that the app can be created according to our specifications, but only on the Android platform. iOS has several restrictions that prevent apps from using the GPS to automatically determine when the user is in motion and from accessing the phone’s cell service and contacts list to send automatic messages in the event of an accident.

Hypothesis 3: There are enough 14-18 year olds with Android phones to justify the development of this app

We tested this Hypothesis in two steps:

1. Pew Research says that, as of March 2012, 23% of kids aged 12-17 own a smart phone.
Source: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Teens-and-smartphones/Cell-phone-ownership/Smartphones.aspx

2. 2010 census data gives us the population for 10-14 year olds(20 mill) and 15-19 year olds(22 mill), so we can’t get a direct comparison. But if we just assume that half of 10-14 year olds are over 12, then we know that there are approx. 10 mill 12-14 year olds. Using the same math we can say there are 11 mill 15-17 yr olds.
Source: http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/12s0007.pdf

Total potential customers = 4.8 million (22 mill 12-17 yr olds * 23% smartphone adoption)

These numbers, though rough, give us a basic understanding of our potential market size.

Next steps…
We have a quote for development and basic marketability information. Next, we’ll test our 4th Hypothesis: That we can generate interest and drive sales of the app through it’s website. We’ll test this by creating a full-fledged sales website for the app. H4 will be proven true if a certain percentage of site visitors click the “Download this app now” button. The button will take users to an email signup form, but its safe to assume that the users who click the button would have purchased the app if it was available. We’ll drive customers to the site by taking advantage of $100 free Google AdWords credit that I get as a member of the Google Engage program and $50 free Facebook ads that I got when I purchased a Facebook Marketing book.

What do you think? Did we miss anything? Do you think that our survey was so unscientific that it can’t be used even to roughly judge customer interest? Do you disagree with our market size estimates? Sound off in the comments, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

Get a Job Promoting Sony Products

Are you looking for a part-time job opportunity that allows you to make your own hours, has great pay, and gives you the opportunity to represent a reputable worldwide leader in the electronics industry? 

 College students, have we got a position for you!

Volt Workforce solutions is currently hiring student ambassadors to help promote Sony Electronics Inc. products. If you’re an innovative, self-motivated, go-getter who enjoys sharing the latest technology with others, don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity!

  • Flexible hours / Part-time work, 10-15 hrs/week
  • No sales at all- promotion only!
  • Great pay- $12/hr
  • Work for a well known, household name brand! A world-wide leader in the electronics industry!
  • Be the FIRST to test, explore, and promote new products!
  • Build a strong network with others doing the same thing you do on campuses nationwide!

If you are interested in this opportunity, contact Brittney Santana at (858) 578-0920 or email her at bsantana@volt.com or contact Julian Gonzalez @ (858) 578-0920 or email him at jjgonzalez@volt.com

Does your Company need an Operations Tuneup?

Over the years CSUF has consulted for dozens of companies in the area of Operations. Some of these companies were operating pretty smoothly while others needed an outsider’s perspective. But the common theme throughout all of these cases is that every company can benefit from an Operations tune up.
Student Consulting Team - Operations
Let’s face it; you may not have the time to dedicate the resources necessary to improving your operations. Maybe it’s been a few years since the last time you made any changes to your processes or the controls. The last few years you may have dedicated your time to creating cash flow in this tumultuous economy. We understand.

But have you ever wondered how you can improve things in these areas? The good news is that our Student Consulting Teams from CSUF can help put you on the right track.

Under the guidance of a veteran Professor and a seasoned Coach from the private sector, our teams have helped many companies in the area of Operations. During the semester your Student Consulting Team will meet with you and your team to brainstorm strategies to help your business. As the Student Consulting Team members start gathering information they will develop a comprehensive strategy and implementation plan for your business in the area of Operations.
 
After they have completed their project they will present you with a full report on their findings and give a presentation to you regarding this information. The teams typically dedicate 300 or more hours on a project. That’s an amazing value for the small fee our clients pay.

Recent CSUF client Robert S. Kreisberg, President of Opus Productivity Solutions, said:

“Like many entrepreneurs that have run a successful business, I got locked into the various tasks at hand and did not take the time to review the overall work process. The student consultants forced me to re-think many of the strategies that I had in place.”

Chances are your business would benefit from going through this consulting process as well. We only have a limited number of spaces available and we try to serve in order of receipt. Please complete and return the Request for Consulting application today! If you have any questions regarding the consulting process, please contact Charlesetta Medina today at (657) 278-8243 or by email at cymedina@fullerton.edu for more information. You can also learn more about our program here.

Resume Do’s and Don’ts

When applying for a job, you send in a resume. And so does everyone else. When you consider the high volume of resumes that companies have to sift through to find their ideal candidate, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can put you in the ‘no’ pile. Hiring managers will take just a few seconds to decide if they like your resume or not. Here are some tips to make sure your resume makes it to the right pile.

DO:
– Customize your resume for the particular position you are applying for. Tweak the language to highlight areas and skills that you know are relevant to this job.
– Describe your achievements and skills, using quantifiable data when possible.
– Use spell check and correct grammar.
– Make sure your formatting is simple and easy to read.
– Keep your resume length to 1-2 pages.
– Use clear and unambiguous language.

DON’T:

– Simply fill in an online template with your information. This can be used a guide if you’re writing your first resume, but make sure to tailor your resume to focus on your unique skill set.
– List your responsibilities and think that’s sufficient.
– Use filler words and phrases like “a people person”, “a team player”, “responsible for”, “hard worker”, and “detail oriented.”
– Use your AOL email address from seventh grade. “Surfergrllxoxo89” (and so forth) is less professional than something like “JenSmith”
– Use one resume for every position to which you apply.
– Make silly typos or use sloppy grammar/punctuation.
– Include irrelevant or out-of-date job history.
– Include your hobbies, personal history, or anything that is not business-related.
– Fabricate or exaggerate work experience or skills. This won’t end well.

These tips can help ensure your resume doesn’t immediately end up in the trash. The goal of a well-written resume is to get you to the next step in the hiring process, which is usually the interview. Your resume is frequently the first impression you can give a potential employer, so make it count.

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fulleton.edu

Is College Necessary for Entrepreneurs?

What follows is a post from Dr. Atul Teckchandani, one of the great professors teaching Entrepreneurship at CSUF.

While most of the people who come to my office are college students, I recently had an individual come who had just graduated high school. He came to see me because he wanted to be an entrepreneur and then he posed the following question: “If I want to be an entrepreneur, why do I need to go to college?” He went on to say that many of his peers who went to college graduate with thousands of dollars of student loans, and paying off these loans often means deferring their dreams. That same money could also be used to start a business.

I believe that he raises a valid concern. College is not for everyone and not every career path requires a college degree. The key issue here is whether college offers value to budding entrepreneurs. If someone knows that he or she wants to be an entrepreneur, what type of business they want to start, and has the funds to do it, why wait for four (or more) years?

After considerable thought, I believe that college does offer significant benefits to people interested in becoming entrepreneurs. Specifically,

1. College helps you acquire the skills needed to launch and grow a business

In college, you learn about the various functional areas of a business (e.g., finance, marketing, management, operations) as well as any other skills relevant to your future business. If you are interested in starting technology firms, you can take classes in the computer science or engineering departments. If you are interested in starting an editing business, you can take classes in the English department. If you are interested in starting a firm in the medical industry, you can take some classes in the hard sciences. The learning potential is endless.

Moreover, universities that have an entrepreneurship program (such as the one where I work) help you learn skills that are directly relevant to being successful as an entrepreneur, provide opportunities to work directly with local entrepreneurs and small businesses, and offer resources to support your entrepreneurial success (e.g., business plan competitions, incubators, etc.). While an entrepreneur does not need to be an expert in everything related to their business, you should know enough about any functional area so that if the person(s) you are supervising are not competent or try to do something illegal or unethical, you will be able to catch it before it does considerable harm to your firm.

2. College helps young entrepreneurs assemble a well-rounded team.

We all know one of the most important benefits of college is social. Many of us met our best friends in college. College is a great place to meet co-founders and expand your network. Nowhere else will you be able to meet so many different people from different backgrounds so easily and so often.

3. College gives you credibility.A college degree gives you a basic level of credibility and facilitates your ability to get experience in the industry in which you want to start their firm.

Interestingly, for those who want to be entrepreneurs, there are some new educational alternatives  to the traditional business-school experience that are worth examining. Note that most of these programs require interested students to already be enrolled in the sponsoring university and most are for graduate students. So the idea of receiving training to become an entrepreneur while avoiding universities altogether still does not seem like a good idea.Setting you up to gain experience in the industry in which your business will operate and helping you expand your social networks are important resources that can influence the likelihood of success for your future entrepreneurial endeavors. Of course, this requires a significant commitment of both time and financial resources. As Andrew Carnegie said, “anything in life worth having is worth working for.”

[Image: 401(K) 2012 | flickr]

CSUF Consulting – HR Audit

When business owners struggle to improve operational efficiency and profitability, they often overlook Human Resources. Maybe this is due to a perception that Human Resources and Leadership is “too soft” a topic to warrant spending precious cash. Yet, studies show human resources improvements can have significant long term ROI.

Maybe it’s time to consider a Human Resources audit with California State University, Fullerton’s award-winning Student Consulting Program.  CSUF utilizes a time-tested approach used by top consultants today to identify and prescribe remedies for problems with Human Resources and Leadership. Typical problems include:

  • Little commitment or motivation among employees
  • Low productivity or innovativeness
  • Conflict or tension among employee groups
  • Poorly defined or organized tasks
  • Inadequate training or socialization
  • Weaknesses of a new management program or organizational design
  • Managing the transition from an entrepreneurial organization to a mature one
  • Determination of weak spots in culture
If any of these HR problems look familiar, then consider hiring CSUF to evaluate your company. The approach includes: critical tasks and work flows; formal organizational arrangements; people and culture. Once the analysis has been completed and the root causes have been determined the students, with the guidance of an experienced faculty member and a veteran coach from the business community, will recommend solutions. The students will then present their findings in-person and will also create a report that details their analysis and recommendations.

CSUF consulting gets rave reviews. One client recently said, “This was far and away the best experience we ever had with an outside consultant. The results were worth possibly 20 or 30 times the small fee we paid.”

We only have a limited number of spaces available and we try to serve in order of receipt. Please complete and return the Request for Consulting Application today! If you have any questions regarding the consulting process, please contact Ms. Charlesetta Medina today at (657) 278-8243 or by email at cymedina@fullerton.edu. You can also learn more about our program here.