Monthly Archives: October 2015

How to Pitch your Business Idea in a Minute

John Chi, winner of the 2013 CSUF Business Plan Competition, presenting at the 2014 CSUF Fast Pitch Competition

John Chi, winner of the 2013 CSUF Business Plan Competition, presenting at the 2014 CSUF Fast Pitch Competition

The Titan Fast Pitch competition is on November 7 (Register now for a chance to win a scholarship) and I’m getting some questions on how to make an excellent pitch. To be sure, it’s a tough question and there is some creative license that goes into making a convincing pitch so no answer I give will be perfect.

For example: Do you highlight all the great things that your product can do? Is there a huge upside in the market you are trying to enter? Should you focus on your all star team?

Those are all great questions and the best person to answer them is you or someone who has a great deal of knowledge of your business. You have to look at your 60 second pitch as a teaser that will convince the person you are pitching to that they want more information about your business. This isn’t an easy thing to do and, like most everything else in life that matters, will take some practice.

Here’s a video from the guys who are running the National Startup League that gives some very helpful tips that focuses on the essentials of how to make an excellent pitch.

(If you’re in the CSUF area tonight at 6pm you can practice your pitch at our Incubator – details here)

#TitanFastPitch

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Titan Fast Pitch – Intro Video

Thanks to current CSUF student Willie Holmes we have an introductory video for the Titan Fast Pitch Competition!

Before we get to the video, however, I want to make sure that you are either competing in or attending the Titan Fast Pitch competition. If you haven’t done so already, go to http://csuffastpitch.com/ to register as a university or high school competitor or as a general audience member. There will be a ton of cool things there, including an Innovation Fair at the beginning showcasing many of the creative projects and business people in our community are working on, and you might even win some scholarships.

And here it is:


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Startup Leadership @ the CSUF Startup Incubator

Dave Kinnear will be giving a talk at the CSUF Startup Incubator on Wednesday, October 21 at 6pm. We hope to see you there!

Dave Kinnear will be giving a talk at the CSUF Startup Incubator on Wednesday, October 21 at 6pm. We hope to see you there!

On Wednesday, October 21, 2015 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM Dave Kinnear will give a talk titled “Startup Leadership” at the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia.

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO RSVP PLEASE CLICK HERE.

Dave Kinnear is a Executive Leadership Coach through his affiliation with Vistage International. He has also been a mentor in the CSUF Entrepreneurship program for many years as well as being a mentor to many startup and industry leaders. Through his experience he has developed a tried and true methodology for teaching effective leadership strategies that are proven to lead to more successful organizations.

His lessons are absolutely critical for any startup founder. Startup founders are tasked with managing a growing team that deal with large amounts of uncertainty and that can easily lead to volatile and destructive situations. Instead of trying to learn best practices through on the job training wouldn’t it be better to learn the proper framework for managing a startup from Dave?

We hope to see you there!

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO RSVP PLEASE CLICK HERE. Continue reading

CSUF Startup Incubator Resident Kevin Carr Featured by CSUF News

Kevin Carr, CSUF Startup Incubator Resident, has been hard at work launching his new business that will help customers end all email spam, sales  and robo-calls and restore their freedom to them.

Kevin Carr, CSUF Startup Incubator Resident, has been hard at work launching his new business that will help customers end all email spam, sales and robo-calls and restore their freedom to them. Photo Credit: CSUF News

Kevin Carr is a great guy; I have had dinner with him on multiple occasions and I can honestly say that he doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. He’s also one of those guys that is always positive, which is a definite plus for an entrepreneur and it’s a breath of fresh air… well, you get the picture.

Kevin has been a Resident at the CSUF Startup Incubator for a few months now diligently working on developing his business idea, called “my contact”. If you have ever met Kevin chances are you already know what this business will be doing for customers once it launches its suite of services. If you haven’t met him, and you definitely should, he’s at almost all of our events, so drop by to say “hi” if you have the time.

Today, my contact was featured in CSUF News; here’s a little bit about what Kevin’s business will do for its customers:

Kevin Carr has a vision: “Imagine a world without unwanted telemarketing calls and emails.”

While attending Cal State Fullerton, he developed the vision into a plan. And today, my contact™, is in early stage development. “We restore individuals’ privacy by rendering their contact information useless to telemarketers and email spammers,” explains the Class of ’98 business alumnus.

Carr’s budding business is one of 12 with multiple student/alumni founders starting their companies in the business incubator operated by the University’s Center for Entrepreneurship in Placentia.

Here’s a little more from the story, this time it’s about what Kevin’s experience with the CSUF Startup Incubator has been like so far:

“It’s easy to write down an idea on a napkin, but making it real is a whole different story. Working with the incubator keeps me focused on my goal,” says Carr. “Everyone at the incubator is at different stages in their projects, so it gives us an opportunity to learn together and from those who have been working on their project for a while.”

As part of the incubator residency, participants are offered assistance for business model validation, customer identification, formation as a legal entity, business plan revision and determination of necessary funding.

“After being accepted into the CSUF Startup Incubator, I was assigned a mentor,” explains Carr. “We meet weekly to go over the project and follow a plan that will help bring the idea to fruition.

“The best part about the incubator is the weekly feedback that I get from my mentor. Having a mentor gives me an opportunity to learn from someone, one- on-one, who has experience with start-ups while giving me an ‘outside-looking- in’ perspective,” he says. “And, my mentor helps to hold me accountable so I am more likely to complete the research, stay focused on the goal and move the project forward.”

To read the rest of the story on Kevin please click here.

And, as you know, we are always looking for new Residents at the CSUF Startup Incubator. We are looking  for creative people with innovative ideas and a willingness to be coached. If you think you fit that bill why don’t you send me an email at tlindsay@fullerton.edu and we can set up a meeting to talk further about what the CSUF Startup Incubator can do for your entrepreneurial dreams.


 

To stay in touch with the CSUF Entrepreneurship Program and all its subsidiaries (like the CSUF Startup Incubator and the Student-led Business Consulting Program) sign up to receive our email newsletter: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

Our events: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvents

#CSUFEntrepreneur

For more info on CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

#CSUFStartup

For more info on CSUF Startup Incubator: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

Cyber Security [EVENT]

Is your business secure? Would you like to know how to make it so? And meet some of the future cyber security experts at CSUF?

Well, you’re in luck! On November 13 Cal State Fullerton’s College of Engineering and Computer Science will host an event discussing this extremely important topic. Refer to the image below for information on how to RSVP.

Cyber Security Event @ CSUF

CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story: James Parr ’15

James Parr hard at work implementing an online marketing strategy his CSUF Student-led Business Consulting Team developed for Green Thumb Nurseries. After the completion of their project, Green Thumb Nurseries hired James to implement the recommendations that his team made.

James Parr hard at work implementing an online marketing strategy his CSUF Student-led Business Consulting Team developed for Green Thumb. After the completion of their project, Green Thumb hired James to implement the recommendations that his team made.

James Parr ’15 is currently finishing his double major in Entrepreneurship and Marketing at Cal State Fullerton and he is also currently working for one of our Student-led Business Consulting clients: Green Thumb. As you might expect, the project that James and his group did for Green Thumb directly led to his being hired by them.

Bud Bergquist was the client’s point person for this project as he is the Vice President of Green Thumb. According to Mr. Bergquist, he “engaged the [CSUF Student-led Consulting Program] to get an overview of Social media and Web based marketing. With the rapid changes in technology I thought it important to understand and improve our presence on the Internet.”

With this as their objective, James helped his team develop a strategy around a few different key topics such as:

  • Merchandising
  • Brand Identification and Development
  • Social Media Development
  • Website Development
  • Customer Cultivation and Retention Planning
  • Competitive Analysis

Speaking from personal experience I can tell you how audacious a project this is for any consulting firm. Honestly, social media development could have constituted a full project and would have resulted in extremely valuable recommendations for the client in and of itself. For a project with so many goals keeping focus is of the utmost importance and James was able to help his team in that area.

Green Thumb Nursery LogoJames commented to me that he “organized a lot of our ideas into action [items] and came up with the structure to our report. I was constantly in contact with Mr. Bergquist and worked consistently on improving my section of the report [and helping others with theirs] throughout the semester.”

Frequent contact with the client and diligently working on improving the project are cornerstones of our program and James epitomized this ethos with the project his team did for Green Thumb. All of our students have their unique abilities but what tends to make a good student great is the willingness to put in the time and effort; the results from this particular project proved that out.

Mr. Bergquist was gracious enough to comment further on this project and on James in particular:

We are implementing a number of the recommendations currently. These include building a website as well as developing an active presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Because of the content in the team’s report we have hired James to spearhead our Social Media campaign.

I thought it was a high value report and would recommend your consulting program to anyone that might ask.

That is definitely high praise and, as Mr. Bergquist alluded to, James is currently employed by Green Thumb to oversee their social media strategy and development planning, a position that he has had since May of this year. This position is absolutely critical to Green Thumb’s strategic goal of having a more robust online presence that will lead to increased sales and customer engagement. From James, his responsibilities include:

I manage all of the companies 5 location’s social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, and Pinterest. I designed the company a new logo. I rebuilt their corporate website from the ground up and have implemented many new things that were not in place before such as Garden Blogging, implemented ecommerce for sod, fountains and gift cards (much of the entire store is planned to be online within the next year), a plant library which showcases information on all of the company’s plants online, so customer’s can input specific criteria and find the perfect plant for their garden, and much more. SEO strategy with tagging, keyword planner, etc. I have also been busy organizing new events for the stores to improve business during the slow seasons, I design the flyers for the events, I design the signage for the store. I could probably go on forever on what I have planned for this business so I think I’ll stop there just for time sake. I really look forward to working with this company and assisting them on their journey online. 

We are very happy for James and Green Thumb. Every semester we complete approximately sixty such projects at the undergraduate and MBA levels for our clients. Our clients have many great things to say about their experiences with our student-consultants and we are always looking for new clients to join our program. If you are interested in our Student-led Business Consulting Program please click here for more information or get in touch with us at csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu and we’ll be delighted to give you more information about how our program can help your company.

CSUF Entrepreneurship Board Member Andrew Carroll on Critical Mass Radio Show

Andrew Carroll (right) posing for picture before interview on Critical Mass Radio Show. Andrew is a distinguished Board Member for the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Andrew Carroll (right) posing for picture before interview on Critical Mass Radio Show.
Andrew is a distinguished Board Member for the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Being a Board Member for the Center for Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. We expect a lot from our Board Members frequently calling on them for their sage advice and unique perspectives. Our Board Members’ service is absolutely critical for the Center for Entrepreneurship because it is thanks to this guidance and active assistance we are able to accomplish many of the initiatives that we undertake.

One such Board Member is Andrew Carroll, the General Manager of NCH Wealth & Tax Advisors and a longstanding Board Member for the Center for Entrepreneurship. Andrew recently was interviewed by Richard Franzi on the Critical Mass Radio Show. Here’s a little about NCH Wealth & Tax Advisors from their website with a link to the audio from the radio show to follow:

Located in Fullerton, California, NCH Tax & Wealth Advisors, Inc. is a full-service CPA firm offering Tax, Accounting, and Financial Planning.

We offer a broad range of services for business owners, executives and independent professionals. Our rates are affordable. We are experienced and we’re friendly. Please call us for a free initial consultation.

Our services encompass nearly every aspect of financial life. We are experienced in all matters of accounting and taxation, IRS problem resolution, estates and trusts, business formation, financial planning and investment, real estate and business sales.

Our firm’s reputation for providing quality service reflects the high standards we demand of ourselves. Our high standards, responsive service and specialized staff spell the difference between our firm and the rest.

Link to Andrew Carroll’s interview on the Critical Mass Radio Show