Monthly Archives: December 2016

Pop Art for a New Generation

Geoff Pascual '16 creating art and a business

Geoff Pascual ’16 creating art and a business

Children are taught to embrace life and experience different activities and hobbies like art. For most most people, art is a hobby and for those who pursue art as a vocation many find commercial success elusive. Cal State Fullerton alumni Geoff Pascual ’16 has already had some commercial success with his company Pascual Productions through which Geoff sells his pop art originals and prints online and at conventions. Earlier this year, Geoff entered the CSUF Startup Incubator where, with the help of Incubator staff and mentors, Geoff explored new avenues to promote and sell his creations, one of which is close to coming to fruition (more on this on a later date!).

Starting from a young age, Geoff was a skilled artist and received compliments from teachers and students who admired his work. “I started to see my identity as an artist form in elementary school. After getting a lot of positive feedback of my artwork from my friends, I wanted to get better. My classmates would ask me to draw them stuff and I would basically draw whatever they wanted.”

As he continued to grow and increase his skills, Geoff began to branch out and test various mediums for his art. Through a process of trial and error, he found his niche after working with water colors. While water colors are difficult to master, the challenge that it provided for Geoff only helped to make him a better artist.

“I first tried a bunch of different mediums: oil, acrylic, tattooing, markers, spray paint, sculpting, etc. and watercolor was the medium I decided to stick with. I enjoy watercolor because it’s the most difficult. You have to manipulate it to do what you want it do. Traditional art in general has a very alive feel to it,” said Pascual.

As a young artist just entering college, Geoff continued to improve his work while adding more pieces to his ever growing portfolio. With the knowledge attained from his classes, and the support of his sister, Geoff decided to follow through on the next step of his dream and began selling his artwork online. Unbeknownst to him at the time, selling his artwork online was the best move that Geoff could have made.

“I wanted to start selling my artwork online using Etsy. It prompted me to have to think of a store name, so with the help of my older sister I came up with Pascual Productions. At that time, I hadn’t intended to or even expected Pascual Productions to be where it is today, and I’m glad I stuck with it,” said Pascual.

By using the knowledge he attained from his entrepreneurship classes at CSUF, Geoff was able to make his work stand out from the competition. These tactics became invaluable as Geoff continued to build Pascual Productions so that his work reflected the lessons and ideals he was taught as a business major.

“Being a business major in and of itself sets me apart as an artist. It’s a decision I made for myself that worked for me, and I’m positive that my time in business school has contributed to the success of Pascual Productions. From inventory management to business communication situations, I see myself using the skills I learned at Fullerton every day,” said Pascual.

With his continued success online and at local conventions, Geoff was accepted into the CSUF Startup Incubator as a Resident entrepreneur. Looking back at this, Geoff felt that working with the Incubator was the most beneficial move he could have made for business.

“The Incubator has great mentors from all walks of life that I can go to for any questions I have. I would say the networking and information shared at the Incubator is very valuable. It’s opened a lot of opportunities for me in improving my business. It helps to get another person’s perspective,” said Pascual.

Currently, Geoff continues to be met with success as he continues to sell his artwork online and at conventions like Comic-Con.

“The fun part happens when I get to interact with customers and meet a bunch of artists and people in the industry. It’s also a great place to network and get your name out there. You have professionals from the comic, video game, and movie industries just walking the convention floor seeking new talent. If you haven’t been to a convention before, you really need to just experience it for yourself. I’ve meet some of my best friends at these conventions and it’s a close knit community that I’m glad to be a part of,” said Pascual.

By creating a successful business, Geoff has blazed a path for future entrepreneurs in the pop art industry at CSUF. While Geoff’s love of art started out as a hobby, Geoff’s passion and dedication in creating his own business has made him into the success he is today. In terms of those looking to start a business like Geoff, he suggests that students do anything they can to make it work: perseverance is critical. While struggle and hardships are to be expected in the initial stages, the passion and drive of a person has for their idea is much more likely to lead them to success as long as they continue to believe in themselves.

“Use the talents and skills that you’ve been given in a way that works for you. There’s a lot of wasted talent because people get stuck thinking there’s only one way of doing things. You have to make moves. If something isn’t working change it up. There’s always another way. Connect with others because you can’t do it alone. No matter where you’re going there will be people out there willing to help you if you let them.”

As Pascual Productions continues to grow, one thing is abundantly clear. Through the help and support of the CSUF Startup Incubator, anything is possible for the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.


#CSUF #CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

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

Happy Holidays from CSUF Entrepreneurship

CSUF Startup Incubator staff with MBA consulting team

CSUF Startup Incubator staff with MBA consulting team

This is the last CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider of 2016 and we want to thank everyone who contributed to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community! Without all of you we could not have accomplished nearly as much as we did.

2016 is winding down and we sincerely hope that you are finding some time to spend with family and friends.

I know that this is a busy time of year for everyone but I wanted to take some time to highlight a couple of recent activities at CSUF Entrepreneurship.

First off, we have accepted our 21st Resident at the CSUF Startup Incubator: a current CSUF student majoring in Entrepreneurship, Jonny May. Jonny is an exceptional student and budding entrepreneur and you can learn more about him and our entrepreneurship classes by reading this article.

As part of a university, our primary mandate is to educate the next generation of entrepreneurs but our efforts do not stop with students like Jonny. Every year, we host dozens of seminars aimed at helping the broader CSUF Entrepreneurship community and we publish videos of many of these talks. One recent talk that I think will resonate well with everyone who is thinking about starting a business was given by serial entrepreneur and author Damon Brown, titled: Why You Can And Should Start Your Side Hustle Immediately. Clicking on the link in the previous sentence will take you to the video of his talk and I hope that it inspires you to start something innovative in 2017.

All of our events can be found by going to our Eventbrite page and they include talks by entrepreneurs and subject matter experts in a wide range of fields as well as office hours hosted by mentors from our program and staff. This week, Entrepreneur in Residence Travis Lindsay will be hosting office hours from 3pm to 5pm on Tuesday and Wednesday at our CSUF Startup Incubator office in Placentia to help with any startup or business related questions attendees have. (No promises, but I might also be at his office hours on Wednesday.)

For members of our community that already have businesses we have the CSUF Consulting program. Every semester the CSUF Consulting program works hand in hand with businesses large and small to identify powerful new opportunities that they would have otherwise missed out on. One shining example of this is the work we did with Hilton Hotels to help them identify substantial cost savings by doing a deep dive into their operations.

No matter how you contribute to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community I just want to say Thank You. None of this would be possible without the contributions of thousands of individuals like yourself.

Sincerely,

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

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CSUF Startup Incubator Featured in CSU News Article

CSUF Startup Incubator Director John Bradley Jackson (right) on the cover of the most recent Mihaylo Magazine with CSUF Startup Incubator Resident and recent graduate John Tsui (left)

News of the CSUF Startup Incubator has filtered up to the reporters for the entire Cal State University system! In an article titled How to Hatch a Company: The CSU’s Incubators and Accelerators, the CSUF Startup Incubator was featured. Here’s the bit about us:

Based at the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, Center for Entrepreneurship, at CSU Fullerton, this incubator focuses on making an economic impact in the local community, says John B. Jackson, director of the center.

Founded in 2015, this mixed-use incubator has helped 20 startups to date. “We prefer scalable businesses,” says Jackson. “And we like to start slow and become bigger.”

Based on the principles of The Lean Startup, the incubator, which charges a fee, assigns each student a mentor and a team of five or six students that work to help entrepreneurs find a profitable, sustainable business.

One success story: A graduate student in information systems developed a drone program to perform preliminary inspections of bridges. “Typically an engineer is lowered down to the bridge on a giant crane,” Jackson says. “This modified drone gets close enough to see cracks, takes pictures, and then an engineer can follow up.”

The business launched and he now has paying customers, says Jackson.

We have actually accepted our 21st Resident into the Incubator and there are a couple more that I think will soon follow. As these passionate entrepreneurs at the CSUF Startup Incubator have found out, starting a business is hard and having help from an organization like ours makes a huge difference. If you have a business concept or invention you are looking to take to market please get in touch with us by sending a short email with a description of your concept to csufentrepreneurship@fullerton.edu and we will be in touch with more information.


#CSUF #CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

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

Ask an Entrepreneur!

ask-an-entrepreneurAs you will read in this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider, we are launching Ask an Entrepreneur! We hope that this will become a great way to answer questions that many people in our community have and that these answers will help people become better entrepreneurs.

One trait I frequently witness in the entrepreneurs I work with is that they are curious. They want to understand the “why” of things and while they do not question everything (because that would be exhausting!) they do not shy away from asking questions.

That is why I am happy to announce “Ask an Entrepreneur!” Ask an Entrepreneur! is your chance to ask our Entrepreneurs in Residence (these are our mentors and startup experts) questions about anything business-related. Maybe you want to know the best way to market your new product or how to deal with a capable but under-performing new hire. Or maybe you are curious about what one of our Entrepreneurs in Residence thinks about a particular niche you’ve been researching. The sky is the limit.

Our goal with Ask an Entrepreneur! is to publish an answer to at least one question a week either in a written article or video and that these answers prove to be valuable to the CSUF Entrepreneur community at large.

If you have any questions, please go to the Ask an Entrepreneur! form and submit your questions. We look forward to answering your questions soon!

Sincerely,

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

PS: Happy Holidays! I hope you are able to enjoy some time with your loved ones this year and share in the optimism of the season.

Creativity is the life blood of business and our consulting teams are filled with students brimming with creative solutions in a wide range of areas. Now is the perfect time to inject some creative solutions into your business by working with one of our CSUF Consulting teams.

To find out how we can tailor a project to fit your business’ needs contact our Client Project Specialist, Charlesetta Medina at (657) 278-8243 or to request an application email entrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.

We look forward to working with you!
 

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A Closer Look at CSUF Consulting

Business TeamIn this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider (sign up now!) we highlight a very successful CSUF Consulting Project and announce the acceptance of one of our current students into the CSUF Startup Incubator as a Resident!


A couple of weeks ago I highlighted the Hilton Hotels project that one of our CSUF Consulting teams completed. That project is one of my favorites for a number of reasons and I recently went into more depth about this project in an article titled How a CSUF Consulting Team Helped a Hilton Hotel Save Money by Going Green.

In this article I also shared my process for doing effective CSUF Consulting projects, and it includes:

  • Define the client’s current state
  • Define the client’s desired state
  • Identify the problem or opportunity (often called the “gap”)
  • Analyze the situation and gather information
  • Identify possible recommendations
  • Analyze and compare possible recommendations
  • Final recommendations
  • Implementation plan for the recommendations
  • Describe the costs involved
  • Establish a timeline for implementation with the action steps required
  • Return on investment

The article goes into greater detail about all of these steps and there are more insights into the Hilton project as well.

We are currently recruiting clients for the CSUF Consulting program. If you know of a business (or, better yet, have a business) that is looking to make improvements I think you should give serious consideration to working with us during the spring semester. For more information please contact Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina at cymedina@fullerton.edu or (657) 278-8243.

I am also happy to announce that we have accepted current CSUF Entrepreneurship student Jonny May into the CSUF Startup Incubator! Jonny has channeled his passion and skill as a pianist into a business called Piano with Jonny. This semester, he has been a student in my New Venture Creation course and we recently published an article about how he has leveraged the knowledge and experiences he has had during the semester and at the recent CSUF Entrepreneurship Investor Panels to improve his business. We are looking forward to working with him over the next six months to set up his business for sustainable growth. We will keep you updated.

Sincerely,

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

Creativity is the life blood of business and our consulting teams are filled with students brimming with creative solutions in a wide range of areas. Now is the perfect time to inject some creative solutions into your business by working with one of our CSUF Consulting teams.

To find out how we can tailor a project to fit your business’ needs contact our Client Project Specialist, Charlesetta Medina at (657) 278-8243 or to request an application email entrepreneurship@fullerton.edu.

We look forward to working with you!
 

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How CSUF Consulting Helped a Hilton Hotel Save Money by Going Green

Business TeamA couple of weeks ago in the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider weekly update we mentioned the experience of past CSUF Consulting client Hilton Hotels and how one of our teams helped them save a lot of money by going green. I recently had the chance to get some more insight on this project and how CSUF Consulting teams go about helping businesses of all kinds with Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson.

Travis Lindsay: The Waterfront Hilton Hotel project was an interesting project. Can you tell me what they were looking for from one of our CSUF Consulting teams?

John Bradley Jackson: The client wanted to become more sustainable but was not sure what to do [and wanted one of our teams to develop some solutions].

TL: How did the team tackle this challenge?

JBL: [Each CSUF Consulting team has a mentor from the private sector] and our mentor, Tom Faust, directed the team to focus on a green solution that was also economically sound. This triggered the students to look into the cost of energy and lighting. The ultimate solution was the introduction of LED lighting, which was a long term fix. The Waterfront Hilton is a large hotel that used conventional lighting prior to the students’ recommendation. The ROI over a ten year period was projected to be very substantial.

TL: In general, why should a business consider becoming a CSUF Consulting client?

JBL: A CSUF Consulting team often puts in 300 to 400 hours of work collectively, which can be a very cost effective solution. They do the things that our clients want to do but don’t have the time to do. Our students are millennials and they are tech savvy and bring great creativity to the consulting assignment. Often business owners and executives are too close to the problem or situation to visualize solutions; student teams offer a high octane third part perspective.

Director Jackson also shared with me the CSUF Consulting Problem Solving Methodology; which is an 11 step guide that his CSUF Consulting teams use when working with clients.

  1. Define the client’s current state – This is the current condition of a process, entity, or situation. A present-state captures all of the details of a process, entity, or situation just as it is; this includes the positive traits or features along with flaws or errors.
  2. Define the client’s desired state – This is the improved condition for a process, entity, or situation. A desired state describes the process, entity, or situation as it should be, with all possible flaws and errors eliminated.
  3. Identify the problem or opportunity (often called the “gap”) – It is very important to accurately define a problem as an initial step. Be careful to identify the problem itself and not a symptom/s of a problem. Write out a problem statement as a question (“How do we train our staff in customer service skills?”) or as an infinitive (“To determine the best method for training the staff in customer service skills.”).
  4. Analyze the situation and gather information – Once the problem is identified and the general scope of the problem is defined, then information is gathered which will support choosing a solution later. Separate information into two categories: facts and assumptions. Facts are information that is known and verifiable. Opinions can be handled as facts but their source must be carefully weighed as to its credibility. Assumptions are used for those areas of information that we need but have no facts. The assumptions should be necessary and valid in that they are likely to be true based on our list of facts. Assumptions need to be clarified and validated as part of the process since assumptions will often drive our selection of a solution.
  5. Identify possible recommendations – When working in a group, brainstorming usually works best. Use the synergy created by several people developing ideas to derive potential solutions. One caveat is to not allow for the judgment of the ideas at this point. If you have the criteria you need in place, they will screen out any nonviable solutions.
  6. Analyze and compare possible recommendations – Apply the screening and evaluation criteria to your potential solutions beginning with the screening criteria first. Any proposed solutions that are screened out by any one or more of the screening criteria are not considered further. Apply the evaluation criteria to those solutions that survived the screening process. Objectively evaluate each option with the pluses and minuses of each.
  7. Final recommendations – After a period of time, the best solution to solve the problem should be apparent. Be sure to ask yourself, but did it solve the problem? Will there be any other issues created by its implementation? Analyzing the potential effectiveness of solutions will increase the efficacy of the solution. It is always best to pre-sell your ideas to the client along the way, rather than surprising the client at the final presentation.
  8. Implementation plan for the recommendations – Describe the solution/s in detail. It is frequent that we offer many ideas that might help the client, which is a great thing. But, be sure to rank those ideas by priority.
  9. Describe the costs involved – To best of your ability estimate the cost of the solutions.  Be advised that many of our clients will appreciate solutions that are low cost or no cost. Beware of presenting any solution that is cost prohibitive.
  10. Establish a timeline for implementation with the action steps required – Some recommendations may be easily implemented right away while others may require preparation and lead time. A possible presentation of the timeline could include items to implement immediately, while other recommendations might be implemented in 90 days, 180 days, or even in a year. Be specific about the action steps required. Often, the costs and staffing requirements associated with implementation will determine the clients’ ability to implement, so be sensitive to client’s ability to absorb and fun changes.
  11. Return on investment – Suggest a process to measure the effectiveness of the implemented solution. Most business executives will want to know what is to be expected after implementation of the recommendations. This might be cost savings, increased sales, improved productivity, etc. While this ROI is an estimate, it may be the evidence needed for the client to go forward. Quantify these anticipated results whenever possible; benchmarks may be helpful.

As you can tell, the CSUF Consulting program produces creative and comprehensive projects. We are always looking for ambitious businesses who are looking for innovative ways to improve and if you think your business or another business you know of would be a good fit please get in touch with Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina now! She can be reached by email at cymedina@fullerton.edu or by phone at (657) 278-8243.


#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

 

CSUF Entrepreneurship Students Create Business Plan, Present to Investor Panel

piano-with-jonnyThe panel is awesome – I love that as students, we have the chance to present real ideas to real business owners, entrepreneurs, investors, and bankers.  Few other classes offer the practical feedback and hands-on work that I have experienced in Management 465A.  It is one of the best Entrepreneurship classes, and I highly recommend it to other students.

Those are some of the thoughts from Jonny May, the creator of Piano with Jonny and one of our CSUF Entrepreneurship students who had the opportunity to give a fifteen minute presentation to a panel of experts on the progress they have made in launching their businesses followed by fifteen minutes of hard hitting questions from those same experts. As you can guess, this is a pressure packed experience but it is also a unique opportunity to get feedback from a diverse group of experts.

But let me take a step back since these panels are the culmination of a semester’s worth of work on the part of CSUF Entrepreneurship students.

At the beginning of every semester, students in Management 465A and 465B coalesce into teams with the mission of either creating a business plan for a concept (465A) or work on launching a business (465B). In Jonny’s case, he is a student in Management 465A and he led his team in the creation of a business plan for his concept: Piano with Jonny. (And, to be perfectly honest, Jonny’s team had a bit of a head start since Jonny has been working on this business for a couple of years now and is already in revenue. But, as you will see, Jonny has leveraged his experience in this class to crystallize his business’ strategy and develop a plan to make his business stronger and well positioned for growth.)

If I could show you a montage right now, I would, because in between the formation of the teams at the beginning of the semester and the panels at the end there is a lot of hard work that largely goes uncelebrated. It is during the semester that the teams work on developing their marketing strategy, interviewing customers to unearth key insights into their thinking, put together an operations plan with a budget, and do all of the other work that is necessary to craft a meaningful business plan that can be used to launch or grow a business and maybe even using the plan when in discussions with potential investors.

And it is this hard work that helps students get to the heart of the matter for their businesses. From Jonny: “The class has forced me to think more deeply about why our customers buy and where to put more of our efforts.  Through customer interviews and competitive analysis, it is now much more clear where we are not being effective and where we can add huge value for our customers.”

The panels that we have already talked about a little are the culmination of all this hard work. Over the course of the three months that make up a semester, many students, including Jonny, dedicate 100+ hours to the completion of their project whether that is the creation of a business plan or work on launching a business. In Jonny’s case, it was a little of both.

The panels are no small matter. As Jonny said at the beginning of this article, we make sure to pick some heavy hitters to be judges. At the most basic level, these panels represent a crucial academic event for our students; having the opportunity to present such a complex and important project is nerve racking for the students but they pretty much always rise to the occasion.

Jack Mixner, one of our professors teaching this class, puts it this way: “Preparing to present to real investors is challenging, daunting – and  exciting. The preparation pays off. Presentations evolve quickly into unexpectedly high level conversations between ‘entrepreneurs’ and ‘investors.’ Students share. They learn. And the investors? They share, too, with sometimes very unexpected and useful points of view that the students, their mentors – and their professors – had not expected. Everybody wins.”

But for students like Jonny who are leveraging this unique academic experience to create something real and hopefully long lasting the panels can represent a crucial turning point in the success of their ventures.

“[The panel] was very helpful – I had to learn how to sell my business and ‘take the heat’ from experts.  I knew they would ask hard questions, so I really had to become familiar with my business in a way I never have.  I learned that we have a highly scaleable business and that we should be charging more for our products,” said Jonny.

We are obviously very proud of the work that Jonny and his team, which includes fellow CSUF Entrepreneurship students Sylvia Dang, Johnny Pen, and Reuben Ponce De Leon and mentor Craig Martyn have done. And the same is true for all of our other teams in these classes. Most will not end in successfully launched business but the experience of trying is invaluable and will certainly help them in all their future endeavors.

And in Jonny’s case, we are looking forward to not only working with him as a student but also as a Resident at the CSUF Startup Incubator. Jonny was accepted into the Incubator just a few days ago because we see a great deal of potential in his business and we believe he’s the kind of entrepreneur that has the capability and drive to make his startup into a sustainable business. We will be working closely with him in the classroom and at the Incubator over the next six months and by the end of that time we believe Jonny will be well on his way towards taking Piano with Jonny to the next level.

Stay tuned!


#CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

Become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to keep up-to-date on all the events, news, and everything else we do: http://bit.ly/CSUFStartupSignup

For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurship

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs: http://bit.ly/csufstartup

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