Author Archives: Travis Lindsay

About Travis Lindsay

Travis is an Entrepreneur in Residence at the Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Startup Incubator. | CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship | CSUF Startup Incubator | Our Events

What Entrepreneurs Need to Know about Social Media @ CSUF Startup Incubator

Jessica Joy Reveles is coming to the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia to give a seminar on how startups and established businesses should use social media

Jessica Joy Reveles is coming to the CSUF Startup Incubator in Placentia to give a seminar on how startups and established businesses should use social media

Jessica Joy Reveles knows social media and how harnessing its power can help drive your brand and sales. Most Americans see the news first, get recommendations on products, and communicate with each other through one of the many different social media platforms that are out there.

Has your business taken advantage of this communications revolution? How can your startup leverage this medium to jumpstart your path to success?

Jessica will reveal her strategies for social media success at this talk and help you learn the keys to successfully elevate your company’s social status above the fray!

Pizza and soft drinks will be served at this event.

Click here to reserve your seat.

We hope to see you there!

[Parking for this event is free. Please park on S Bradford Avenue and go through the front gate, this event will be located in the back of the building.]

More about Jessica:

Seasoned Editor and Writer with nearly 15 years of integrated marketing including social media, sales, advertising, management, instructional design and teaching experience across Health & Wellness, Fashion & Beauty and Lifestyle. Solution oriented and meticulous, I bring a solid foundation in digital communications and publishing with an emphasis on research and journalism, strategy, branding, blogging, analytics and more.


#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/IncubatorFor 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


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CSUF Consulting Projects are Special

CSUF Consulting Team Clear Vision with their professor Scott Sorrell (front left)

CSUF Consulting Team Clear Vision with their professor Scott Sorrell (front left)

As you will read in this week’s CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider, our CSUF Consulting projects are special. I’ve worked on these projects as a student, mentor, and as a client so I know our program from just about every vantage point possible and I can safely say that they provide tremendous value for all involved, especially for the clients of our program. For a comparatively small consulting fee, clients receive a comprehensive plan that targets a particular part of their company and while most clients believe their number one need to be marketing or sales I can tell you that some of our greatest successes come from projects that focus on other areas like leadership, operations, or finance.

Also, we do have an event in Placentia this week focusing on how entrepreneurs should be leveraging social media to their benefit. Social media is now a well entrenched part of the normal marketing mix and it’s just one of the many things that our CSUF Consulting teams can help established businesses with and the CSUF Startup Incubator can help startups with.

Director Jackson is on a well deserved two week vacation so he asked me (Entrepreneur in Residence Travis Lindsay) to fill in for this week’s CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider newsletter. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

This Wednesday at 6pm in Placentia we are hosting a talk on how entrepreneurs can be using social media more to their advantage. It is definitely an important topic and I hope you can make it; I’m certain you will learn a lot from the speaker, Jessica Joy Reveles.

Having a good social media plan is a must for any business but it is only a part of the overall marketing mix. More needs to be considered and planned for and that is exactly what Professors like Scott Sorrell do every semester with their CSUF Consulting teams. In one of our recent articles, we interviewed Scott to find out exactly what our clients can expect from an engagement with one of our teams:

“There are several branches of marketing initiatives that these teams can research and develop. These marketing initiatives that the teams develop for their clients can range from developing a new website, to creating a public relations campaign for the company, to assisting with an entire marketing plan for the organization, and much more. Every project is unique and custom built.”

Having worked on dozens of these projects as a student, a mentor, and as a client I can personally vouch for how special these projects are. For clients, a CSUF Consulting team can unearth many opportunities that they otherwise would never have known about. Take, for example, Andrew Lee. He was one of our clients from the recently concluded spring semester who found out how special our projects can be firsthand.

“They took [the project] as far [as they possibly could], as if they were a partner with my group. That was great!”

Incidentally, we are now recruiting clients for the fall semester for our CSUF Consulting program. If you know of a company or have a company that could benefit from one of these projects please get in touch with Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina at cymedina@fullerton.edu or (657) 278-8243.

Sincerely,

Travis Lindsay
Entrepreneur in Residence
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

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CSUF Marketing Consulting Projects Make a Difference

Scott Sorrell

Scott Sorrell, CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor

As many students know, the practical experience one gains during their time in college is the most valuable and is almost always crucial to employers. The CSUF Consulting program empowers students to work with companies and nonprofits in Orange County and Los Angeles County that requires hands on work, giving them practice and a deeper understanding than what a textbook can bring. And the clients get an amazing return on investment in the form of a comprehensive report and presentation focusing on strategically important matters for their organization. These projects focus on what is important to the clients whether that is social media, email marketing, customer retention, or public relations. The possibilities are endless.

One of the courses that features a CSUF Consulting project is Marketing 462: Marketing for Entrepreneurs. Professor Scott Sorrell is one of the professors who teaches this unique course.

CSUF Consulting Team Clear Vision with their professor Scott Sorrell (front left)

CSUF Consulting Team Clear Vision with Professor Scott Sorrell (front left)

Outside the classroom, Scott is the CEO of Sales Adrenaline. He is known as “Mr. Charge Higher Prices” and is a professional speaker and business growth acceleration consultant. He brings his considerable business expertise into the classroom to teach Marketing and Entrepreneurship students fundamentals and tactics that are applicable for small businesses to large, entrepreneurial corporations. Scott augments his course by inviting a variety of guest speakers to his class, all experts in a different area of marketing.

Every semester, the students in Scott’s class work with their clients to develop innovative marketing solutions.  Once assigned to a client, the student teams are assigned a mentor with a wealth of marketing and business experience to help the students more fully develop their recommendations for their client. Once all teams have been assigned a client, they commence their consulting process with an in-depth interview with the client to find out the client’s wants and needs, their weaknesses, what they want to change or improve, and what their goals are for their semester-long project.

Following the interview, the teams work and develop a scope of work that details what they are proposing to provide to their client by the end of the semester. With four to six members on a team and each member responsible for their own section of the project, there are several branches of marketing initiatives that these teams can research and develop. These marketing initiatives that the teams develop for their clients can range from developing a new website, to creating a public relations campaign for the company, to assisting with an entire marketing plan for the organization, and much more. Every project is unique and custom built for each client.

“The course is a lot of work,” Scott admits. However, each project is “a huge opportunity for learning. That’s why I tell my students, ‘Don’t focus on your grade, focus on excellence.’”

CSUF Consulting Team Gravity Ball with their Professor Scott Sorrell (far right)

CSUF Consulting Team Gravity Ball with Professor Scott Sorrell (far right)

At the end of the semester, after meeting with their clients multiple times and discussing with them the progress that they have made in developing a comprehensive marketing strategy report, each team delivers a comprehensive presentation to their client where they discuss their findings with them and how best to implement their recommendations.

Collectively, the students will spend hundreds of hours on each project in order to create an actionable plan that their clients can implement right away. “Many students will say it’s the hardest course they’ve ever taken,” Scott points out. However, the difficult workload and sacrifice required of the students that take Marketing 462 hasn’t seemed to deter students away from their positive outlook on the course: “I’ve had students tell me they’ve learned more in this class than their entire college education combined,” he adds.

One of the overlooked benefits for the clients who have a CSUF Consulting project done for them is that the teams can review their client’s current or potential marketing plans and determine whether or not the ROI justifies their continuation. “What those students come to understand and appreciate is that they just succeeded in saving the client probably tens of thousands of dollars pursuing a marketing avenue that would have been a dead end for them,” states Scott.

In addition to the course helping students gain experience, it also significantly helps the clients because they get amazing work at an amazing price. They pay a relatively small “donation-sized” fee to have a CSUF Consulting team develop innovative marketing solutions for their company. The work that these teams do helps clients develop ideas that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to with their current resources and because CSUF Consulting teams provide a fresh perspective that can unearth hidden opportunities.

The course also requires a lot of work from a professor standpoint. In addition to regular duties all professors have, such as giving quizzes, midterms, and other assignments, Scott manages and mentors all of his consulting teams. This consists of multiple critiques and reviews of each team’s letter of engagement, reading up on the periodic individual section reports, staying in communication with the teams and their clients, evaluating their final presentations and then reviewing their final reports (which can run upwards of 200 pages).

But despite the endless work, Scott doesn’t seem to regret taking on the position one bit, “Why do I do it? Love. I love these students. I love giving to them because they’re an amazing investment.”

Students interested in the Marketing 462 course or companies interested in applying to be a client for future consulting projects that take place during the fall and spring semesters every year can contact Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina at cymedina@fullerton.edu or visit the Center for Entrepreneurship office, located in room 3280 at Steven G. Mihaylo Hall on campus.

Written by Traci Muldoon


#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/IncubatorFor 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

Why Cal State Fullerton Teaches Entrepreneurship

STEM Entrepreneurship Awards Ceremony

The next generation of Entrepreneurs

What that title is getting at is what is our mission or, in other words, why do we do what we do. And, as you will find out from this CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider (sign up to become an Insider now so you don’t miss any of the news, events, or lessons from CSUF Entrepreneurship!) from Director John Bradley Jackson, the reason is very simple: It makes a difference.

Over the last three years, I had the honor of partnering with colleagues at the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Education at Cal State Fullerton on a $1 Million grant from the National Science Foundation to teach disadvantaged middle school students needed skills in Entrepreneurship and STEM. The skills that we taught these bright students will stick with them for the rest of their lives and will help them once they enter our global economy no matter what path they decide to take.

I’m certain that at least a few of these students will decide to become innovators and may even start businesses that better our world.

Speaking for all of our Entrepreneurship professors and mentors I can tell you that one of the primary reasons why we teach and coach the next generation of entrepreneurs is because we believe that it makes a difference. It makes a difference in the lives of the students, of course. But it also makes a difference in our communities as well.

We regularly see the difference that our students make in the businesses that they start or work for. We also see it in the difference that they make in the companies that they do consulting projects for. What all of this leads to is a more innovative and creative world to live in.

In the case of the middle school students that I had the pleasure of teaching the last three years we probably won’t see that impact for quite some time. But for the students that the Entrepreneurship professors and I have taught and our mentors have coached we have already seen the difference that an entrepreneurial education can make.

Sincerely,

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

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Uber’s Management by Committee: Good or Bad Idea?

Hailing an UberFrom Yahoo! Finance: “According to three sources familiar with the matter, Uber will be run by a committee consisting of 14 executives, all of whom directly reported to Kalanick before he announced on Tuesday he would be taking time away from the company following recent scandals and the death of his mother.

“Whether Uber’s new governing structure succeeds — and how long the team will govern for — are two questions that will follow the executive committee, particularly over the next few days and weeks. With over 12,000 employees, Uber is a large company faced with many layers of decision-making and the serious challenge of transforming Uber’s culture following a recent slew of scandals related to allegations of sexual harassment.”

Putting it mildly, this leadership situation is unique. But will it work? To find out, I asked a couple of the best experts on leadership that I know of for their opinions on this matter.

Dr. Atul Teckchandani, Assistant Professor of Management at CSUF, leads our CSUF Consulting teams that focus on leadership issues for our business clients.

Travis Kalanick never had a second in command at Uber. Recently the company announced they were going to look for a COO – but things have deteriorated significantly since then and finding a COO is no longer a top priority. My suspicion is that the governance-by-committee approach is more out of necessity than out of effectiveness. Having the top 14 executives at the company come together every time a decision needs to be made is extremely inefficient. But there’s no logical replacement for Kalanick and bringing in an outside hire would be even more disruptive. I suspect that the governance-by-committee approach is going to stay in place until things stabilize for the company.

Dave Kinnear, Executive Leader Coach for Vistage International, mentors our students in the classroom and has office hours at the CSUF Startup Incubator frequently.

Governance By Committee

There is an old saying that “A camel is a horse put together by committee.” I’m not at all sure this is fair to either camels or horses, however, the sentiment that too many conflicting opinions can ruin a project holds true.

For the Uber Executive Committee to effectively lead Uber and transform its culture, they will have to agree on who will make the final decision and empower that person to do so. From what I have been able to learn, Kalanick was that person who made the final call. They must also agree on how information will be brought to the committee, be processed by the committee and be communicated to the rest of the Uber organization.

I seriously doubt that the Board of Directors will be totally absent from the significant decisions that the team has to make. This particular board has shown that it knows how to step in and govern (see the above background information on how they handled the Covington report). I am confident that the Leadership Committee will have guidelines from the board on what committee recommendations must be run by the board prior to final decisions and actions.

Absent Leaders are Not That Unusual

One of the goals I like to establish with business leaders is that they build a high functioning leadership team that can operate without them. If we do not build such a team, then we earn the epithet of micromanager. Plus, we limit the scalability of the organization by being the bottleneck for decisions. My observation is that just like a wine bottle, the bottleneck is always at the top in organizations.

My concern for the Leadership Committee at Uber is that they may not have been allowed to be autonomous up until now, and so will not understand how to function without direction from the top. I hope I’m wrong about that concern. That is why I call this an interesting experiment for Uber.

Many of the leaders with whom I work have no concern or problem taking long vacations — mostly unplugged — and letting their teams run the show. They avoid making decisions from afar. Most have reported that things actually seemed to run better while they were gone! And their teams love the autonomy.

Growth Opportunity

A spokesperson for Uber declared that the leadership team was strong and that “The entire team is excited by the opportunities ahead of us.” This rings true to me. But it remains to be seen if this group can actually perform as a team. As a friend (an entrepreneur and athlete) puts it, “I’d rather play on a championship team than on a team of champions.”

If the Leadership Committee members at Uber truly believe that the team and company is more important than individual egos, then they have a good chance of coming together as a championship team and transforming Uber. I wish the Leadership Committee and Kalanick good luck and success.

What do you think?


#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

Trade Secret Protection – Key Points for Entrepreneurs to Know

Stephen LaCount Intellectual Property Talk Trade Secrets CSUF Startup Incubator IrvineDuring Stephen LaCount’s talk titled Intellectual Property and the Entrepreneur at the CSUF Irvine campus Stephen went over a lot of interesting topics; topics that are immediately valuable to the entrepreneurs that were there. One of the parts of his talk that I liked in particular was his information on trade secret protection.

Here are some key takeaways that I had:

  • If you do it right, a trade secret can last forever (i.e. Coca Cola)
  • “Trade Secret” means information, including a formula, pattern, compilation, program, device, method, technique, or process that: 1. Derives independent economic value… from not being generally known to, and not being readily ascertainable by proper means by other persons… and 2. Is the subject of efforts that are reasonable under the circumstances to maintain its secrecy.
    • This is from the Model Trade Secrets Act
  • One example that Stephen gave was how Texas Instruments successfully sued someone who flew a plane over a factory that they were building so that he could get pictures of how they were doing things, which violated their trade secrets
    • (I tried finding this story but, alas, couldn’t find it)
  • If the company or person with a trade secret doesn’t properly maintain it’s trade secrets then they will go to the public domain
    • That is, obviously, not good, so you have to work to protect your trade secrets
  • How to protect your Trade Secrets:
    • Restrict visitors to your work site – control or deny access to sensitive areas
    • Limit disclosure – implement strict “need to know” standard
    • Internal procedures and safeguards – you will need to create these, train your people on how to properly follow them, and have a system that ensures employee fidelity to your procedures and safeguards
    • Explicit written agreements: what is being disclosed and for what purpose?
      • Any relationship of importance should have a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) attached to it
    • Stamp and legend documents: such as “Confidential and Proprietary”; “Do Not Duplicate or Distribute”
  • Even though there is a lot that goes into protecting a trade secret there is no paperwork that you have to file with the government and a trade secret theoretically will never expire
  • What about past employees? Do they have to protect trade secrets from their former employer?
    • The answer is, of course, yes. Past employees do have a duty to protect the trade secrets of their former employees

The part about trade secrets was only a small fraction of Stephen’s overall talk and we will be working on putting together video segments of this talk for our Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series and Stephen’s segments will be published over the next couple of months.

So make sure to check back in frequently so you won’t miss any of the videos or, better yet, become a CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider. Insiders get a weekly update featuring the ideas, news, events, and success stories that are coming out of the CSUF Entrepreneurship community.


#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

Start or Grow Your Business – Use Business Model Canvas [Event this Thursday]

Marc Pakbaz to give important talk on how to use the business model canvas to help your business grow for SCORE this Thursday

Marc Pakbaz to give important talk on how to use the business model canvas to help your business grow for SCORE this Thursday

CSUF Entrepreneurship mentor and friend Marc Pakbaz will be hosting an important seminar for SCORE this Thursday on the Business Model Canvas that we think you will find valuable. Below is an introduction to what the talk will cover and you can register by going to the event link here.

Starting a new business or managing an existing business is an everyday occupation for a business owner. There are so many variants to manage. How to identify them and how to prioritize them? These are the questions that we will answer in this workshop.

Marc Pakbaz of SCORE presents this workshop. Marc is a serial entrepreneur and a business speaker with an abundance of international experience. Marc has an MBA and a Doctorate Degree in business. He owned and sold two companies.  In 30 years career, he has helped more than 200 entrepreneurs to start, run, buy or sell their companies.  Marc is a Business Mentor and frequent guest speaker and lecturer. Recently, he served as Guest speaker in University of California Irvine (UCI) and California State University, Fullerton.


#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