Category Archives: Atul Teckchandani

CSUF Students Help Companies Develop Better Leadership Practices

Woman Diligently Working

In the Leadership and Human Resources Student Consulting Program, our goal is to understand the client’s business and then use that understanding along with an objective lens to help address the leadership and HR challenges the client is facing. It is our goal to hear from the client that the student consulting team’s recommendations were on target because the team understood the intricacies and challenges of his business as well as the business owner.

Here is one example of such an engagement. Continue reading

Entrepreneurship needs Hackers, Hipsters and Hustlers

Hipster Hacker Hustler - Entrepreneur

Every startup needs three kinds of people: hipsters, hackers and hustlers. While I can’t take credit for this insight (a former student and current entrepreneur told it to me), I completely agree. Hackers are the folks who can code, or more generally, the folks who can create a product (the engineers and scientists). Hipsters are the folks who understand user experience and user design (the artists and humanities folks). And hustlers are the business people. Continue reading

Entrepreneurship Lessons from Pirate Joe’s

Pirate Joe'sTrader Joe’s has a large and loyal following. (I’m one of them.) But they only have stores in the United States. Michael Hallatt lived in Vancouver, Canada, and got tired of having to cross the border to get his favorite grocery products. Thinking like an entrepreneur, he decided to start buying products from Trader Joe’s stores in the US and sell them across the border in Vancouver, and “Pirate Joe’s” was born.

Hallatt and his “associates” procure some $9,000 worth of groceries each week and mark them up $1-3. But because Trader Joe’s is not happy and has tried to shut down the operation (more detail on the various lawsuits and outcomes can be found here), the process Hallatt has to go through to obtain these groceries is complex. The result is that Pirate Joe’s is not making Hallatt rich by any means. He claims that he could make more money driving a cab.

So why is Hallatt doing it? He is clearly a Trader Joe’s super fan. And a little crazy – but can’t that be said for most entrepreneurs? Continue reading

Yelp – The Ugly

141020 Yelp LogoIn previous posts (Yelp – The Good and Yelp – The Bad), my co-authors and I discussed the value and challenges of Yelp for business owners. However, due to Yelp’s immense popularity, it has effectively become the go-to source for all kinds of reviews. Businesses see significant declines in revenue if their Yelp ratings decrease. And with this dominance comes some serious problems.

Yelp has become a cesspool of fake comments – a far cry from their original marketing slogan of “real people, real reviews.” It has become common for people to post negative and false comments. For example, the Yelp page for a local middle eastern restaurant contained two posts by people who claimed that the cooks there were doing things that were extremely unsanitary. After digging a bit deeper, it was clear these reviews were fake, as both reviewers had fake photos and had only posted a single review using their Yelp accounts. Worse, the reviews had racist undertones. In another case, a number of Yelpers wrote negative reviews for a Florida restaurant after President Obama visited there. Continue reading

CSUF Entrepreneur Success Story: Jennifer Barber ’14

Jennifer Barber Web optimized

CSUF Entrepreneurship alum Jennifer Barber ’14 has taken her many entrepreneurial skills to China for a year to teach English to Chinese children

It has been a little under five months since I took my final steps as an undergraduate student at CSUF. The first word that comes to mind when I think of my experience as a Titan is “perfect”. Now, I certainly don’t mean that in a conventional way; we all know that if you have any fun at all, there are some nights where you and “perfect” couldn’t be bigger strangers. By “perfect” I mean that, because of that time, I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now.

Where does a twenty-two year old college graduate with an entrepreneurship degree go? I went to Beijing, China to teach English for a year. You might ask, “Why aren’t you applying to big companies at home or starting your own business?” I would say, “Who says I have to do it now?”

I have a couple of reasons why I chose China. First, I like to be a little unconventional; I don’t like to feel “comfortable” for too long. Second, my passion is to serve others. Continue reading

Innovation Fail

The following was written by Dr. Atul Teckchandani, one of the great professors teaching Entrepreneurship at CSUF.

Entrepreneurs innovate. Every industry can benefit from innovation. But this trend of putting electronics in everything concerns me – just adding technology to an existing product does not make it innovative. The best innovations are things that meaningfully improve the overall experience of using a product or service.

Let me illustrate this point with an example. An “innovation” that, in my opinion, got it all wrong is the touch-less paper towel dispenser. These are showing up in public restrooms everywhere. I suspect the primary benefit of these dispensers is that it minimizes the transfer of germs from one person to another. Continue reading

Pop-up Stores: The Perfect MVP

An important milestone when attempting to start a new business is to create something that can be sold (or at least offered) to customers. The goal is to get something in the hands of your customers quickly and then continue to refine the product or service based on their feedback. In lean startup lingo, this is known as a “minimum viable product” or MVP.

For entrepreneurs seeking to launch businesses catering to consumers (e.g., retail establishments, restaurants, etc.), a great way to see what customers think of your product or service is to create a pop-up store. A pop-up store is a temporary retail space that can be used by entrepreneurs to showcase their products or services.

Mike Condia, a recent graduate of the entrepreneurship program at CSUF (class of 2013), provides a perfect illustration of the value of the pop-up store. Mike believes there is an opportunity for brick-and-mortar music stores to make a comeback by leveraging the revival of vinyl records. Rather than spending tens of thousands of dollars buying inventory, leasing a retail storefront, and hiring employees, Mike launched a pop-up record store.

The store, Rad Cat Records, opened just last week and is located near the Chapman University campus within the Ugly Mug Café in Orange. To get started, Mike needed to spend only enough money to buy 20-30 records and two metal racks to display them. He brought a record player from home so people can listen to the records and uses his smartphone to process credit card transactions.

Pop-up stores have two important advantages. First, pop-up stores allow entrepreneurs to see if people are willing to pay for their products and services. Paying customers are the ultimate validation of a business opportunity. Second, pop-up stores provide a quick and extremely cost-effective way to find out if people really want your product/service and if there are enough of them to create a profitable business. In other words, pop-up stores are the perfect MVP.

Through the Rad Cat Records pop-up store, Mike is not just validating that people want vinyl records, he is also validating his customer segment. By locating so close to a college campus, Mike is making the assumption that college students are much more likely to want to purchase vinyl records than other customer segments.

Rad Cat Records will be open for a month. That should be enough time for Mike to figure out if it makes sense for him to lease his own retail space. In the meanwhile, if you are one of those people who are glad that vinyl is back, head over to Rad Cat Records to show your support!

The preceding was a post from Dr. Atul Teckchandani, one of the great professors teaching Entrepreneurship at CSUF.