Category Archives: Family Business

Reinventing Family Time – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

chuck-suAs many entrepreneurs know, creating a successful business is hard work and Cal State Fullerton alumni Chuck Su ’11’s experience has been no different. While working a second job at night, Chuck works diligently on his own business during the day; a sacrifice he and his loved ones make with grace.

As a student, Chuck exhibited many of the hallmarks of an entrepreneur: creativity, tenacity, and a big heart. It was the last of these attributes that led him to his idea for a business at a time when he was least expecting it: during a reverse triathlon.

“The light bulb idea struck me at the end of my niece’s race. The reverse triathlon did not have a team race; however, I was allowed to participate with my 4-year-old niece in her race bracket. In the end, I realized the fun was running the course as a family. We had a great time and made everlasting memories,” said Chuck.

For Chuck, the happiness that he felt participating with his niece was only the beginning in what would soon become the idea that led to the creation of Family Fun Fitness.

Wanting to replicate the happiness and fun that he experienced with his niece at the reverse triathlon, Chuck began to formulate a business plan that revolved around a new concept of family time and fitness.

After finalizing the main points of his business plan, Chuck met with his mentors at Cal State Fullerton’s Center for Entrepreneurship and sought advice from his previous mentors. In his search for advice the staff not only helped him solidify his business plan, but also provided Chuck with access to valuable resources and connections.

One of these connections was retired engineer and CSUF Entrepreneurship mentor Bill Purpura. Chuck went to him to see if his plan was truly worth investing in as a business.

“Bill Purpura was the man who I thought would give me the best advice. He is an introvert entrepreneur with extensive knowledge in engineering and business development. He doesn’t sugar coat things and has your best interest at heart. When I met with him I was nervous but prepared. After reviewing my idea, he believed that I had a kernel of an idea. This made my developed idea into an actual creation,” said Chuck.

With a solid plan and a seemingly endless amount of passion Chuck began to build his own business with the mission of bringing together family time and exercise. These two activities form the main pillars of Family Fun Fitness.

“I wanted Family Fun Fitness to be designed for adults and kids to overcome [obstacles] together so that they can have fun while participating in healthy fitness based activities,“ said Chuck.

One of the issues that Chuck wants to address with Family Fun Fitness is that kids have become too attached to technology to really grasp the importance of a healthy lifestyle. In order to grab the attention of kids, Chuck and his partners, primarily his girlfriend Suzanne Nguyen, have created a story about a magical kingdom that the kids could experience while they participate in Family Fun Fitness’ obstacle courses.

“We wanted to have children see the characters we created and feel a connection with them regardless of things like ethnicity, body type, or skin color. From this we created our protagonist: Sky the Snowman. His magical cape not only keeps him from melting, but could change junk food into healthy treats. As kids progress through the land of Imaginaria they would get to know the heroes and villains of the story and help Sky get his cape back from the evil queen who stole it,” said Chuck.

The dedication and artistic passion behind the creation of the characters and setting proved instrumental in making the obstacle course a success as the business hosted its first race on August 7th at Cordillera Elementary.

Due to the overwhelming support received from the school that hosted the event and local communities Family Fun Fitness is now sponsored by an investor that plans to have the business host four events per month. This success is the first step in the expansion and growth of Family Fun Fitness.

When looking back at the journey Chuck has gone through in order to make Family Fun Fitness into a reality, he believes that there are several things that all entrepreneurs should remember when starting their businesses for the first time.

“Creating your own business will take a lot of time and money and is something in which you must be prepared to deal with. And while there are going to be bad days, you must learn to take the good with the bad because at the end of the day your passion and dedication will play a huge role in creating your business. Ultimately you should have a strong support system from your significant other, family, friends, and mentors,” said Chuck.

With an investor already backing his business, Chuck and the members of Family Fun Fitness are excited to see what the future has in store for them as they continue to redefine the meaning of spending family time together.


This article was written by Kevin Emery and edited by Travis Lindsay


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How Entrepreneurial is Orange County?

John Bradley Jackson, Director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, reviewed the findings of a recent study about Entrepreneurship in Orange County. The presentation happened at the November 20, 2013 meeting of SCORE’s Orange County Chapter. The local SCORE chapter is the nation’s largest and most productive chapter of the SBA funded organization which is dedicated to the formation, growth and success of small business.

Jackson discussed how Orange County compares to other regions in the U.S. when viewed from a new venture perspective. Other regions studied include Silicon Valley, Route 128 in Boston and Austin.  He first reviewed small business in the USA and their significance to the economy; the home based businesses and the “solopreneurs” were cited as little known catalysts in our economic recovery.

  • 28 million small businesses in the US
  • Over 50% of the working population in a small business
  • 52% of all small businesses are home-based

Next he addressed the myth of the low survival rate of small businesses. Jackson said, “It is urban legend that most small businesses fail in the first two years.” He cited that following SBA data:

  • 70% of new ventures survive at least 2 years
  • 50% of new ventures survive at least 5 years
  • 33% of new ventures survive at least 10 years

Patent activity, a leading indicator of successful entrepreneurship is on the increase in OC. In 2012, there were 2,300 patents granted to Orange County inventors which was up 48% from 1,500 in 2007. This steady increase clearly reflects on the innovative culture found in Orange County.

In fact, the Kauffman Foundation, the leading entrepreneurship think tank, identified that that there 530 entrepreneurs per 100,000 Orange and Los Angeles County residents making it the 2nd most entrepreneurial region in the USA among similarly sized Metropolitan Statistical Areas.  The statistic factors new business starts, financial events, and other entrepreneurial factors into its rankings.

“Yet, Orange County is different than the other hotbeds of entrepreneurship. OC has an unusually high immigrant population, a very large number of small to medium sized businesses, a Low number of Fortune 1,000 headquartered firms, and a very large number of family businesses. All this makes for a thriving local economy but one with an overall lower number of IPOs and other capital events.”

Jackson theorized, “Orange County is ‘sticky’ which means that the businesses formed in OC grow and thrive but many remain privately held and passed on to the next generation.  So, is Orange County entrepreneurial?  Absolutely.”

 

Orange County Entrepreneur Story: Adela Beltran

Last week I met one of our students, David Beltran. He is a member of one of our Student Consulting Teams and their client just happens to be his mother, Adela Beltran. David told me a little bit about her and I was very impressed with what she has accomplished in her life. David was even kind enough to send us a short biography of her along with some pictures of his award winning, entrepreneur of a mom. Here is the entrepreneurial story of Adela Beltran with some pictures of her meeting with our Student Consulting Team.

CSUF Entrepreneurship Student Consulting Team talks with happy client, Adela Beltran

Adela Beltran has an incredible story.  To this date, she has managed to earn the respect of her peers and influential people in her industry.  Her journey began in La Barca, Jalisco.  At the young age of eight, she started running her family’s small market so that her brothers and sisters could pursue an education.  She worked at the register, and learned to purchase and stock the inventory.  She would soon manage the stores finances entirely.  But still, after all her hard work; her large family continued to struggle financially.

As a teenager, she had dreams of having a family of her own, and earning her own financial stability.  She wanted to provide her kids with the opportunities that she wished she had growing up- the chance to be a doctor, a lawyer, or even a senator.  Finally, at the age of 19, she convinced her mother and grandmother to come to the United States in order to fulfill her dream.  Her family moved, but soon after, they were hit with the harsh reality that it was not as easy as it sounds to make money in the United States; nonetheless, she would still accomplish her goals.

CSUF Entrepreneurship Student Consulting Team walks with client

She found a job sewing cloths at a factory working hours on end.  She made no more than the bare minimum at the time, but she caught the attention of her employer by proving to be self motivated and competent.  Still, this was not the America she had dreamt about.  During her employment at the factory, she had three children and took every opportunity to educate herself.  She enrolled in English and a typing class at the local community college and asked questions whenever she could.  Along the way, she asked a friend of hers, who had owned a wholesale clothing store in Los Angeles’ Fashion District if she could buy some cloths at wholesale.  He agreed and she started on her path as an entrepreneur.

She sold those clothes everywhere she went: on the bus, door to door, at school, and at work.  After a few years, she saved enough money to start a few businesses.  She tried ventures ranging from a travel agency, clothing boutique, land lord and then finally took a somewhat bigger risk.  She opened a car dealership.  The first lot was located in East Los Angeles on Atlantic called America Auto Sales.  The dealership grew and she quickly established a large base of loyal clients.  Her clients were so loyal in fact, that they consistently recommended friends and other family members to buy cars from her.  She took her strong work ethic into this business and worked with banks to approve people who had a difficult time getting approved at other dealerships, and eventually carried some of the loans herself.   This sort of diligence lead her dealership to be one of the top sellers on the Avenue.  Adela was no stranger to obstacles, but one would come that would define a new paradigm in her life.

Early in the year 2000, the county issued eminent domain in order to remove Adela from her business location.  The county was soon going to be build a new school on the site where she had a successful growing business.  She was forced to find a completely different location, and fast.  After much searching, she found a vacant lot in Downey.  Though intimidated by the large size of the lot, was reminded of the dream she had when she was younger as well as the many jobs she could create in this new location.  Quickly, she found out that with this lot too, there were obstacles to overcome.

There was already a company in the process of purchasing the property.  However, she also discovered that the city had been hesitant on approving the construction because the company in question was a storage facility which they didn’t want on a main boulevard.  Adela went quickly into action.  She had an architect draw up plans for a new and beautiful dealership, and pitched the idea to the city council.  The council approved her idea, and she was able to find her new location within the time frame that she was being kicked out of her original lot.

A few contractors, tons of headaches and two years later, the construction project was finally completed.  The aesthetics of the building are now recognized by locals as being a thing of beauty and definitely a gem in the city of Downey.  As a proud resident and business owner in the city, Adela continues to show her commitment to improving the growing Latino community by having her dealership serve as a polling location for elections, contributing to Warren High School’s soccer and football team, and participating as a sponsor in various community events such as Downey’s annual Holiday Parade.

CSUF Student Consulting Project Client's business.

Thank you David for that wonderful story and we wish you and your family all the best in the future! If you want to find out a little bit more about Adela Beltran’s business click here.

Orange County Business Leaders on Giving Back

If you are part of a family business and you were looking for tips on how to give back to the community then you should seriously think about attending this event:

What:

Three business leaders will discuss the importance of companies contributing back to their communities Wednesday, March 14, as part of “Does Your Community Know You Are There? How Giving Back to Your Community Benefits Everyone,” sponsored by Cal State Fullerton’s Family Business Council.

Who:

Dennis Kuhl, chair of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim; Wing Lam, founder of Wahoo’s Fish Tacos; and Annemarie Dillard, director of contemporary sportswear for Dillard’s Inc., will share their insights.

When:

Wednesday, March 14
4:30-7:30 p.m. (dinner provided by Wahoo’s Fish Tacos)

Where:

Meridian Sports Club
1535 Deerpark Dr., Fullerton, 92831

Background:

The Family Business Council, operating within the CSUF Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, is a partnership between the business community and university. Its mission is to enhance the well-being and survivability of family businesses by providing opportunities for education, interaction and information tailored to business needs and concerns.

Cost:

Free for first-time family business attendees interested in becoming a member of the Family Business Council. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Robbin Bretzing at 657-278-4182 or by email at fbc@fullerton.edu.