Category Archives: John Bradley Jackson

Financing the Startup – CSUF Startup Incubator Event

Click to RSVP For the Financing the Startup Event

Click to RSVP For the Financing the Startup Event

Whenever we host an event at the CSUF Startup Incubator our goal is to educate all in attendance. After working with entrepreneurs for years I can safely say that the area of raising investment capital is one of those areas that entrepreneurs need the most education on.

Many of the entrepreneurs I have talked with think that they need to get funded by an Angel or a VC before they can start their company. That’s absolutely true for some companies and other companies will need investments along the way to fund growth. But the vast (vast, vast, vast, vast, vast…) majority of companies do not receive funding from Angels or VCs. As Director Jackson would put it, “That’s rarefied air.” That’s certainly true.

So, what is a budding entrepreneur to do? Fear not, we’re hosting an event this Wednesday at 6pm at the Incubator in Placentia that deals with this subject. Titled “Financing the Startup” (I think someone thought that it sounded like the movie title “Romancing the Stone” and that similarity was funny), Director John Bradley Jackson will give an overview of the financing landscape for startup entrepreneurs and provide some insights into how best to raise money.

This event, like all of our others (so far… we have to put that little bit in there for legal reasons, I think) will be free. Come and join us and maybe you’ll learn how to fund your startup! What do you have to lose?

#CSUFEntrepreneur

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

#CSUFStartup

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

More events: http://bit.ly/CSUFEntrepreneurEvent

CSUF Campus Authors Recognized

150226 Socially Close - Book CoverAnd one of those authors was none other than Director John Bradley Jackson. Last year, Director Jackson published Socially Close: Social Media Marketing for Small Business, which is about how businesses should be using social media in their marketing campaigns.

Here’s a description of the book from Director Jackson’s website:

  • Frustrated with social media at your small business?
  • Confused by the stampede of new social networks and their ever-changing features?
  • Not getting the return on investment that you expected?

If that sounds familiar, then this is the book for you. For most small businesses, the promise of social media is to get found on the web, build brand awareness, create a dialog, nurture relationships, establish trust, and encourage people to buy your products and services. Making that promise a reality requires a vibrant social media strategy, an intimate knowledge of the brand, and a disciplined social media effort.

The title, “Socially Close”, describes the desired end-game of using social media. With so many choices on the web today, buyers are increasingly sophisticated and need more than a succinct description of your products and services. While it is true that the web provides some customers an auction like atmosphere with low price and quickest delivery, this type of customer relationship is short-lived since there is always a lower price or a quicker lead-time offered by a competitor.

It is my opinion that many customers prefer to establish a trust-based relationship with their providers. The customer who trusts your business is much more likely to do business with you again and to recommend you to others. This is the type of customer that you want to have a close relationship with and keep for the long term. This nurturing of relationships, whether they are new or sustained, is how social media can help the small business.

Unlike the large business which may have substantial resources for managing social media, the small firm may have few resources. Yet, the small firm may receive the best return on investment due to the scaling impact of social media. Thus, social media can greatly accelerate the relationship growth rate between customer and small firm which this book describes as being socially close.

For a full list of the authors honored at the event click HERE.

Event Highlights: Successful Women and how they Think about Business Differently

IMG_0254The other day we posted the full audio of our recent panel titled: “Successful Women and how they Think about Business Differently.” It’s a great listen and while we do recommend listening to the whole panel discussion we now also have video highlights from the event. Enjoy!

Event: Think Globally, Act Locally

The Department of Marketing and the Centers for Entrepreneurship and International Business would like to invite all of you to the “Think Globally, Act Locally: Building Local Roots for America’s Small Business” event. At this event you will get the opportunity to hear from Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson and and Center for International Business Director Jeff Williamson.

This event will be held in the Titan Student Union Theatre on Wednesday, February 11 from 1pm to 2pm. Space for this event is limited so please make sure to RSVP to cib@fullerton.edu or you can also contact the Center for International Business at (657) 278-8264 or you can even visit their offices in SGMH 3357. Continue reading

Startups + Incubators = Good Sense

Vincent Yancoskie '10 - CSUF EntrepreneurshipFor many startups, joining an incubator can make good sense. Yet, incubators are not all alike; this requires the startup to do some homework and ask some basic questions.

The first question to address is for the startup itself. What type of help does your startup need? Most startups will answer this question saying that they need help finding investor capital. An infusion of cash may well help the fledgling business, but the “ask” of the investor can be a waste of time if the startup is not prepared for the “due diligence” process. Many seed investors have very specific requirements for their prospective startup investments. The list can include proof of concept, intellectual property, a full management team, documented customer development, prototypes, etc. My experience is that few startups have these essentials.

Readiness for funding is a key criterion for the startup looking for funding. The investors also want to see a “pitch” via PowerPoint, an executive summary, a business model canvas, and a business plan. Thus, this is how the incubator can help.

You need to ask the prospective incubator to describe what they do. Some incubators specialize by industry or category such as food, biotech, clean-tech, or even agriculture. Other incubators may be non-profit in nature and may focus on a geographic region with the hopes of local economic development and job creation. Still other incubators may have a decidedly aggressive investment posture with a trade of cash for a significant equity slice.

CSUF’s Startup Incubator is adjacent to the University in downtown Placentia. The Incubator provides promising and coach-able startups access to technical advice, assistance in the hunt for seed capital, a place to meet and work, a large network of veteran entrepreneurs, and expert guidance concerning patents, technology transfer, licensing, royalties, contracts, and new venture formation.

The CSUF Startup Incubator will function as a “hatchery” for innovation; the goal would be to commercialize resident startups within 180 days. Many traditional business incubators coddle new ventures and make money from renting the facility and providing professional services to them. In contrast, the CSUF Startup Incubator will aggressively challenge its residents to “succeed quickly or fail fast.” The Incubator will achieve this through stringent feasibility testing, thorough market research, verified proof of concept, and rigorous beta testing of products and services. An experienced team of content experts, innovators and entrepreneurs will optimize the commercialization process by helping innovators avoid mistakes and lost time.

Are you ready for this challenge? If so, you can learn more at http://business.fullerton.edu/centers/cfe/StartupIncubator.htm. Better yet, apply now!

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
Professor, Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fullerton.edu

Why Should a Startup Consider a Business Incubator?

Sadaf SaloutBusiness incubation is not new.

While most people recognize the dotcom era as the birth of business incubation, startups have received support from service organizations, large corporations, universities, and government agencies for decades. All have had a similar mission of helping the fledgling startup survive and become company with a viable business model, more or less.

For the record, a business incubator is an organization designed to accelerate the growth and success of entrepreneurial firms through an array of business support resources and services that could include physical space, capital, coaching, common services, and networking connections (source: Entrepreneur.com). Be advised that many incubators specialize by industry, technology, startup maturity, or location. Some charge rent and offer administrative services, while others take equity for their support. All offer the hope of a success transition from a company wannabe to successful entity with a viable business model.

Making that happen is no easy task since startup success statistics are pretty grim. Bloomberg recently reported that 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months. What causes startup failure? There are many factors, but the list includes things such as ill-conceived business concepts without customers, lack of capital, bad management, poor market timing, lack of experience and, oddly enough, unexpected growth.

So why should an early stage startup consider getting help from a business incubator? While incubator expertise can vary greatly, here are a few reasons for considering the help of an incubator:

  1. Mentors – Most incubators offer the assistance of cagey veterans who have started and successfully managed companies. While some advice may be technical, much is wisdom earned from making tough decisions and living them.
  2. Access to Funding – Savvy investors prowl incubators with the hope of finding the next big thing. This early stage seed funding is expensive money but may be the difference between success and failure.
  3. Like Minded People – Incubators provide a watering hole for innovative startups that have similar visions of business success. Often the incubator environment is stimulating and fun. The camaraderie can be contagious.
  4. Mistake Repellent – OK, I invented that term. Look at this way, an incubator can provide a road map of how to start up a startup. This includes what to do and what pitfalls to avoid. This counsel can save time and money. Big time.
  5. Introductions to Professional Services – This can include intellectual property attorneys, CPAs and bookkeepers, insurance agents, and sources for manufacturing prototypes. Once again this can save time and money.
  6. Accountability – Some incubators are run like boot camps with daily intellectual aerobics; others softly coach and prod the founders forward, but all hold the startups to well defined goals and milestones. This may be the most important factor to consider.

Starting up a business is unbelievably exhilarating and perilous. While you can go at it alone, business incubation can provide a safer and quicker path to success.

John Bradley Jackson

Director of the CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and Founder of the CSUF Startup Incubator

 

Two Part Time Paid Student Mentors Needed

Bryan Duncan gives a Science on a Sphere presentation at the Beautiful Earth (Bella Gaia) program for Middle school students from Annapolis Middle, Goddard French Immersion School. You might not be doing something as cool as teaching with holograms but you will definitely be making a difference in kids' lives. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Bill Hrybyk

Bryan Duncan gives a Science on a Sphere presentation at the Beautiful Earth (Bella Gaia) program for Middle school students from Annapolis Middle, Goddard French Immersion School.
You might not be doing something as cool as teaching with holograms but you will definitely be making a difference in kids’ lives.
Credit: NASA/Goddard/Bill Hrybyk

The University has secured a grant which provides an after school program at 4 middle schools in Anaheim. This after school program will teach the children science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and the principles of entrepreneurship, which includes the lean startup philosophy.

We will need two CSUF Business students who will work 4-8 hours a week at the middle school with hours of approximately of 3 – 6 pm. This program begins in early October.

Please contact John Bradley Jackson at the Center for Entrepreneurship at jjackson@fullerton.edu or 657 278 8413.

This will look great on your resume! and it will pay $12.00 per hour.

flickr | NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

CSUF Wins $1 Million Grant to Fund STEM and Entrepreneurship Program for Middle School Students

NSF logoA collaboration between the California State University, Fullerton Colleges of Education, Engineering and Computer Sciences and the Mihaylo College of Business and Economics has netted a grant worth more than $1 million to teach and promote STEM and entrepreneurship to middle school students. According to CSUF News, the project is titled “Strategies: Science, Technology and Engineering Mini-Business Incubator” and its goal is to “[integrate] STEM study and entrepreneurship training to engage seventh- and eighth-graders, said Jidong Huang, associate professor of electrical engineering, who will direct the project. The project also will train science and mathematics teachers [on how] to integrate engineering and computer science concepts and practices in their classrooms.”

What we are trying to do with this grant is to create more of the kinds of students who entered the first Titan Fast Pitch Competition, just like the ones pictured above.

What we are trying to do with this grant is to create more of the kinds of students who entered the first Titan Fast Pitch Competition, just like the ones pictured above.

With funding from the National Science Foundation the central goal of this CSUF project is the promotion of STEM- and entrepreneurship-related curricula. The CSUF contingent of science, education and entrepreneurship professors are well on their way towards researching and designing an innovative after-school program for approximately 160 seventh and eighth grade students in the Anaheim area. This program will focus on science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), lean startup and other entrepreneurial principles.

Led by Dr. Jidong Huang, an electrical engineering professor, the group of CSUF professors responsible for this project include: Dr. Amy Cox-Petersen from the College of Education, Dr. Pradeep Nair from Computer Engineering, and John Bradley Jackson, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and professor of Entrepreneurship. Dr. Diane Donnelly-Toscano will also make major contributions to this project as the representative from the Anaheim Union High School District. Continue reading

Why do so many Startups Fail – Podcast Discussion

Critical Mass for Business - PictureRecently, Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson joined a panel of businesspeople and academics to discuss why so many early stage companies fail. This is part of the Critical Mass for Business Radio Show Series and the participants included:

The audio for this show can be found here.

Patent Trolls in the 19th Century?

Sharks in Iowa?

As strange as it sounds, “patent trolls” are not just a 21st century problem. It turns out this type of predator was also present in the late 1800s. Back then the trolls were called “patent sharks” and they were just as crafty as present day patent trolls.

Circa 1860 the US Patent Office made a decision to loosen up patent standards for designs of farm implements: plows, grain cradles, pitchforks, etc. This policy decision was met with a flurry of inferior and non-specific patents which then opened the door for the patent sharks.

The patent sharks would travel to isolated farm communities and threaten the farmers who were using the farm tools with the oblique patents. A quick cash settlement would normally avoid court. Sound familiar? The farmers protested to the Feds but little happened for about a decade. Later the US Patent Office returned to the higher patent standards that existed prior to the Civil War.

Lessons for the 21st Century? A good patent is a specific patent.  The Federal Government ain’t so smart. The small business man (the farmer of today) is the best prey for the troll. Bad guys follow the money.

Want to learn more about how to protect your small business or start up from the Patent Trolls? Come join CSUF Entrepreneurship at our seminar called:

Patent Trolls and Other IP-Related Threats:
How to Protect Your Business from a New Kind of Predator

Presented by: The CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Center for Family Business

Date: Wed., January, 22, 2014
Time: 6:00 p.m. (reception begins at 5:30 p.m.)
Location: Mihaylo College of Business and Economics
The O’Brien Center, Third Floor
800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fullerton.edu

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.”

 

Hunan University visits CSUF and FastStart.studio

A delegation of MBA students from Hunan University visited CSUF a couple of weeks ago. John Bradley Jackson, the Director for the Center for Entrepreneurship and a Professor of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Cal State Fullerton, delivered a seminar to our visitors focusing on the state of entrepreneurship in America, California and in Orange County as well. Here are a couple of the slides from that seminar:

During their visit, the Hunan University Delegation not only was able to visit the Cal State Fullerton main campus but they also had the change to visit a business incubator. Below are some pictures of their visit to CSUF and to FastStart.studio, the business incubator.

Professor JJ with visitors from Hunan University.

Owner of business incubator FastStart.studio, Michael Sawitz, giving a presentation to visitors from Hunan University.

Director Jackson, Michael Sawitz and delegation from Hunan University

BUAD 410 – Starting and Managing a Small Business

Most of the students who are reading this are probably business majors and, as business majors, I’m sure that your non-business major friends have asked you what it takes to run a business. You explain the basics to them as best you can but there’s no way you are able to go into enough depth to really help them. Starting now, you can tell your non-business major friends who want to know how to run a business that there is a class for them.

Starting in the Spring 2014 semester, CSUF will offer a class designed to help non-business majors learn how to run a business:

BUAD 410 – Starting and Managing a Professional Practice/Small Business

The purpose of this course is as follows:

BUAD 410 will introduce students to the fundamentals of starting and managing a professional practice / small business including:  planning, raising capital, using business information, managing employees, and marketing products and services. The course is oriented toward individuals who desire to start and operate a professional practice / small business. The class targets non-business majors who have an interest in starting their own professional practice or small business after graduation.

Students in this class will be exposed to the following elements:

  • Business Concept
  • Business Feasibility
  • Legal Issues
  • Marketing the practice of Small Business
  • Finance
  • Tax Issues
  • Managing Risk
  • The Business Plan

There are still a few openings left in this class for the upcoming Spring semester so make sure to sign up before it’s too late!

Junior or senior status is required to take this class. For more information about this class please contact Professor Jackson at 657-278-8413.

The Importance of Financial Literacy

Student learns about personal finances

Being financially literate isn’t something you are born into or passively acquire as you get older. It is something that you have to actively learn. And it’s better to start now then to wait until it’s too late.

Everyone knows that the literacy rate is not where it should be but people do not usually stop to consider the problems associated with a lack of financial literacy. Think about it, if you do not understand the differences between a savings account and a CD then you will probably be met with some financial difficulties in the future (to put it mildly).

Unfortunately, far too many people graduate from high school without even the slightest bit of training in this area (according to a recent study, only 14 states require courses on financial literacy to be taught at the high school level). Not preparing for the future can hamstring your life in so many ways and the longer you wait to do something the less impact it necessarily has. In our recent post, Why Your Twenties Matter, we showed that your twenties are crucial years in your life because, statistically speaking, the choices you make in your twenties have more of an impact on your personal, professional and financial lives.

For example, according to Bankrate.com, if you start investing $2,000 per year starting when you are 25 then you will have about $560,000 in the bank once you reach 65 (assuming an 8% rate of return). However, if you don’t start saving $2,000 per year until you are 35 then you will only end up with about $245,000 at 65 (assuming an 8% rate of return again).

So, what are we really talking about here? I think the best way to answer that question is by quoting PBS’ quality site on this subject:

The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy defines personal financial literacy as “the ability to use knowledge and skills to manage financial resources effectively for a lifetime of financial well-being.” (2008 Annual Report to the President)

Personal financial literacy is more than just being able to balance a checkbook, compare prices or get a job. It also includes skills like long-term vision and planning for the future, and the discipline to use those skills every day.

The PBS site is a repository of great information on the subject that can be useful to everyone. Within that site there are resources such as:

  • Help on planning for retirement
  • A wide array of financial calculators
  • Definitions of common words found in the financial sphere
  • There are even quizzes to test your absorption of the material

Another site you can look to for information on this subject is MyMoney.gov. From their site:

MyMoney.gov is the U.S. government’s website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics about financial education. Whether you are buying a home, balancing your checkbook, or investing in your 401(k), the resources on MyMoney.gov can help you maximize your financial decisions. Throughout the site, you will find important information from more than 20 Federal agencies and Bureaus designed to help you make smart financial choices.

Recently, Center for Entrepreneurship Director and Professor John Bradley Jackson participated in a seminar hosted by the Center for Economic Education on campus to help people become more financially literate. Talking about how to formulate a business plan, Professor Jackson explained to those in attendance what the purpose of a business plan was, how to develop one and resources that they could use to help them in their business endeavors.

Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson lectures on the importance of business plans to a group of people who are hard at work improving their financial literacy skills.

Center for Economic Education Director Dr. Radha Bhattacharya oversaw a full slate of presentations like Director Jackson’s. “Teaching Economics,” “The Stock Market Game and Personal finance” and “Future Financial Life” were just three of the other presentations given through this day of financial literacy bolstering. If you would like to know when the next event like this is going to happen please follow the Center for Economic Education and the Center for Entrepreneurship as well.

Why Your Twenties Matter

Starting to make something out of your life in your twenties may seem like a daunting task but it would be even more so if you waited until your thirties to really start trying to make something out of your life.

Once upon a time it was typical for a college graduate to secure a high-paying job, buy a home, find your life partner and begin a family all by the time you were in your mid to late twenties. This bit of conventional wisdom seems to have expired about a decade ago.

Indeed, Millennials are keenly aware of the challenges associated with coming of age in the aftermath of the great recession of 2007. While difficult, this doesn’t mean you should spend your twenties twiddling your thumbs.

If you are “twenty-something” you face a different set of challenges than the preceding generation, but your twenties remain a pivotal point in your own timeline and its significance should not be underestimated. Early adulthood may feel inconsequential, but the decisions you make now will serve as the foundation upon which the rest your life is built, both personally and professionally. No pressure.

Thirty is not the new twenty. In her TED talk, Why 30 is not the new 20, clinical psychologist Dr. Meg Jay underscores the impact this period of early adulthood has on subsequent decades.

If you are having problems viewing this video click HERE.

You might not get married in your twenties but it’s highly probable that you’ll meet your future partner during this time. Moreover, you learn about yourself within the context of your relationships. The kinds of relationships you have as a twenty-something set the tone for future relationships. Dr. Jay suggests that, “The best time to work on your marriage is before you have one.”

The internships you take and the jobs you seek in your twenties can pave the way for future career opportunities. The experience you gain and the skills you acquire before you are thirty can propel your professional life forward. Envision your work life as an interconnected series of events with the past jobs and internships enabling future opportunities.

Twenty-somethings have many advantages in the new workplace. One is that you haven’t spent decades reinforcing poor working habits. Young adults generally have more stamina and more flexibility than older workers. Growing up as native PC users, Millennials greet new technology with a glee that older workers can only admire.

In this special decade of your twenties, it is up to you to make your own luck. Here are a few suggestions:

Discover your purpose. You are not on this planet by accident and it is your job to figure out what you must do. Once your purpose is found, go forward and live your life with intention.

Don’t follow the crowd. Celebrate your uniqueness regardless of what it might be. Successful people are remembered by their unique achievements and not for their sameness.

Network your brains out. The overwhelming majority of life’s most important opportunities are going to come from contacts with a couple degrees of separation. Don’t hesitate to expand your network by reaching out to someone with whom you share a mutual friend.

Consider the creation of your own personal board of directors. Made up of mentors who have skills and wisdom that you don’t have, these trusted advisers can give you feedback to keep you focused professionally and personally.

Make excellent work a ritual. Don’t settle for good; instead do work that others will admire.

Make good choices consistently. This may mean slowing down and avoiding impulsive decisions. Instead, consider the long term impact of your decisions on you and on others.

Journal or blog. Most successful people make a habit of writing about their feelings, goals and aspirations. The writing process helps make the possible real.

Time is not unlimited. Blink and you will be in your thirties. What are you doing now to invest in the person you want to be in ten years?

John Bradley Jackson
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship
jjackson@fullerton.edu

[Photo: Tiger Lao]