Category Archives: Student Consulting

One Way To Become A Better Entrepreneur

Becoming better at anything takes a lot of work and, as you will find out in this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider from Center for Entrepreneurship John Bradley Jackson, working with a CSUF Consulting team is one way to achieve that goal.

It is said that curiosity killed the cat but I do not know of a single successful entrepreneur who has heeded that warning. In fact, it’s just the opposite; curiosity is in every entrepreneur’s DNA.

Every entrepreneur I know makes time to learn new things and expose themselves to new ideas. Whether they are attending a talk to learn how to give a great pitch to investors or engaging in a consulting project with one of our CSUF Consulting teams to learn new business techniques they have committed themselves to continuously improving themselves and, by extension, their businesses.

Of the many benefits that our CSUF Consulting clients receive one of the most important is a more thorough understanding of how to think and act like an entrepreneur. Through close collaboration with our consulting teams, our clients are able to internalize the processes by which they can think and act more strategically about their businesses. These lessons tend to stick with our clients for a lifetime and there is always something new to learn.

We are still looking for clients for the spring semester and if you are interested in becoming a client or know of a company that would be a good fit for the CSUF Consulting program please fill out an application and submit it to Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina via email at cymedina@fullerton.edu or give her a call at (657) 278-8243.

Sincerely,

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

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Last Chance to work with CSUF Consulting this Semester

CSUF Consulting

CSUF Consulting team that won a national consulting competition for the work they did for their client

We almost have all of the clients we need for CSUF Consulting this semester but there are still a couple of openings for businesses that are looking for fresh insights and creative solutions. Also check out the events and office hours we have scheduled in this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider.

“Any business that is looking for new insight and creativity would definitely benefit from this program.”
Kathy Proffit, Anderson Bat Company
As was the case with Anderson Bat Company I believe that any business can benefit from an engagement with a CSUF Consulting team because a fresh perspective is what is needed to identify opportunities or develop solutions for pressing issues.We have a couple of spots open during the spring semester for businesses that want to benefit from the “new insights and creativity” that CSUF Consulting teams bring to every project they work on. Companies that embrace this opportunity will work with a CSUF Consulting team over the next three months to develop a comprehensive plan tackling one of the following disciplines:

  • Overall Strategy
  • Finance/Accounting
  • Human Resources/Leadership

If you are interested in becoming a client or know of a company that would be a good fit for the CSUF Consulting program please fill out an application and submit it to Client Project Specialist Charlesetta Medina via email at cymedina@fullerton.edu or give her a call at (657) 278-8243.

Sincerely,

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

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CSUF Consulting is the Creative Solution

CSUF MBA 2nd Place Finishing TeamCreativity is the lifeblood of business and a CSUF Consulting team is the perfect way to inject some creativity into your business. All businesses can benefit from a fresh perspective and our teams are adept at finding solutions where most others would not have even looked.

And please make sure to sign up for the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider to make sure that you do not miss any of the events or news that is important to the CSUF Entrepreneurship community.

Every year, more than 100 businesses harness the creativity of Cal State Fullerton’s students to develop comprehensive strategic plans that can be used to make dramatic improvements to core parts of their business.

Clients have utilized the recommendations from their CSUF Consulting teams to develop a robust customer retention program, save money by going green, align company culture with strategic initiatives, and in many other ways. Working with a CSUF Consulting team is a key way businesses can proactively take charge of their future instead of reacting to events.

One of the key differentiators of the CSUF Consulting program is its combination of creativity and wisdom. Each CSUF Consulting team has four to six upper division students or MBA candidates, a supervising professor, and a mentor for undergraduate teams.

The students effuse creativity in everything they do. Armed with the knowledge they are learning in their studies and unburdened by years of doing things a certain way they are able to come up with solutions where others would not have even looked.

Wisdom is not discounted, however, and is amply supplied for by the professors and mentors in our program. They provide balance to our teams and keep projects focused on the main goal: producing excellent recommendations for our clients.

Chances are, you know a business that would be a great fit for the CSUF Consulting program. You might even have a business that could benefit from the creative thinking that is the hallmark of our program. If so, please get in touch with our Client Project Specialist, Charlesetta Medina by calling her at (657) 278-8243 or by sending an email to entrepreneurship@fullerton.edu to request more information.

Sincerely,

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

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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.


#CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

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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

Now Accepting CSUF Consulting Clients for Spring

This is a CSUF Consulting team that won the Small Business Institute's National Project of the Year Competition in the Undergraduate Division. Good job team!

This is a CSUF Consulting team that won the Small Business Institute’s National Project of the Year Competition in the Undergraduate Division. Good job team!

Every Monday we publish a weekly report to CSUF Entrepreneurship Insiders. In today’s report we announce the launch our Spring 2017 client recruitment efforts. The CSUF Consulting program is an integral part of the education of our students because it enables them to put into action the lessons they have learned with real businesses. The CSUF Consulting program is also of huge benefit to companies that participate because they receive innovative strategies on ways to make their businesses’ stronger from the reports our students create.

If you are interested in becoming a client of the CSUF Consulting program please get in touch with our Client Project Specialist, Charlesetta Medina, at (657) 278-8243.

What follows is the weekly CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider report from CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship and CSUF Startup Incubator Director John Bradley Jackson.

Every semester we welcome a diverse group of businesses into the CSUF Consulting program and we are now accepting applications for the Spring 2017 semester. For a relatively small fee, these businesses, our clients, have the opportunity to work with a student team over the course of the semester to develop a comprehensive action plan that tackles a specific part of their business.

All businesses can benefit from a fresh perspective and that is exactly what our student teams provide. Armed with the latest business knowledge from multiple disciplines and the creativity that is evident in so many of our students the CSUF Consulting program has helped all kinds of businesses ranging from startups to Hilton Hotels.

The Hilton Hotels project is one that I am particularly proud of. When clients initially contact us, many of them automatically think that marketing projects have the highest ROI, which isn’t always the case. Our team that worked with Hilton Hotels made this abundantly clear by developing a comprehensive energy sustainability plan that has saved the hotel a lot of money.

And that story has been repeated many times over the years with our teams developing plans to help clients in a wide range of areas. I’m sure every business can improve and that one of our teams can help accomplish that goal.

While we are completing current client engagements from the Fall Semester, the Center for Entrepreneurship looks forward to working with the students, clients, mentors, and professors next semester. We have a very strong community full of innovative people and I am confident that we will help make many more businesses stronger next semester and for years to come!

If you are interested in becoming a client of this program please contact Client Project Specialist, Charlesetta Medina, at (657) 278-8243 and she can walk you through the process in more detail. We look forward to working with you!

Sincerely,

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

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New MBA Marketing Consulting Projects Available for Businesses… Act Now!

CSUF Consulting National Champion team from CSUF Entrepreneurship

CSUF Consulting National Champion team from CSUF Entrepreneurship

I know this is a little irregular but we have just found out that we need to find another four clients for one of our MBA marketing classes. This class is a new addition to CSUF Consulting and, while they do not strictly adhere to our standard consulting practices, we have worked with them in the past and I can vouch for the good work that they do. Marketing is regularly one of the most sought after consulting projects that we offer and I’m sure that your business or a business that you know of would like some assistance in bringing in more customers and in learning the most cutting edge marketing techniques.

These projects will start next week and will conclude at the end of the semester in December. Each team features CSUF MBA students who are brimming with concepts and strategies learned in the classroom and from their own professional experiences. Every client will receive an exhaustively researched marketing strategy report and a presentation highlighting the most important recommendations from their CSUF Consulting team.

Our teams will start working with their clients next week so please get in touch with us now to engage with one of our MBA consulting teams at a reduced price.

If you have a business that is looking for creative ways to grow or know of another business that is please contact Ms. Charlesetta Medina, Client Project Specialist, at (657) 278-8243 or by emailing her at cymedina@fullerton.edu.

Sincerely,

John Bradley Jackson

Director, Center for Entrepreneurship

P.S. Thank you for your tremendous support and help with our program. I know these types of posts can be annoying but since consulting projects are a central tenet of our program I am obliged to do everything I can to make sure all of our students have consulting projects every semester. And reaching out to our greatest resource, you and the other members of the CSUF Entrepreneurship community, is the best way to make sure that we have the requisite number of clients every semester. Thank you for your patience with me.