Tag Archives: business consulting

Getting New Things Done with CSUF Entrepreneurship

In this edition of the CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider (sign up to get this newsletter delivered to your email box every week) Director John Bradley Jackson highlights the new book by Professor David Obstfeld: Getting New Things Done. Getting new things done requires people to work together towards a common goal and for businesses that means developing new ideas and creative solutions. The CSUF Consulting program is designed to help business do this and we are currently accepting applications from businesses now for the fall semester. Read ahead to find out how to apply.

Getting New Things Done is CSUF Entrepreneurship Professor David Obstfeld’s new book published by Stanford University Press. In this book, David lays out a framework for how new things are accomplished and he cites many examples of this process in action. It’s a thoroughly researched work and it definitely has value for anyone who wants to have a better understanding of how innovation happens.

One of the key insights from David’s book is that innovators do not operate in a vacuum. Innovations need support to take hold and that support can come in many different ways. Take, for example, the CSUF Consulting program. We work with dozens of businesses every semester to help them develop innovative solutions for their toughest problems. Whether the difficulty lies in their marketing plan, operations, accounting systems, or their company’s culture, our teams of students are able to create actionable solutions for our clients.

We are recruiting clients for the fall semester right now and if you or a business that you know could benefit from working with one of our CSUF Consulting teams please give Project Client Specialist Charlesetta Medina a call at (657) 278-8243 for more information on how one of our consulting teams can help you get new things done.

Sincerely,

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

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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 Consulting Teams Finish Second, Third in National Competition

CSUF Consulting Helps Small Business

Every year, the CSUF Consulting program works with over 100 clients to help them improve their businesses in a number of key ways, including: Marketing, Operations, Finance, Accounting, and General Strategy. From these projects we enter one undergraduate and one MBA project into a national consulting competition for universities. Out of the hundreds of universities who entered this competition both of our teams finished in the Top 3 in their categories!

Dr. Lorenzo Bizzi’s MBA Capstone team took home the second place prize in the Graduate Comprehensive Project category, which means they did a comprehensive review of their client’s business and created a general strategy report for them based off of their observations and research. This is the first Top 3 finish for Dr. Bizzi; his team consisted of: Jennifer Pueblo, Rossana Alvarez, Hanisha Balani, Amber Soares, Leo Lee, and Bown Guan and their client was Orange County Fair and Events Center.

This was an invaluable experience which not only exposed the team to the world of consulting, but also helped to create and cement life-long professional and personal contacts. Access to Dr. Bizzi’s knowledge and expertise served as an instrumental force to focus and guide our consulting project which in the end, validated everything we learned but may not be able to be fully utilized in our day-to-day careers,” said MBA team member Rossana.

CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson’s marketing consulting team took the third place honors in the Undergraduate Specialized portion of the competition, which means that the team did an intensive review of their client’s current marketing efforts and created a strategic plan on how to achieve the goals as set out by the client. This is the fifth time that one of Professor Jackson’s teams have finished in the Top 3 since he has been teaching at Cal State Fullerton and his team consisted of: Stacy Goldstein, Emma Osman, Johnathon Veta, Andrew Goclowski, Tristan Schmitt, and Jenny Frolova; Curtis Chan, founder of Chan & Associates and Cognitive Impact, was their mentor.

“Collaboration was the key to this project. Our client was the Fullerton College Foundation and they were open to the students working with them to develop an in-depth marketing strategy plan for them to increase the volume of donations coming in. On our end, the team worked very hard and I am proud of their report and the fact that they did so well in the competition,” said Director Jackson.

Stacy Goldstein, one of the students working on the undergraduate project with Professor Jackson, had this to say about her experience working on this project: “For me, the best value I got out of doing the project was working with a great team. A lot of students, myself included, dread the “evil” group projects. While I can’t claim to have ever had a truly terrible team in my academic career, I can boast this team was the best. A positive group project experience like that in an academic setting is so very rare, and I’m glad to have experienced it.”

This competition is hosted by the Small Business Institute (SBI), a national organization that promotes and supports universities in employing high impact practices in their courses like consulting projects. Including these two teams, the CSUF Consulting program has now finished in the Top 10 of the SBI National competition 31 times. We’re looking forward to many more wonderful projects and many more exemplary clients like the ones we worked with for years to come.

[03/21/17 Edit: Added in quote by MBA team member Rossana Alvarez and included her name on the list of students on the MBA team]


#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

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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CSUF Entrepreneurship Client Recruiting Season is now Open

CSUF Business ConsultingEvery business has, or at least should have, a leader. This is the person who is responsible for the company’s strategy, who makes the tough decisions, who is the person that is ultimately responsible for the business’ success or failure. And this person, at least the good ones, know that they cannot do it alone. They realize that the people who are working for the company are assets.

But can you honestly say that you are getting the most out of your assets? Do you know a leader who thinks he is but is really squandering a lot of that value? That’s where we come in. Our program has done hundreds of consulting cases dealing with organizational development issues. Continue reading

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

CSUF Business Consulting – THRA Client Testimonial

Lary Smith is the owner and founder of the Horse Race Authority

Lary Smith is the owner and founder of The Horse Race Advantage

After leaving careers in the US Navy and aerospace industry and closing an aerospace engineering business that I was plank owner of (that’s Navy talk for one of the founding members, more or less) after twelve years of operation, I was left with a legacy spinoff called The Horse Race Advantage. How did this happen? Well, to cut a long story short, our CEO, Eleonora (El) Gianoulis, is an extraordinary mathematician, aerospace software analyst and thoroughbred race handicapper. It was under her tutelage that our aerospace software engineers developed this “thoroughbred horse race ranking algorithm” that we have grown into a real business.

We were able to make the algorithm into a service that provides subscribers handicapping and rankings for all of the races for all of the major tracks in North America every racing day. The demonstrated effectiveness of our Handicapping by El has been 70%+ in the money since our website launch in July 2012.

In spinning out the “horsey business” from the engineering small business we were challenged to learn its intricacies. We found out that the web subscription service development and maintenance requires daily content updates, technical maintenance and customer support. After a couple of costly learning experiences in website development, we were eventually successful in creating and launching the current website and getting past residual technical issues. Our company, headquartered in Columbia, Kentucky is operated with our domain expert in Eubank, Kentucky and technical support through Incite Support Services, LLC located in the Fullerton area.

Just short of divine intervention, we have been most fortunate by the appearance of our current webmaster, Mr. Kent Behrends, of BEHR Consulting International. Mr. Behrends, a CSUF alumni, is eager to help small business startups as an aside to his very successful consulting service for computing networks and web-based internet technology.

After our website launched in July 2012 we were eager to find out if we would be successful in getting to our market; would being a credible handicapping service for all major thoroughbred tracks in North America be enough for people?!?! At first we ran a few banner ads and we set up Facebook and Twitter accounts linked to our home page along with email campaigns. We also had Google Analytics on all of our pages and we were focusing on Search Engine Optimization.

In the fall of 2013 it became clear that we were not reaching customers and that we needed cutting edge eCommerce marketing expertise and an effective overall marketing plan. Even with an exciting subject like horseracing after a year of operating our gross revenues were just one-third of our gross costs.

The Horse Race AdvantageAnd then came the Center for Entrepreneurship from California State University, Fullerton. After a short application process in early 2014, a CSUF team of seven students and a mentor from the private sector, all under the supervision of Professor John Bradley Jackson, created and negotiated a Letter of Engagement with my company that outlined a specific plan of what the team would do for my company.

In part, the team was tasked with looking at certain aspects of marketing for my business. The team was very well organized and would look at my Team Development, Business Development, Current Market/Customer Retention, Potential Markets/Market Expansion, Competitor Analysis, Website Development and Social Media and Advertisement Development.

The team began with a kickoff meeting followed by numerous other meetings throughout the semester where they sat down with me and they also interacted with my team members through email and phone calls. These meetings helped immerse the team in the inner workings of my business and that really gave them a sense of where my company was and where I wanted to take it.

In order to really understand the product, every person on the team subscribed to our service and undertook a crash course on how to bet on horse racing. Additionally, the student team conducted multiple interviews at local racing tracks and these interviews were constructed to discern what gamblers were looking for in a handicapping service. This extra effort was instrumental in their producing a quality strategic vision for my company.

At the conclusion of the semester the team had two crucial deliverables that they made. The first one was a presentation to my staff and myself that focused on the highlights of their results and the team laid out a comprehensive marketing strategy for my company to follow. After the presentation the team leader presented me with their written report that went into great detail about the strategy we needed to follow to energize our marketing efforts.

The written report is the gem of the project. It is well-written and it contains very useful information telling me key things that I am not doing to effectively market horseraceadvantage.com. In addition to the key things that I should be doing they included a detailed list of all of the intermediary steps I need to take as well. All of their recommendations are supported by copious amounts of studies and data.

If I were to summarize in three sentence what I thought of my company’s experience with a CSUF Student-led Business Consulting Team I would say:

  1. The CSUF Student-led Business Consulting Project was a wonderful learning experience for all involved and very gratifying as well.
  2. The report produced by the team is factual, strategic in scope and is chock full of helpful insights and perspectives that I could not see before the students started researching my business.
  3. If my business achieves future success I will directly attribute that success to the experience that I have had with the team from Cal State Fullerton and the strategy that they laid out for my company.

I am extremely happy that I had the opportunity to work with a CSUF Student-led Business Consulting Team and I plan on engaging them in another project once I look to take the Horse Race Advantage to the next level!

If you would like more information about the CSUF Student-led Business Consulting Program please click here