Thursday, February 28, 2013

Want a Good Business Idea? Go With What You Know

"How do I come up with a good business idea?" I hear this question all the time. It's a great question, and I'm going to try and give you an answer that makes sense.

If you look at most of the great businesses or products of our day, you'll find that the idea champion almost always had a very close tie to the industry he or she entered into and ended up dominating. For instance, the guys at Skullcandy were snowboarders and skiers who loved listening to music. The founder of Lovesac used couches and chairs, and grew up when hacky sacks were popular. He thought it would be cool to make a giant hacky sack and sit on it like a chair, and the rest is history. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates? They new A LOT about computers before they came up with their greatest ideas. 

The reality is, your best ideas will concern things that you already have a lot of background and experience in. Are you passionate about clothing? You might come up with a new and innovative retail sales model. Love cars? Like to skateboard? Do you have small children? Are you the world's biggest hockey fan? There are opportunities around every corner.

I have a lot of experience and passion for energy exploration and production. Naturally, almost all of my ideas revolve around the oil industry. I also have gained a special affinity for the salon and spa industry. Why? Because my wife is a cosmetologist, and I now know more about styling, coloring, skin care and spa services than I ever thought possible (or ever really wanted to).  So, I could compete in energy, and I could probably play a helpful supporting role in a salon and spa venture, but would it be wise to jump into an industry that I know nothing about? Probably not.

Although there are the occasional flukes, and sometimes people stumble into an amazing idea by total coincidence, I'd rather not wait for serendipity to drop the next big thing on my doorstep. So, go with what you know and as time goes by, you'll develop an eye for opportunities.

— Reed Page
    Executive Vice President
    USU Entrepreneurship Club

5 Year Old Birthday Outfit

My sweet S.R. is turning 5 in just a few days.
She asked for a special dress for her fairy tea party (a Queen Clarion dress to be exact).
The dress has been made, and she squealed when she saw it...the reaction every mother wants when she's worked so hard to make her little girl happy:o)
When I was searching for the fabric for the fairy dress, I came across some fairy knit fabric in purples and pinks. S.R.'s two favorite colors. I was slightly hesitant about purchasing it because my last experience with knits was quite disastrous. 
 I will have to say, this little skirt was much easier than I expected:o)

The hopscotch skirt is now my new favorite skirt to make...I think I'll be making one for myself now:o) I followed a super easy tutorial, and you can find it over at iCandy handmade.

I can't wait for the celebration:o) It's going to be so much fun!! I just hope that the snow they are calling for will hold off until after our guests return home safely:o) 
Have a great weekend, and I will see you back here next week with the details of the fairy tea party:o)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Managing Your Business During These Difficult Economic Times

Implementation and management of a company in these challenging economic times is a major challenge entrepreneurs face today. According to the Small Business Administration's 23 million small businesses represent 54% of all sales in the United States offer small businesses 55% of all jobs in the United States. Despite these statistics, found a recent survey by Pepperdine University found that 46% of small business owners have tapped into personal ownership during the last six months in order to stay afloat, which. Directly to the lack of credit in relation to small business What company can survive in these tough financial times?
A. Small business owners must wear many hats, marketing specialist, speaker, human resource specialists, accountants, etc. .. However, in order to operate an efficient business, entrepreneurs must learn to delegate some important functions of their business so they can focus on their business. Take for example the account, one of the least pleasant task of small business owners, helping outsourcing this function, independent auditors can make your books for the whole year.
Second Adapting to the new economic reality, identify new products and services that can help your business cash flow. To do this, it is important to assess your bookkeeping and evaluate your company's finances. Where do you see to enjoy losing to money? Analyze your financial statements for your company a clear picture of your company to get health.

Third Identifying your business goals for the next 12 months, ask yourself: Where do I want financially in the next 12 months? What are my sales goals for the next year?
4th Once you have created specific business goals, trying to quantify with clear numbers, for example: Then you break your goals down into smaller monthly financial milestones and develop a realistic budget "I want to increase my sales by 10% next year.". Creating a budget can be extremely difficult, especially if you've never developed before, so. Seeking advice from your accountant or bookkeeper
5th Examine assess your real monthly business compared to the budgeted goals, what worked and what did not, and consider tweaking your budget keep a fluid document.
Management by numbers is perhaps one of the most powerful ways to ensure that your business is working as intended, even in these tough economic times.

Financing Your Business Without Debt

Many entrepreneurs complain that access to business financing have the biggest constraint to grow their businesses. It is a sign of our current economic situation, but the companies are turning away business opportunities because they do not have the financial means to pursue them. Many believe that would be a business loan or line of credit to solve their problems. However, it is very difficult to obtain business financing in the current context. Most institutions are reluctant to business customers, who can not, lend considerable assets, collateral size and solid financial statements. Few small businesses can meet these criteria, the debt financing is generally available only for conventional companies that are financially sound excellent. There is an alternative, although it allows you to finance your business, without the help of foreign funding.
Problems with cash flow is one of the main reasons why. Many companies face increasing problems For many, these problems start because they give their customers a maximum of 60 days to pay their bills. This common practice of forcing companies to use their own resources to pay to cover costs while waiting for customers. This can cause problems if the company begin short of cash or at the customer to take more time to pay. At least it will prevent growth. In the worst case, and if it is not managed properly, it can bring your business into bankruptcy. There are two ways to solve this problem without a business loan. One option is to give your customers an incentive to pay off. A common practice is to offer a 2% discount if they pay within 10 days. The problem with this strategy is that you always eventually thank you for your customers. The second alternative is the invoice factoring facility, a tool that can get you the quick payments from your creditworthy customers are used.

Factoring accelerates your customer payments with a financial intermediary, called a factoring company buys your invoices at a small discount and pays you in advance for them. This eliminates the problem of having to wait for payment from customers, and increase your cash flow. If properly managed, you can factoring as a platform to use to grow your business, without conventional debt. An important feature of factoring is that most transactions are structured as purchases of bills as business loans.
Costs of factoring company, commonly known as the discount varies and depends on the size of your bills, your sales and your creditworthiness based invoices. In fact, the credit quality of your invoices are the most important criteria for qualification. This allows small companies whose main asset is a solid list of clients, factoring to their advantage.

Diversify Your Business Finance

The government has announced a new initiative to diversify business finance, which are led by industry experts in the UK from both the business and finance.
British companies still rely heavily on bank loans to finance their activities, although there are many alternative sources of funding available to them to meet today's evolving market.
The government wants to make sure the light of recent and ongoing reforms in the banking sector, the flow of capital for companies maintained. Other sources of funding will be critical to help companies provide the broadest economic growth in the UK economy needs.
The panel will seek to establish a framework for alternative sources of funding through collaboration with companies and business associations investors to coordinate the financial institutions and providers of alternative sources of financing and facilitating the availability of financing that businesses need.
Bank loans
Though it is an increase in new loans was included major banks this year, many companies still dissatisfied with levels of bank loans and how they were treated by their banks.

Criteria of the credit crisis, the non-renewal of overdraft facilities and poor communication from banks are cited achievement of common problems of the company as a result of their fundraising goals difficult.
Without the funding they need, the British company is struggling to survive and grow, and so the British economy the same. That is why the government, increasing not only the introduction of measures to encourage bank lending, but will also promote competition to the financial market as possible. A wide range of alternative sources of finance for UK businesses
Alternative funding
There is already a wide range of alternative sources of funding that are the company.
One of the biggest obstacles to the increased use of these funding sources is simply the general consciousness. New and emerging providers of other financial products do not have the infrastructure sector, which makes it an efficient and effective distribution of their products.
The other important factor is that many owners and managers of small and medium enterprises, which are the backbone of the UK economy, are not aware of the range of alternative funding available and where to find them.
New methods of communication are needed, and it is hoped that this will be one of the main objectives of the initiative of the government.
Invoice Finance
Invoice Finance is one of the most popular options in the portfolio of alternative finance and has grown considerably over the last fifteen years, from about 13,000 businesses to use the UK to more than 50,000 customers today.
This method is extremely flexible business financing cash advances against unpaid sales invoices. There are variations in the invoice finance family of products, invoice factoring and invoice discounting involves.
Credit institutions in the bill will advance up to 95% of a company's invoices unpaid sales and use the sales ledger safe under assignment of the bill and if the debt held by these students.
If the invoice is paid by the client company, the invoice finance company will pay the balance of the bill, which was not funded after the deduction of expenses. It has progressed normally a fee for the installation and an interest in the amount of resources.
One of the main benefits of invoice finance is that to increase the installation, as the company grows, so actually a very effective way to fund working capital.

The Power of Saying No in the Right Way

Klydi Heywood
Klydi Heywood
I believe the root word of business is busy. In order to be a good business professional, we must push ourselves to our limits and do our absolute best in everything. But it is this goal that is causing me to slowly lose my mind.

I found an article on that had valuable information on how and when to simply say “no.”
In the article, Susan Newman, Ph.D., a social psychologist and the author of The Book of No, says "people need to change their mindset about agreeing to everything.  By saying no, you can focus on your goals."
In order to give 100 percent to projects, we must give ourselves time. When we say no to something that has little or no correlation to do with our long terms goals, we become more effective.
The Forbes article advises to “take time to think before committing to a new project, and before you say no, consider the ramifications.” When we go above and beyond our position, we will get noticed. If this is a reputation you want, then consider carefully every decision until that reputation is built.
One piece of valuable advice I’ve heard from others in the field, and in this article, is to prioritize. If something is going conflicting with a more immediate or important project, state that to your requester and find other options for how you can help or ways the project can still be completed.
“Always try to offer something when you're turning someone down,” the article states.
I hope that this advice will help us all to become better businessmen and businesswomen as we strive to improve the business world.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Value of Hands-On Learning

Nathan Henshaw
Nathan Henshaw
Business Council Member
Senior in Economics and International Business
Last Summer I was able to participate as an intern for the Small Enterprise Education and Development program, commonly known as the SEED program, in Ghana. Prior to leaving I never imagined I would have learned so much through personal experience. I learned several skills and lessons that have been, and will always be, valuable to me personally. However, perhaps the most important skill I was able to develop is my ability to think critically and solve problems. The autonomist nature of the program empowers the interns to take personal ownership of their experience and enables them with a real hands-on learning opportunities. Here are two simple illustrations.

Critical Thinking

One day a man came to my assigned partner and me to ask for a loan. He had some mechanical skills with cars and wanted to start repairing tires and changing oil in a neighboring village. We considered the potential risks and returns from the proposed investment and we visited his village several times to analyze the industry. We made the decision to issue a loan for his business idea. He was able to service several cars each day and paid off his loan within a few months, despite his loan being a 12-month loan. This experience helped me gain confidence that I can analyze real situations and not simply textbook problems.

Problem Solving

Part of the SEED experience is teaching classes. After class one day, I was approached by three men who had started a fish farm together. They had received a loan for approximately $600, between the three of them. This amount of money is nearly twice the average income for a single family in that area because most people live on less than one dollar per day. With some hesitation these men asked if they could speak with me about their loan payments. They explained that their fish farm dried up and they had lost everything. This was a big problem for them and their families.
Nathan Henshaw and a fellow student with some Ghana children during their time with the SEED program.
Nathan Henshaw and a fellow student with some Ghana children
 during their time with the SEED program.

After several days of considering different business ideas and consulting with our professor, we came in contact with a friend who was looking to start a business. He had an idea to have these three men start managing a snail farm for him. They were able to do this and paid off their debt rather rapidly. They also qualified for another loan to grow a pepper farm.

These types of experiences don’t occur in the classroom. However, I know I was prepared to analyze these situations because of the preparation I received from several professors and mentors. I have loved my experience at the Huntsman School of Business — the quality of teaching is exceptional. I enjoy the classroom setting and learning from fellow students and the faculty. I am grateful for hands-on learning opportunities and to be able to put into practice some of the business principles I have learned. I believe the education I received in Ghana last summer was invaluable. 


Monday, February 25, 2013

A Professor's Advice to Students: Don't Cheat

Eric Schulz
Eric Schulz
I received an anonymous letter from a student this week alleging that on the last quiz I gave in class, some students were cheating. Nothing infuriates me more than liars and cheats. 

I know that the Pollyanna world in which I live — where I want to believe that everyone acts with honesty and integrity, and everyone is upfront, truthful and never deceitful — doesn't really exist, but I refuse to believe otherwise. How can one go through life suspicious of everyone and everything?  

At the end of the day, all we have is our integrity, our character, our honor, and our reputation. The temptation to cheat is part of the college experience — but true character is built by resisting the temptation and acting with integrity and honor. Think about it. Is it worth tarnishing your reputation and honor, and having to deal with a guilty conscience, for a few points on a meaningless quiz or test?  Really?

You are here at the University in order to improve your life's lot — to be able to get a better job and have a nicer life than those who did not continue their education.  Don't screw it up by cheating. A stellar reputation and clear conscience is worth much more than a few extra points on an exam or quiz. You'll sleep a lot better at night too. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

What Will Huntsman Hall Computer Labs Look Like?

I’ve shared with you some artist renderings of what we expect our tiered and flat classrooms to will look like in Huntsman Hall; so today I’m going to include an image showing what our computer labs might look like.

Huntsman Hall Computer Lab
Did you notice that I’m choosing my words a little more cautiously when it comes to our computer labs? Want to know why? It’s because in the world of computer technology things change so fast that all we know for sure is that we’ll have to be flexible if we want our students to be prepared for the changing global job market of the future. We don’t know for sure what our computer labs will look like when Huntsman Hall is completed.

If we cut the ribbon for the new building today, however, we suspect our labs would look something like the picture I have included. We are planning to have one lab that will include our Bloomberg terminals and will be home to our best and most expensive cutting-edge technology. We expect the front of our classrooms will have more than white boards and will feature some kind of technology that keeps our students in touch with the real-time developments that will be relevant to their education.
Ken Snyder
Ken Snyder

We plan to continue using the labs we have now in the George S. Eccles Business Building. We believe that all of our labs will be on the basement level because a room with large windows is not optimal for a computer lab. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Student's Farewell to the Huntsman School of Business

With graduation coming up, I will soon leave Logan and the Huntsman School of Business, the place that became my second home. With all the graduation stress, I often reflect back to summer of 2010, when I first came to Logan and became part of the Aggie spirit. Being an international student, there were a lot of things I had to overcome. I was in a foreign country with a different culture and language, I had to make new friends and was about to start a new chapter in my life away from my family and friends. I was worried, scared, but most of all, very excited. Back then, I had no idea what kind of amazing adventure it was going to be.
Perhaps, the biggest challenge I faced in Logan was making new friends. In the beginning, my circle of friends was limited to other Armenian students at USU. However, as soon as classes started, I began to make new friends, mostly by participating to Business School activities. Today I am proud to have friends from all over the world. Each of them has opened my mind and has taught me to look at things differently, in a way that I would have never done had I not met them.
If I had to identify one important life lesson I learned at the Huntsman School of Business it would be to never limit aspirations, because the only limited thing is time. One has to make the most out of it, explore, learn, and enjoy every moment, since it only happens once. Three years ago I would never have thought that I would attend a Microsoft presentation in Paris, meet business leaders from around the world, or get to see the breathtaking view of Machu Picchu in Peru or climb the Great Wall of China. All of those were life-changing experiences I had while at school. 

Sometimes I think back and wonder what my life would have been like if I had continued my studies in Armenia. Of course I cannot find an answer to that question, but I certainly have no regrets with my choice of coming to Utah State. If I had stayed back home, I would not have gained the same competitive academic knowledge, I would not have travelled as much, and most importantly, I would not have met the number of amazing people from around the world.
I will soon be starting another chapter of my life, and again, just like three years ago, I am scared, worried, and of course excited. There is a lot of uncertainty, which makes me wonder what the future will be like, where I will end up three years from now. Sometimes I wonder if I could meet the future Anna, the one that has overcome this new uncertainty, and listen to what she has to tell me. Hopefully, her advice to me would be the same: “Explore, learn and enjoy every given moment without any regrets." And perhaps this is also my advice to other international students who are to become part of the Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University.

— Anna Vardanyan

     Senior at the Huntsman School of Business

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cultivating Creativity

Business leaders often tell us to “think big,” “think outside the box,” “be different,” and so on. From my experience, I think that is easier said than done. When I try so hard to be creative, I ended up being frustrated and disappointed in myself because everything that comes to mind doesn’t seem to “make sense.” I realized, however, that not everything should necessarily make sense at first. Many creative ideas start off by not making sense. The distinguishing factor for a creative idea lies in people themselves. 

People who have the courage to step out of their comfort zones to take “the road less traveled” and think of something that may sound ridiculous to other people. They don’t get discouraged when others scoff at their ideas. Instead, they persist through challenging times.

In business, creativity is part of the organization, regardless of whether we like it or not. We need to come up with ideas for business strategies, start-up companies, branding, marketing and the list goes on and on. That is why creativity is such an important asset and skill for businessmen and women.

Here are some things that I found helpful in cultivating creativity:

Brainstorming — When in a large room full of people, we have the opportunity to interact and share ideas with each other. With many working minds, those ideas can lead to something great. Granted, some people are extroverts, while others are introverts and the introverts probably work better when they have some alone time. What they can do is list ideas that they have and bring them to the table during brainstorming sessions. There should not be any judgment during this time and everyone should be allowed to speak freely without any restrictions.

Sleep on it — My “A-HA” moment sometimes comes when I am well rested. When we are too tired, sleepy, hungry, or worse, all of the above, our brains sometimes don’t work, nothing comes to mind and we lack enthusiasm to come up with ideas. It is important to sustain ourselves with adequate food and sleep.

Seek inspiration from your surroundings — There are many things that could spark creativity: the media, the people that we talk to, nature, and even our very own office. We just need to look at things from a different perspective and find things that can benefit others. This can be difficult, even for me, but practice makes perfect.

 An article from provides more exercises to boost creativity. 

— Nadiah Johari

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Flat Classrooms in Huntsman Hall Will Offer Opportunities For Team Work

Huntsman Hall Classroom
Huntsman Hall Flat Classroom
Last week I showed you an artist rendering of what our tiered classrooms will look like and promised to show you some more images of Huntsman Hall this week. For now, I’m going to keep you in the classroom. I’ve included in this blog a rendering of what our flat classrooms will look like.

I wrote about all the benefits of a tiered classroom, especially when it comes to teaching with the case-study method. Flat classrooms come in handy when the coursework involves a lot of team work, interacting, and the opportunity to explore new innovative ideas. As you can see, our flat classrooms will have lots of movable white boards on two sides of the room, two projectors and rolling desks and chairs. If you had a professor who wanted to constantly change things up, he or she could do that for quite a while without much reputation. 

Ken Snyder
Ken Snyder
Again this world, as envisioned by architects, is quite formal and involves silent observers who stand in a back corner to watch what's going on. We have no plans for such a dress code or for mysterious observers but, who knows, a professor working a flat classroom could try some pretty innovative approaches. In this case, there's lots you can do inside the box. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Money And Love Personal Finance = Money And Love Personal Finance

Front Entry Way

We have lived in our house for 3 years now, and this wall has always bothered me. When you enter our house, this is the wall you see.
There is a doorway to the right and a column just a few feet to the left.
Very un-welcoming. 

For the past year I have had a picture of the kids hanging there and that was it. 
I wanted a table and a lamp and just stuff to sit there, but there wasn't enough room with the column in the way.
After 3 years of brainstorming, I finally came up with a solution. Took me long enough, didn't it?
I have some cabinets in the attic that are really narrow. I picked them up at a yard sale for $5. They are real cherry, and beautiful, but absolutely non-functional. I think they were spice cabinets in their former existence??

I took one of the doors and turned it into a wall shelf that resembles a table. The door is super narrow, so it's the perfect depth and adds so much to this space. The legs, hardware and spray paint were purchases from Lowes, and the frames and sign were purchased from Hobby Lobby.
There isn't an outlet on this wall, so I can't plug a lamp in...I'll show you my solution for this problem in my next post:o)
Now I reeeeeally like my entry way. 
It's a lot more inviting, don't you think?:o)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day to you all! 
I hope to be back here soon. I've been taking a creative break for a bit. Have you missed me?;o)
I hope your day is extra special today!
Looking forward to our little family Valentines dinner after basketball practice tonight:o)
I'm really excited about digging into this yummy cake...with REAL buttuh cream icing...that's right, I said BUTTUH:o)

Love in the Workplace? Absurd.

Many of us, while we have an appreciation for this day they call Valentine's Day, may not take it quite as seriously as other holidays like Christmas or New Years, because unlike those days, life doesn't stop for this lovey-dovey holiday. Stores don't close down, school is still in session, and work continues onward. Valentine's day is often celebrated outside of these endeavors because at an adult age, celebrating love with your classmates and co-workers just isn't deemed quite "appropriate." 

What many of us fail to understand is that love is actually a vital part of the workplace. Its presence is needed there, as much as anywhere else in our lives, so that we, the workers, can enjoy what we do and feel good about our time there. 

Now, I'm not saying that we all need to skip across the office hugging each and every co-worker while emphatically proclaiming our love, but I am suggesting that we hold a deeper appreciation for those that we work with. 

Dr. Paul J. Zak, a neuroeconomist at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, Calif. suggests in an article on Psychology Today that love should be a management policy. 

"The essence of love is putting another person before oneself," he states in the article. "Think about that for a minute. Do we need to love those we work with? Imagine the CEO of a distressed company who refuses his or her multimillion-dollar bonus so that one thousand employees would not be laid off. That would be love. How about an employee who agrees to work late so someone can go home early to care for a sick child? That would be love. Or, an employee who drops off a forgotten package to a customer's home after leaving work? That would be love."

When we are loved, we naturally love in return, Dr. Zak adds. 

Ok great, but why does this even matter? What does any of this have to do with the actual work that we're all doing? 

Dr. Zak states that "love is the foundation for trust," and companies that manage with love, build better trust, and better trust in the workplace results in higher employee productivity and morale, lower employee turnover, fewer sick days and more returning customers. An overall more profitable company. 

So this Valentine's Day, try implementing a little love into your work and who knows, maybe it will change your world. 

— Allie Jeppson

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Entrepreneurial Experiences From Alan Hall

Klydi Heywood
Klydi Heywood

After having a 1 - 4 track record with successful businesses, Alan Hall asked his wife if he could second mortgage the house to start Marketstar.

“Bless her heart, she let me do it,” Mr. Hall said, “And I worked my tail off to make this business successful because I had learned some of the things I’m going to tell you tonight.”

At the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series Lecture Wednesday Feb. 6, Mr. Hall gave seven points that have helped him in his entrepreneurial adventures. Three in particular stood out to me.

Know your customer

“You go sell your idea first, you come back and design it, you build it and then you deliver it,” he said. He explained that many entrepreneurs start with the design and end with selling. When a person pitches their business idea and they don’t know specifically who their customer is, it’s all down-hill because they don’t know where to market, they don’t know how to get it out and “they blow through lots of money trying to find the customer,” Mr. Hall added.

He explained to never base your business on the product in the first place, other than the idea.

Take care of your customers

“Once people get the sale, they do a lousy job of taking care of that customer,” Mr. Hall said. He named the following list the “Value Chain of What Customers Want When They Buy a Product”:
  • Good product
  • Good price
  • Delivered on time
  • Make sure it works
  • Support
  • A good buying experience

“If you’re going to start a business, shouldn’t you take care of your customers?” Mr. Hall asked. He stated that taking care of the customers is where a lot of entrepreneurs fail.

Hire the right employees

I especially liked this point because of the applicability it has to me at this time in college. If this is the kind of person Mr. Hall wants to hire, then this is the professional I want to become.

He told us his seven C’s of hiring:

Competent - Although this is important, Mr. Hall said he made some big mistakes in his career by only looking at this aspect.

Capable - They need to be capable of growth. “They can actually take the assignment they have and enhance it,” Mr. Hall said. “They can do it better and more efficiently.”

Compatible - Mr. Hall stated that he wasted a lot of time on interpersonal relationships when he didn’t get along with someone.

Committed - You need to hire someone who will come in, work through thick and thin, won’t bail and will make sure they are always getting their job done, Mr. Hall said.

Character - “I want people who are honest, who have integrity, work hard, keep commitments, do things that are right, and if they don’t, I get rid of them,” Mr. Hall said, adding that to be honorable is non-negotiable.

Culture - Mr. Hall’s specific culture has developed overtime. His culture is “love of God, love of self, love of family, love of work, love of community.”  He emphasized the importance of always supporting and upholding this culture. If his employees like the culture and can depend on it, then they will work hard in return.

Compensation - Mr. Hall advised that we always want to take care of our employees. We should always be looking at ways to reward, increase pay and increase growing opportunities for those who deserve it.

Mr. Hall’s lecture opened my mind to a lot of mistakes that can be avoided on the entrepreneurial journey. I hope we can all take a few notes and become the next generation of successful business professionals.

For the complete lecture, click here

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Entrepreneurial Leadership: The New Management Paradigm

Here’s a common scenario: I first meet a fellow student and we start into the common exchange of background information — hometowns, majors, postgraduate plans, career goals, other interests. When I mention that I’m an active participant in the university’s entrepreneurship programs, I will often hear the same reply, “entrepreneurship sounds like fun, but I’m not really interested in starting my own business.”

I’m going to take a moment to clarify something very important. Although the term entrepreneur generally refers to an individual who starts companies or builds them from the ground up, entrepreneurial leadershiprefers to a skillset or a management style that makes use of entrepreneurial principles to grow or strengthen any company or organization, whether brand new or well established. I’d like to refer to a set of eight principles taught by our very own Director of Entrepreneurial Programs, Mike Glauser, as found on the educational website he helped create. 

  1. Live in the Boundary
  2. Plan for Opportunities
  3. Engage a Brain Trust
  4. Build Powerful Teams
  5. Work with Zealous Tenacity
  6. Create More with Less
  7. Give Distinguishing Service
  8. Serve a Broader Purpose

These points are self-explanatory for the most part, however, you can learn more about each one by exploring the website.

So you plan to work for an international financial services provider? You’re interested in non-profit work? You have been given a leadership assignment in your religious congregation? You’re going to take over the family business when your parents retire? You plan to work in health care or public education administration? Regardless of the situation or chosen pursuit, these principles are applicable.
Take a moment and consider your own career goals. Would you benefit from gaining a more entrepreneurial mindset? The short answer is yes! And the long answer is definitely, yes!
Check out the many resources available through the Center for Entrepreneurial Excellenceand related programs.

— Reed Page
     Executive Vice President
     USU Entrepreneurship Club

Monday, February 11, 2013

Becoming Friends With Professors is a Key to Opportunity

I tell my younger sister that the most important thing you should do in college is to become friends with your professors. It is no secret that professors at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business are incredible at research and at teaching. But they are also incredibly friendly and helpful. 
Jeff Parker
Business Senator

Professors can be the most invaluable resource to students. If you know a professor personally, they will introduce and suggest opportunities to you. These could be scholarships, programs, internships, jobs, or research opportunities that are incredibly vital to your education. 

One way to make friends with a professor is to make sure that your professors know you by name. How do you do this? Give intelligent comments in class, ask questions after class, or visit them in during office hours. Having a professor as a friend will make your education phenomenal. 

However, this is a two-way street. I would also recommend that professors make an effort in learning student’s names. Use your vast knowledge and networks to introduce them to education enhancing experiences. You could influence a student's mind for the better. 

As I was thinking back on my time at the Huntsman School of Business,  this is one of the reasons that I started to take advantage of my education. As a sophomore, I was floating through classes, sitting in the back. For some reason, I must have thought of a good question or given a comment because Professor Diana Thomas called after class. After talking for moment, she recommended that I applied for Koch Scholars. From that point on, she knew my name, and I was toast. Every time I would zone out or nod off in class she would call on me. I would startle back to reality and maybe stumble through an answer. It was pretty annoying at the moment but I am really grateful now. 

Although I was never accepted to the Koch Scholars, that initial two-minute conversation was my catalyst for engaging in my education. I switched my major to economics. I applied for study abroad, which I discussed with Professor Thomas during her office hours. I was researching scholarships for the trip when I learned about the Huntsman Scholar program. I applied and connections there lead me to an internship. Friends I made in the program encouraged me to run for Business Senator. Everything has snowballed from that one moment when Diana gave me some friendly advice. I have talked to many students with similar stories. Professors are the channel through which students learn about these vital opportunities. 

I invite professors to recommend to students all of the fantastic opportunities here at the Business School, and I highly recommend to all students the same advice I give me sister: make sure the professors know you by name. 

— Jeff Parker
     Business Senator
    Jon M. Huntsman School of Business 

Friday, February 8, 2013

See What Class Will Look Like at the Huntsman School of Business in the Future

Ken Snyder
Ken Snyder
In my last blog I announced that we have officially been given permission to break ground and plan to do so later this year after the weather warms up. Our architects have been creating some renderings that will help us better visualize what Huntsman Hall will look like when it’s done.

Last November I talked about case-study teaching and how tiered classrooms with wide isles would make this approach even more effective. So today I wanted to share with you what our large tiered classrooms are going to look like.

A Future Huntsman Hall Classroom
A Future Huntsman Hall Classroom
No, we aren’t going to require our students to wear formal attire to class. My guess is that these are all award-winning, student scholars and they are in class just before the Annual Fall Awards Banquet is to be held. Do your see yourself in there anywhere?

Do you want to see more? When I do my next blog I’ll share another image of another part of the building. For now we’ll be envisioning things one artist rendering at a time, but it won’t be long before ground will be broken and the vision will become a reality. There are probably some of you reading this right now that will take classes in a classroom that looks just like this. Maybe you’d better shine up your shoes just in case.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Discovering Knowledge

Learning is typically seen as the dissemination of knowledge and understanding. This statement is inaccurate! Learning in most environments is not knowledge development. We listen to the instructor and obtain, what the instructor deems as knowledge, long enough to pass an exam or other related exercise. Once that event has passed, we tend to forget the related learning. Understanding and knowledge are only obtained when actively sought and discovered!

Discovering knowledge is the pull method of learning. To push is to force something, a product or information, toward the end, while to pull is the demand of a product or information from the end. Push and pull are evident in every classroom. The pupils who discover/pull knowledge will find success. The students who only attend with a desire to pass the class and exams are the individuals creating the environment of pushing knowledge.

How do individuals, instructors and students, develop what is necessary to discover knowledge?

Unfortunately, I cannot give you an answer to the above question. If I did so, then I would deprive you of the beauty that is “discovery.”  But here is a hint. When you are passionate about something, you actively seek information about that item. You are always looking for “the next big thing.” Find what drives you and actively look for it in everything! Pull the information and learning you need in order to succeed.

Business Leaders (past, present and future) how do you coach and mentor individuals to pull and discover knowledge?

— George C Johnson
     Lean Leaders Club – President
     The Shingo Prize – Education Coordinator

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What's in a Name: How to Come Up With a Creative Business Name

Possibly one of the most difficult tasks when starting a business is trying to figure out a unique, memorable and attention-grabbing name for your business. At the same time, the name has to be simple enough for potential clients to remember and pronounce it without any difficulty. It should define and reflect what your company is all about. 

However, when we finally think of a good idea, it is quite likely that another company or person has initiated that idea first. So how do you come up with a fresh, new and creative name for your business? The following articles provide some tips to help you pick and choose a name for your company.  Read on to find out more information about branding, trademark and name evaluation.

 How to Choose the Best Name For Your Business by Inc.

·      How to Name Your Businessby Entrepreneur

       — Nadiah Johari

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Happy Chinese New Year 2013

Lessons From a Piano-Pounding Entrepreneur

Klydi Heywood
Klydi Heywood
With fingers flying across the piano keys and breath-taking videography in the background, Jon Schmidt’s presentation and lecture on Wednesday Jan. 30 was a feast for the senses. Students filled the auditorium in the Ellen Eccles Conference Center 30 minutes before the show started. And when I stood up to take pictures 10 minutes into the presentation, I had to climb over students who were stuffed into the isles.
He began with his story. Schmidt started performing at benefit events and selling cassette tapes whenever he could. Although he was amazed by the fact that people actually wanted to buy his tapes, he said he acted the part. 
“Fake it ‘til you make it,” Schmidt said. “It really works.” As students laughed at this remark, he continued by stating that people’s perception is reality.
“Your image is what people perceive, and that’s what they believe,” he said. With his humility shining through, Schmidt attributed this factor to his early success.
Schmidt’s second entrepreneurial advice for success was to think of, create or do something that has never been done before. When Schmidt met cellist Steven Sharp Nelson, he wanted to create something different. With their first YouTube sensation Love Story Meets Viva la Vida,” the innovation for creative, classical yet modern music was born.
Schmidt then played the song for the audience, and the goose bumps on my arms started to rise. In addition to being a very talented pianist, Schmidt was an entertainer. He would bob his head to the beat, sway his shoulders to the melody and even spin around and play upside down.
When asked what got him through the tough times of being an entrepreneurial musician, Schmidt gave credit to God and his gut. He stated that in order to feel good about what he does each day, he has to follow his passions.
I left the presentation with a song stuck in my head and a new determination to reach for my dreams. By being creative and “faking it ‘til I make it,” I think I can do just about anything.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Day As A USA Today Expert Super Bowl Ad Panelist

Eric Schulz
Eric Schulz
My Super Bowl Sunday is usually spent watching the game and eating some nachos and cheesesteaks. All that changed last week when I was invited to participate as a member on the USA Today Super Bowl Ad Panel, rating each and every Super Bowl ad for the paper’s annual Ad Meter Ranking.  See:

It was a very interesting experience having to focus and evaluate every ad.  I kept getting emails from a USA Today staffer asking my thoughts and opinions on different ads as we progressed through the night.  For the most part, my rankings pretty much agreed with the consumer polling. I ranked the Budweiser Clydesdale “Horse and Trainer Reunited” as the top ad, followed by Tide’s “Montana Miracle Stain”, and Kia’s “Space Babies." 

One place where I differed from the poll was on the evaluation of Dodge Ram’s “God Made A Farmer” (USA Today - 3rd place; My Rank - 9th) and Jeep’s “Families Waiting/Troops” (USA Today - 5th place; My Rank - 10th). Both of those ads were touching, poignant, and terrific pieces of art — Norman Rockwell paintings on video — which stirred patriotism and pride in the USA.  But where I had a problem with the ads was they didn’t relate at all to their brands.  Either could have been produced by any American company (McDonalds, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Ford, Chevrolet, etc.).  

Don’t get me wrong, both ads were fantastic, but I’m not sure that they will drive sales.  In my days back at Coca-Cola there were several ads that consumers really liked, particularly “I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing” and “Mean Joe Greene”. Both increased the number of consumers who said Coke was their favorite soft drink, but as the “favorite soft drink” rating increased, actual sales volume was flat or slightly declining.  The gap between these two numbers we came to term as “virtual consumption." Companies don’t like it when advertising creates virtual consumption, they want real consumption. I think the Dodge and Jeep ads will both increase consumers “liking” perception of the brands, but I don’t think it will translate into increased sales – they will create “virtual consumption”. 

Here are some of the notes I made while watching the commercials: 

Budweiser Clydesdales:  It was as brilliantly produced as a Hallmark special. It's hard to strike that emotional chord, but Budweiser nailed it. We all enjoy a good love story, and Budweiser pulled it off in just 60 seconds. The ad was sweet and heartfelt. It was the only commercial that made me cry.

Tide “Montana Miracle Stain”: Brilliant. Topical, fun, and the product is the hero, getting rid of the Montana stain!

Doritos: Eating Doritos was clearly the hero, and both ads told the story in humorous, relevant yet unexpected ways.  

Go-Daddy “Kissing”: The ad was intentionally designed to create “water cooler talk” after the game. Go-Daddy regularly tries to offend people’s sensibilities with their Super Bowl ads to get attention. “Say whatever you want about me, just spell my name right” is the strategy. It works. Their entire brand has been built on titillating Super Bowl advertising.

In the Super Bowl, creativity and entertainment value often get in the way of marketing effectiveness. Agencies consider a great spot to be wildly creative and entertaining. But creativity and entertainment doesn't always equal brand communication effectiveness.

Great advertising should show creativity, entertain, and be relevant yet unexpected — making your product the hero.  Tide’s “Montana Miracle Stain”, Milk's " The Rock - Morning Run" where our superhero can't save the world until he's had his milk; KIA's "Space Babies" where the car has an answer for everything — each of these were winners from a brand communication standpoint.  They were fun to watch and made their product standout as the superhero of the day.

Some of the worst ads, those that did nothing to showcase their products, included "Wolf", Axe "Lifeguard", and Lincoln's "Jimmy Falllon - Steer the Script."  While creative, their products were secondary, and got lost in the spots. Budweiser disappointed me and made me feel inferior with their whole “Black Dressed Cool People” the “Black Crown party”, and “Coronation”.

And one other thing, the E-Trade baby is tired and needs to be retired. Several Super Bowls ago, E-Trade had one of the best Super Bowl commercials ever, entitled "Money Coming Out The Wazzoo," where a man being rushed to the hospital ER was being hospitalized because he had "money coming out his wazzoo."  They need to find that mojo again.

Here were my ratings of the commercials, along with the overall scores each ad achieved on the USA Today Ad Meter:

Top Ten

USA Today
My Score

Ad Meter Score
Horse and trainer reunited

Miracle Stain

Space Babies

Fashionista Dad

Deion Sanders returns

Deal with the devil

Goat 4 Sale

Love ballad

God Made A Farmer

Families waiting



USA Today
My Score

Ad Meter Score

The Rock - Superhero

Bud Light Voodoo Doll

6.01 (tie)
Walt Disney
Oz trailer

Hot Bots

Wonderful Pistachios
PSY Gangnam Style

The effect of SodaStream

Best Buy
Asking Amy Poehler

Kid assembles team




USA Today
My Score

Ad Meter Score
Get Happy office guy

Rav4 wish granted

6.16 (tie)
Paul Rudd and Seth Rogan

Thank you

Paramount Pictures
Star Trek trailer

Danica Patrick pilots plane

Speed Stick
Guy doing laundry

Bud Light lucky chair

Universal Pictures
Fast & Furious 6 trailer

Century 21
Wedding faints

4.98 (tie)


USA Today
My Score

Ad Meter Score
Whispering in the library

Walt Disney
Iron Man 3 trailer

Puppy is a wolf

Security Camera

Pepsi Next
Parents like to party

Jocks love Jared

Cheetah race

6.16 (tie)
MiO Fit
Tracy Morgan anthem

Halftime show countdown

Jocks can’t say Februany

4.07The Bottom 5
Passing obstacles

6.01 (tie)
Baby getting wealthy

Epic play date

MKZ Phoenix



USA Today
My Score

Ad Meter Score
My new Blackberry

Guy needs his t-shirt

4.98 (tie)

Jimmy Fallon - Road Trip Story

Calvin Klein
Guy in underwear

Black Crown party

Beck’s Sapphire fish singing

Black Crown “coronation”

Taco Bell
Viva Young

Bar Refaeli  "Kiss"