STRESSED OVER TAXES? CSUN Students Offer Free Tax Prep Help

Tax Help imageWhen do I file my taxes & what should I bring?

By now you are likely accumulating your tax forms.  If you are an employee you should receive a W-2. If you have worked on contract you should receive a 1099 from each firm or individual. (Interest and royalties that you earned need to be reported, too. )

You should receive 1099 forms from your banks, investment firms, agencies and publishers (if applicable) within the next week.  The due date to send or publish these forms is tomorrow: January 31.  The tax filing due date for individuals is April 15; for corporations it is March 15.

If you have investments, you will probably receive a 1099-R later in February when the investment houses have altered their gains, losses, and interest calculations.  No investments? Then you should be ready to go if you have all of your forms.

What if I cannot afford a CPA?

CSUN accounting students offer FREE tax preparation assistance!  Low income individuals and families in the San Fernando Valley area including non-English speakers and the disabled are welcome.  The assistance is supervised by IRS employees.

To get more information visit the VITA  WEBSITE and keep your money!

Source: CSUN SHINE

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

MISSION STATEMENT: How and Why Your Small Business Needs One

Image depicting a business mission statement. Two people near a graph with an upward arrow.

What is a mission statement?

A mission statement states the business you are in and the market you serve.  Some business writers might suggest that you determine what you do for your customers, what you do for your employees, and what you want from your business.   Whatever your process, the mission statement tells everyone what you are in the business of doing.  It is short-term; it is focused on where the business is going within a 1-3 year time frame, whereas a vision statement is more broad and long-range.

Here’s an example of Microsoft’s mission statement:

Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

Why does your business need a mission statement?

A mission statement influences the allocation of resources.  It influences goals, operations, and profit.  As such it acts as a guide for determining boundaries for the business.

Perhaps more importantly is the foundation it provides upon which recruitment and strategy are formed – it helps to align owners, staff, and others.  As such it is a valuable tool in the planning process.

Sources: Cenage – Lamb, Hair, McDaniel MARKETING and AllBusiness.

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

CURIOSITY AS AN ESSENTIAL HABIT FOR SUCCESS

I never heard so much about curiosity when reading about business success and leadership until recently. HubSpot describes 13 Habits of Incredibly Curious People (And Why It Matters In Business) in a recent post.

I found this article very interesting although I think the 13 Habits boils down to having the ‘Habit of Learning’. Being a professor at the university I deal with the concept of learning a lot, and in my field we often talk about passive versus active learners. Learning, because you have to, versus learning because you want to. In essence, curious people are more likely to learn and use new found knowledge to make better decisions.

My take on this is summarized by 3 habits, below.

1) They stay in the moment.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, curious people are present and stay in the moment. As studies have shown, thinking about several things at once can negatively affect your learning. Multitasking creates an inability to be fully present and take in everything that is happening in front of you. On the other hand, because curious people are so interested in what they’re doing, they find it easier to be present and focused.

2) They live to solve problems.
Every potential customer has a need. When they begin to research a product or service, they’re doing it because they want to improve on something. If you’re curious, you love this: You want to know their goals, how they plan to get there, and how you can help.

It’s a sign you’re curious if you think about a customer’s success as if it was your own. How do you get them to where they want to be? What resources can you create to make their lives easier?

3) They keep it positive.
Believe it or not, curious people tend to be more positive than their less-curious counterparts. While others can be set back by rejection, they take it in stride. They aim to discover what went wrong or what they could improve on, and then take action.

Source: HubSpot

Author:Franck Vigneron is a professor of Marketing, Entrepreneurship and Music Industry Administration at the California State University, Northridge and an owner of multiple businesses.

Google Analytics

Photo of a green board in a classroom and pencils with the word ANALYTICS spelled out.According to its website, “Google Analytics’ solutions can help you turn customer insights into action for your business.”

For small businesses, Google Analytics’ free services aim to simplify the way users view and improve the performance of their websites. Not only does the solution provide you with the means necessary to report on your website’s progress each month, but these insights can also help you better understand your visitors so that you can create a marketing experience that keeps bringing them back.

If you’re looking to improve your analytical skills, Google offers expert lessons, tests, and community forums, all available in Analytics Academy.

Source: Google

 

Northridge Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Wells Fargo Center for Small Business and Entrepreneurship

CSUN Director Franck Vigneron meets with Northridge Chamber of Commerce regarding Wells Fargo Center for Small Business and EntrepreneurshipProfessor Franck Vigneron, Director of Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship (WFCSBE), presented our services to the Northridge Chamber of Commerce January 10, 2017.

Our Mission:Northridge Chamber of Commerce flyer photo of Franck Vigneron from CSUN.

To encourage student success at California State University, Northridge and to give back to the valley residents.  Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship matches local businesses with professors and student groups.  The students act as consultants in order to reinforce concepts learned at the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics.  The local businesses receive consulting services such as integrated marketing campaign development, brand strategies, business plan writing services, and more.

Benefits:

Students get a taste of what it’s like to be a consultant and work with a real client.  The experience teaches them business communication, networking, strategy, negotiation, time management, and gives them real world experience.

Local businesses get a fresh take on their challenges by up-and-coming professionals. Often businesses receive a full business plan, potentially valued from $40,000 – $100,000 depending on the business.

The experience is collaborative and creates lasting improvements for the local client and gives opportunities to students that are not available in the classroom alone.

Sign-up To Become A Client:

To become a client fill out the online application.  You may refer a deserving business too!

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.

Simple Tools to Help Your Content Marketing in 2017

Reaching  Your 2017 Target:

Did you set a goal for 2017?  If so, here are some insights from WFCSBE and Thomas Smale at Entrepreneur to help you achieve them.

The selected content marketing tools below offer the ability to help you get your message out, engage your brand’s community, see what’s working and what’s not, and provide relevant content to help communicate your brand’s message.

Content Marketing Tools: content marketing principles written on chalkboard. Content, SEO, social media, website blog, relationships, equals online marketing. #WFCSBE

  1. Buffer allows you to schedule your social media content and link various profiles to one central hub.  From there you can edit content as well as customize your message, post to various platforms, and understand what times are best for each platform.  The last tip is helpful in creating more engagement and increasing the eyeballs on your post.  Plus, Buffer offers analytics resources so you can analyze what’s working.
  2. Almighty.Press offers a host of helpful services.  Most importantly it allows you to pool trending content on the web in own place based on your entries into their content discovery tool.  Who doesn’t want to increase productivity by reducing search time?  Publishing trending content in a timely manner just became easier.
  3. SumoMe provides list building tools along with exit tools that help increase engagement when visitors are about to leave your site.  Large scrolling pop-ups offer subscriptions, discounts, or other messages to help engage consumers.  The tool encourages opt-ins and increases conversation rates.
  4. Ninja Outreach is the coolest of the tools summarized and although we have not used this, it sounds very promising!  Ninja Outreach helps you identify influencers (people who have clout and a large following) in order to get your message in front of the right people.  This is huge!  Ever heard of the 80/20 rule in marketing?  It states that 80% of your revenue is made by 20% of your customers (the VIP’s to your business).  Identifying online VIP’s of interest to your specific business and your customers just got a little easier!  You also get social and S.E.O. insights.
  5. SendGrid helps businesses with email deliverability solutions.  It integrates with most all websites and offers the ability to funnel emails in order to A/B test them.  (A/B testing means that you can have different versions of nearly the same email in order to test engagement on each.  A/B testing improves the likelihood of opening, opt-ins and engagement.)  Based on the number of emails you want to send per month and the number of contacts, your price is determined.  The pricing plans we viewed seemed very affordable.
  6. PushWoosh is a tool that offers mobile, desktop and app notifications.   It notifies your customer through their web browser or phone and allows you marketing features outside of social media.  Plus it offers some really specific segmentation features that allow you to drill down to the results you want from your targeting.  Smale’s example … Want a Spanish speaking customer made a purchase last year?  Want to target customers who recently spent more than $1,000?  Try this resource.

How to put them together to maximize your reach and (ROMI)?

One the of the best insights from Smale’s post is about how you can put these tools together to really rock your content marketing.

You can ID content with trending potential using Almight.Press and queue it for release based on timing features available with Buffer.  Once customers visit your site you can use SumoMe to increase opt-in possibilities.

You can use SendGrid and PushWoosh to keep your followers updated with the latest content.  Lastly, Ninja Outreach can be used to help establish influencers so that you can get your content in front of the right people to help spread the word.

Source: Entrepreneur

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Author:Robin Yerian.  Robin studies Marketing and Business Administration at California State University, Northridge.  She has received an honorable mention for her secondary research regarding the millennial generation in association with the national American Marketing Association case competition for eBay in which she provided consumer insights.  Robin is the student assistant responsible for managing client relationships, communications, and social media for the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship at CSUN.