MACHINE LEARNING: What can you do that an app can’t do?

image representing machine learningJP Morgan launched a new software last June called COIN which is able to review financial, credit, and mortgage loan documents within seconds, replacing hundreds of thousands of hours spent by employees normally.

The company has invested billions into technology in order to keep its competitive edge, reduce costs, and reduce human interpretation errors.  The up side of the implementation of this technology is the obvious improvements in speed, reduction in errors, and the ability to access data at any time.  The down side is that jobs will likely be reduced through the use of robotics.  Who may this effect?  Salespeople, underwriters, and administrative staff may find positions shrinking.  

To read more about how machine learning is influencing the lending and housing markets see JPMorgan at Bloomberg.

Source: Bloomberg.com Hugh Son

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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.

Purpose, Passion and Empathy – In Business

What makes a business attract others? Image: from poor to great, symbolizing improvement! Creative Commons Collective, free to use and modify attribution.Beyond product and pricing, Kansas City’s Startlandnews.com addresses the issue at the ‘Conquer the Good’ conference.  The innovators discussed the idea that choosing between profit and people is not necessary.

Serving both is the goal!

To read about empathy in business, aligning your passion and purpose with your business, and social causes that investors find appealing go to Stardlandnews.com.

WFCSBE Outreach: Serving Northridge & the San Fernando Valley

The Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship  serves the Northridge, California and surrounding communities by matching local businesses in need of help with business professors at at the College of Business and Economics at California State University, Northridge.  Our mission is to promote student excellence, give back to the community and together improve the qualify of life for local residents and our business students.

To apply for help with your business, please fill out the online consulting form.

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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.

Trending: Getting Content From Your Employees!

Have you ever found it challenging to come up with new, relevant, trending content? The continual search for relevant content can become quite a task.Colorful image of 3-D social media icons  So, do you use a news service, marketing firm, search for social media content yourself, or re-post what’s going around?

Could you trust your online image to your employees? Well, you probably already do. After all, you hired them; they are the voice and the face of the company.  You might as well empower your employees to engage with others online on your behalf.

We at #WFCSBE can hear the wheels turning … “but I’m concerned about the professionalism of my content”.  Yes, social media must be managed, including organic content.  And we think that the pro’s out-weigh the cons.  After all, is it possible for a brand to come off as contrived? Is it that more likely to happen through real interaction with authentic users and employees, or do you think that is more likely to happen when content is paid?

If you have not considered encouraging employees to share content about your business, you might be encouraged to know that many companies have made a move in this direction with positive results.

More and more businesses are tapping into their most trusted resource: their employees! In fact, numerous companies are using employees for more than just organic content.  Yes, local check-ins and authentic news from sources within the company are likely to help boost results (according to some sources).  But more than that, your employees have the ability to create a more authentic voice for your content.

Read more about trending content…

Source: LinkedIn Trending Content

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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.

Do Upheavals in Globalization, Tech, HR and Demographics Have You Perplexed?

Changes to the business environment are a constant, but managing those changes takes skill.  With the pace of changing demographics, technology innovation, and global competition, how does the little guy keep up?Time for Change - an image of a frog walking with a suitcase

CHANGE MANAGEMENT: HIRING A CONSULTANT

No one is completely objective all of the time.  If your business is experiencing challenges, perhaps a consultant could offer a fresh perspective.

For example, have you experienced trouble attracting qualified, engaged employees that are committed to the business?  Or perhaps you’ve been doing things the same way and they are no longer working for you.  Or maybe you want to KEEP your staff and still keep your MARGINS intact without losing them?

If change management is not your strong suit,  it may pay to hire a consultant.

The job of the consultant is to review and research your concerns and resources in order to arrive at recommendations for improvement.   But where do you find an accredited consultant?  You don’t – there is no such place.  However, different industries offer services to handle such requests.

For example, within the accounting industry Deloitte offers consulting within the area of human resources; they also offer the usual tax, accounting,  and systems implementation services, too.  Check out the article and video to learn more about the latest business and Global Human Capital Trends 2016.

HUMAN RESOURCES & THE MULTI-GENERATIONAL WORKPLACE

One trend is that the workplace is becoming younger (the Millennials) and older (the Boomers and Generation x) simultaneously.  Millennials are graduating college, entering the workforce and becoming parents while at the same time Generation X and the Boomers are changing careers, getting second jobs, or still working in their original careers.  People are living longer, which means the workforce is growing larger and more diverse.

At the same time the workplace is trying to keep up with technological improvements, social media, and global e-commerce.  Is your business equipped to manage multiple generations and their unique talents and needs?

To learn more about re-designing organizations read the Deloitte piece here.   Of course, you may request consulting from the Wells Fargo Center for Small Business & Entrepreneurship and work with the David Nazarian College of Business & Economics students.  Many graduating senior and MBA classes work with local businesses to give students the chance to learn how to act as ‘consultants’.  To request consulting use the online submission form at the CSUN website.

Sources: Deloitte and WFCSBE at CSUN

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.

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.