In an economy rendering few jobs, some Fresno State alumni have turned to starting their own businesses. In some instances, however, a new business brings problems of its own.
Chris Callison, Fresno State student and CEO of A1 Ski Rentals, found out from personal experience how many marketing challenges come with a start-up business.
“My company is a rental business, we offer jet skis, boats and quads,” he said. “And I believe what was hard for us was getting the word out about our business.”
Callison developed a website, posted on Craigslist and handed out brochures around popular water attraction to generate business. He utilized the Internet and it proved to be the best tool in his strategy.
“We advertised in the major directories and tried different medias,” he said. “It seems like there are many ways to advertise but figuring out what works for you is trial and error. Trying to get business with a little budget is tough.”
While Callison’s business has been established many student’s are still in the beginning phases of starting a company.
Khan Shadid continues to have a positive outlook for the future despite funds not being readily available in his start up.
“In the beginning you usually have a budget so you are forced to learn as much as you can from planning ahead,” he said. “You need to know exactly who you are trying to help with your services.”
Shadid is working on an Internet social networking website for college students. He believes that understanding his customers is an important asset in the beginning stages of his company.
Shadid said he uses blogs and online advertising as a way to create an interest in his company.
“Marketing has been the easiest thing to implement due to the Internet,” he said. “We launch in July but our goal is to have a preliminary client list before so take off won’t be so unforeseen.”
Despite the state of the economy students still seek to open new businesses but it is easy to see the challenge they face is building a public presence.
“Grass roots marketing and underground marketing has proven to be a great success,” said Pashant Joshi, technology development project director for the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“One huge problem I see with students is they are so focused on getting a job that they forget there is other options,” he said. “When there’s no jobs, you create your own.” “The students here are always hungry for more,” says Joshi. “You have to great creative if you want attention.”