The Center for Small Business operates in a simple and efficient manner. Small business owners/managers contact the CSB and request management assistance. Their requests are logged by student coordinators, and these are routed to the Center's faculty coordinator for review and distribution to faculty within the College of Business Administration who use these "cases" as part of their course assignments.
From this point, faculty members assign these cases to teams of students (from two to five students per case). The students then contact the clients to further define their requests for assistance and begin the consultative process. For the duration of the semester, the student teams develop recommendations for their clients and prepare written reports that are given to both the clients and their instructor.
Clients of the CSB range from "mom and pop" operations to those that are quite prominent within the Sacramento community. The types of companies vary from physician groups, acupuncturists, contractors, and law firms to dog groomers and gift shops. Some firms are in their startup stages while others have been in existence for many years. What they all have in common is the need for outside consulting services to assist them in making business assessments and formulating management strategies.
Some organizations request assistance because they are having serious difficulties, others simply want to have an outside review of their operations and strategies to ensure that they are doing things right, and still others need assistance in managing their rapid growth. Much of the work provided by the CSB focuses on assisting clients to develop business plans, designing marketing strategies, and making adjustments in internal operations.
The CSB offers free technical consulting services to small for-profit and not-for-profit organizations. These services are provided in virtually all areas of business other than taxation, law, and loan packaging.
Type of Assistance
- Marketing/Sales planning
- Strategic analysis and strategic planning
- Financial analysis and planning
- Human resource management
- Production and operating systems management
- Overall business plan
1. Who provides the services?
Services are provided by undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in courses within the College of Business Administration. Normally, students work in teams of two to five people.
2. When are services provided?
Services are provided during the Fall (September through December) and Spring (February through May) semesters. Cases typically are distributed to faculty within the first three to four weeks of a semester, and they assign them to their students shortly thereafter.
3. How are cases selected for service?
Cases are initially screened by the Center's Faculty Coordinator to assess their appropriateness for the program. Then, the cases are distributed to individual faculty for use in their classes. Faculty make the ultimate decision as to whether a particular case is suitable for her/his course
4. When will I know if I will receive assistance?
Cases are assigned throughout the semester for various reasons. However, it is most likely that you will be contacted by a student team within three to four weeks from the beginning of a semester if your company has been selected.
5. If I am not selected in a semester, do I need to re-apply?
While you are welcomed to give us a call anytime, you do not need to re-apply. If the Center is not able to serve you in a semester, you will automatically be contacted at the beginning of the next semester to determine if you would still like assistance.
6. How long will the students work with me, and how much of my time will this take?
Students work with companies over the semester. At the end of the semester, they will provide you with a written report of recommendations. How much of your time is needed varies greatly by the nature of the service. We do ask that you be available to students so they can provide the best service possible.
7. Can I receive assistance in more than one area and for more than one semester?
You can receive assistance in multiple areas of business, and for more than one semester. At times, it is necessary to provide assistance in a particular area during one semester, and another area in the next semester.
8. Can I receive assistance if my company is not located in Sacramento?
Our services extend beyond Sacramento County. However, if your company is located out of town, we ask that you be willing to travel to Sacramento to meet with the students. This makes it much more likely that we will be able to serve you.
9. Is there a fee for this service?
We do not charge for our services, nor will we incur costs on behalf of your company. Our services are made possible by the generous support of community sponsors.
10. Can I make a donation to the Center?
The Center welcomes donations of any amount to help make this service possible to small businesses. Although you should consult with your tax advisor, we believe any donations will be tax deductible since this is a non-profit organization.
Please feel free to contact the Center for Small Business at (916)278-7278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Small Business
College of Business Administration, CSUS
6000 J Street Sacramento, CA 95819-6088