Stories and Articles

The Small Business Consulting Center: Helping Entrepreneurs and SDSU Students for 40 Years


Diana RomeroMany small San Diego County businesses have a great product or service with no way of measuring or defining their pricing, business plan or marketing efforts.

This is where SDSU's Small Business Consulting Center (SBCC) can help. Since its inception in the early 1970s, SBCC has benefited over a thousand San Diego County businesses by providing the services of student teams (consisting of senior business students with an M.B.A. student supervisor) who review, analyze and summarize necessary organizational improvements for each participating business.

"We see the SBCC is an important and unique aspect of the outreach element of the College of Business," said incoming director, Dr. John Francis. "Students and faculty utilize and practice the business knowledge and critical thinking they are gaining on campus for the purpose of solving real problems for the San Diego business community."

"Students and faculty utilize and practice the business knowledge and critical thinking they are gaining on campus for the purpose of solving real problems for the San Diego business community." - Dr. John Francis, incoming director of the SBCC

One member of the business community is Diana Romero who offers wedding planning services through her company, At Your Side Planning. She enlisted the help of the SBCC students in the fall of 2011 when she decided she wanted to increase her revenues.

The students suggested techniques to improve her marketing plan and determined that she was charging too little for her services. Upon implementing their suggestions, she noticed positive improvements right away.

"The results were incredible," said Romero. "I implemented the students' suggestions to revamp my pricing when their analysis determined my price point was too low. I also used their input to re-name and re-brand my company name, website and marketing materials to create a cohesive and higher quality look and feel. My resulting revenue has increased significantly and I have a higher quality of clientele now."

Part of the reason for Romero's results is the fact that she was not only willing to implement the suggestions made by the students, but also that the students are among the best in the College of Business Administration. "In order to be involved in SBCC, students must go through an applications process," said Dr. Don Sciglimpaglia, outgoing director for the SBCC. "Only seniors and M.B.A. students that have shown excellence in the classroom and that have a track record of community service are accepted into the program."

Tyler Blair, owner of The Washboard laundry service near SDSU's campus, also engaged the SBCC's students shortly after purchasing his business. While the report from the SBCC confirmed Blair's assertion that no other local laundry service offered free wi-fi, televisions, customer service and high tech washing machines, the report also came back with a marketing and financial suggestions that helped Blair to strengthen his unique business.

"One of the first things the students did was to determine the actual cost and profit for each service and that's when we realized that the fluff-and-fold service had the highest return on investment," said Blair. "When I started marketing that service more heavily, we began seeing more profits pretty quickly. They also showed me how to better manage our existing accounting system, how to train and delegate work to the existing employees and how to determine a pricing structure." Like Romero, Blair also learned that he needed to make his marketing and branding more uniform. "I didn't even think about the branding before they pointed out some inconsistencies, but now I have a cohesive message across all media," he said.

For more information on the SBCC (Now Aztec Consulting) or to participate in the program, please visit the Aztec Consulting website.