Inside Business Buzz – July 2014
Message from the Dean
One of the things I do during the summer is attend a conference for business school deans. We spend a few days in seminars discussing things like curriculum, programmatic innovation, enrollment trends, and accreditation.
A hot topic at a recent meeting was impact. Business schools everywhere are pushing to have greater impact. What does it mean to have impact? Essentially, it means we should make a difference. We should make a difference to our students, giving them opportunities they would not have had otherwise. We should make a difference to businesses, helping them solve problems, sometimes before those problems even arise. We should make a difference in our profession by contributing new ideas and testing assumptions.
The take away from this recent conference was that real and positive impact is the measure of our success. While this was always true at some level, it will be increasingly true in the future. I view it as an exciting and invigorating challenge; I hope you do as well.
by Jason Anderson, Georgia Southern University SBDC director
(Click on the photo for a larger image.)
One of the recurring challenges for small businesses is maintaining current and effective marketing practices to promote awareness of their offerings and meet sales goals, especially when it comes to utilizing technology for marketing. The digital marketing world is constantly changing and keeping up-to-date on the latest trends and tactics takes significant time and effort. In May and June, the Georgia Southern University Small Business Development Center (SBDC) provided a multi-week training program specifically geared toward helping small businesses understand trends in digital marketing and which online technologies they should consider for marketing their businesses.
Called Maximum Contact, the program spanned five weeks and ten hours of participation. Topics discussed included word-of-mouth marketing online, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, online marketing through content generation, and using online tools and networks to increase business. Thanks to a sponsorship by the One Georgia Authority and the SBDC’s partnership with the Tri-County Regional Entrepreneurial Support Team and the Toombs-Montgomery Chamber of Commerce, the program was offered to local businesses at no charge. The program was held at the Southeastern Technical College Economic Development Center and had participation from twenty-five attendees representing nineteen businesses and organizations.
Described by attendees as being “very resourceful” and containing “great information,” the program received an overwhelmingly positive response. “Maximum Contact is one of our most popular programs in the Maximum series of programs. It covers innovative topics and business owners love to learn about the latest developments in online marketing technologies,” said SBDC Director Jason Anderson. “It’s also a great peer learning and networking opportunity for the business owners. Because they see each other for five consecutive weeks, they get to know each other better, learn from each other, and build relationships.” The Georgia Southern University SBDC provides business training programs to entrepreneurs and small businesses in a ten-county-area that includes Statesboro and surrounding communities. Statesboro-area businesses attended Maximum Contact last year, and it was equally well received. To hear previous participants’ thoughts on the program, click here.
Alumni Spotlight: 1st Lieutenant Andrew Southerland
(As seen on my.georgiasouthern.edu)
Meet 1st Lt. Andrew Southerland, a USARCENT armor officer. Southerland, a Lawrenceville native, is an active duty soldier currently stationed at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait. He is one month into a one-year deployment.
This is Southerland’s first deployment. He plans to finish his current enlistment and become a veterinarian. Southerland attained his degree in business administration from Georgia Southern University.
Q: What is your favorite movie genre?
A: Action, because it is more fast-paced and entertaining.
Q: What is your favorite food?
Q: What are your goals?
A: My goals are to become a veterinarian, start a family, and to gain financial independence.
Q: What are you most proud of?
A: My military service. I’ve learned difficult lessons that I probably wouldn’t have learned outside the military.
Q: What are your hobbies?
A: I read a lot; I enjoy anything outdoors. Here in Kuwait, I volunteer at the veterinarian clinic on post. I also work with Kuwait Society for the Protection of Animals and Their Habitats walking dogs and just socializing the animals.
Q: If you could spend one hour with anyone, who would it be and why?
A: The commander in chief, to share some ideas.
Five Tips for Developing Effective Copy for Your Website
by Jason Anderson, Georgia Southern University SBDC director
The old adage that first impressions are everything rings true in many areas of business, especially regarding your business’s website. Research concludes that web users decide within ten seconds whether to continue reading a page or to move on.
That means your business’s website has ten seconds to clearly communicate its value to your readers. A big part of that communication is the text (also called copy) on your site. To develop effective copy, follow these tips:
Know Your Audience
Writing effective web copy first requires that you have a clear understanding of whom you want to have reading your site. What do your readers look like? How do they behave? What are their beliefs?
Build a profile of your ideal readers and know what makes them tick. After you have determined this, start writing what your audience likes to read.
Communicate Benefits Instead of Features
If your ideal readers are potential customers (as they are for many businesses), they are interested in something specific. This interest can be something that alleviates a pain or something that prevents that pain in the first place.
Rather than listing features and specifications, tell readers how your offering alleviates or prevents the pain they are experiencing. How can it make them healthier, happier, or more efficient? How can it help reduce costs or increase sales? Which hassles does it help to avoid? Communicate these benefits on your site.
“Less Is More,” Said the Eighth-Grader
Nothing will scare away readers faster than long-winded rants and never-ending paragraphs.
Your readers should not have to do any vertical scrolling on your home page (with the exception of single-page mobile device-optimized sites). If they must scroll, keep your most important information above the fold (the part of the page that is visible without scrolling). Copy on your site should be short and to the point. Use bullet points and short paragraphs. Write clearly and avoid jargon. If you can remove an adjective from a sentence without changing the sentence’s meaning, do it.
Find a nearby eighth grader who knows nothing of your business and ask him or her to view your website. What did he or she learn from your site? Did he or she understand it? If not, rewrite it.
Treat Every Page as a Landing Page
What is a landing page? It is any page that readers see when they first come to your site. Because readers may be coming to your site by clicking on search results, they could be entering your site on any of your pages (and not just your home page).
Therefore, make sure every page on your site is easy to scan, tells readers where in your site they currently are, and includes a call to action telling them what to do next, such as signing up for your email list, requesting a quote, or reading a product description.
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in Alexandria, VA, has awarded a Merit Award designation to the Georgia Southern University College of Business SHRM student chapter for providing exceptional growth and development opportunities to its student chapter members during the 2013-2014 Student Chapter Merit Award period.
The Georgia Southern SHRM student chapter provides an avenue for human resource (HR) and other business students to participate in hands-on HR-related activities, aside from simply attending required college classes. According to Dr. Feruzan Irani Williams, chapter faculty advisor, “it is a great opportunity for students to get involved in their chosen career[s] and to practice leadership skills. I believe this experience will have a positive impact on their future career[s]. Recruiters today are looking to see if students have shown initiative during their college careers and getting involved in business organizations, like SHRM, is a good way of demonstrating this.”
Dr. Robert C. Hoell, senior professional for human resources and interim chair of the Georgia Southern College of Business Department of Management, praised Dr. Irani Williams and the student chapter leadership for the award. “Organizations like SHRM allow our students to see how their coursework will benefit them in the future,” said Dr. Hoell. “I know we have been successful with these awards for many years, and the Chapter continues to grow in both size and recognition. These sorts of awards can really give our students an edge on the competition when it comes time to find employment.”
The SHRM student chapter organizes and participates in a number of meetings and activities each year. In the past year, the Chapter has participated in the American Foundation for Suicide: Out of the Darkness Walk (March 2014) and held a successful canned-food drive. The Chapter also held a successful fundraiser in Fall 2013. Members partnered with the Yankee Candle Fundraising program, set up catalog packets, actively sold candles, and earned a 40 percent profit from everything they sold. This was a rewarding experience for the Chapter.
During fall and spring semesters, the Chapter invites speakers from the business and campus communities to present at Chapter general meetings. In the past academic year (2013-14), speakers were Joey Persico from Gulfstream, Jeannie Sullivan from System Administrative Services, Paul Michaud, VP of HR at Georgia Southern University, Jeff Grant, director of HR for the City of Statesboro, and Emily Turknett from Aerotek. In Fall 2014, confirmed speakers include Gary Gawel from Georgia Southern, who will speak about sexual harassment; Dr. James Stephens, MHA director at the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Georgia Southern, who will speak about HR careers in healthcare; and Kat Holzmiester from Sherwin-Williams, who will speak about recruiting.
In addition to the on-campus activities, the SHRM Chapter student members participate in networking opportunities by attending meetings of professional SHRM chapters in Savannah (sponsoring chapter), Atlanta, and Statesboro. Moreover, the students have participated in internships at great corporations such as Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, PVH Corporation, RaceTrac, Nestlé, etc.
SHRM is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 275,000 professional and 19,000 student members in more than 140 countries, the association serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession.
For more information, contact Dr. Feruzan Irani Williams, assistant professor of management in the Georgia Southern University College of Business, at 912.478.5527 or email@example.com.
A Day for Southern
Back to school is looming, and it will not be long before Georgia Southern starts preparing for the annual A Day for Southern campaign.
For more than 40 years, members of the Bulloch County community have united on the second Tuesday in September to support Georgia Southern by participating in A Day for Southern. Their gifts have been vital to helping Georgia Southern become the University its alumni know and love.
For the second year, Georgia Southern is inviting ALL Eagles everywhere to unite and make an online gift during A Day for Southern. Last year, loyal alumni from across the nation made the new online phase of A Day for Southern a success!
This year, A Day for Southern is Tuesday, September 9. The College of Business would like you to strongly consider making a gift to support the College.
If you are interested in joining the Eagle Executive Society, please designate your gift to account number 0979.
The College of Business account number is 0277 if you wish to support the College as a whole.
A list of all College of Business accounts can be found here.
The College of Business is also looking for a few good Eagles to help spread the word about the campaign. Please click here if you’re interested in becoming an “online ambassador” for A Day for Southern.
The College of Business Administration is excited to announce the very first Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) lab on-campus. During the summer, one of the College’s computer labs was converted into a smart classroom that will allow students to bring their own device, whether a laptop or tablet, to participate in coursework. Certain courses have been and will be designated for the use of the mydevice classroom. Plans are to convert more classrooms into this BYOD format over time.
Dr. J. Lowell Mooney, professor of accounting and former director of the School of Accountancy at Georgia Southern University, was elected chair-elect of the Georgia Society of CPAs (GSCPA) in July at the Society’s Annual Convention in San Francisco, CA. A GSCPA member for the past 26 years, Dr. Mooney has had a lengthy history of service to the Georgia Society of CPAs. He is a former member of the GSCPA Council and member of the board of directors. He has served as president of the GSCPA’s Southeast Georgia Chapter and as president of the Educational Foundation, in addition to serving on numerous committees and task forces.
A certified management accountant, chartered global management accountant, and certified financial manager, Dr. Mooney is also a member of both the American Institute of CPAs and the Institute of Management Accountants. He has received numerous awards for his teaching, research, and service activities, including the Georgia Society of CPAs’ Outstanding Accounting Educator Award, the Eugene Bishop Award for Sustained Excellence, and the Beta Alpha Psi Outstanding Advisor Award at Georgia Southern University.
Dr. Mooney holds a doctorate degree in accounting with a minor in management information systems from The University of Georgia. At Georgia Southern, he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in accounting principles, management accounting, and accounting information systems.
Last updated: 7/8/2016