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Teri Bernstein, MBA, CPA has been teaching full time in the Business Department of Santa Monica College since 1985.  Prior to that, she worked in Internal Audit and Special Financial Projects for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, CBS, Inc., and Coopers & Lybrand (which is now part of PricewaterhouseCoopers).  She attended the University of Michigan and Wayne State University.

  • From Grad Student to Businesswoman: a Social Media expert

    photo by David Johnson: Shama Kabani of the Marketing Zen Group, from the article linked below It is the dream of many business students to launch a successful business in their twenties. Shama Kabani has done that. She took an academic paper on Twitter (which had only 2,000 followers when she wrote her paper) and turned it into a book and a business, according to an article in the September issue of Entreprenuer magazine. In 2009, she started her business, the Marketing Zen Group, which is a social media marketing firm in Texas. Her goal is to "cultivate relationships" with a client's "trusted audience." She has a three-pronged approach: social media with a special twist: "legitimate engagement" a strong and effective website presence search-engine optimization Even competitors recognize that Kabani's "legitimate engagement" concept is special. She trains her clients to develop a two-way communication with their customer base. Kabani helps her clients understand that they are part of a community that includes their customers. One interesting feature of her business is that several of her employees were hired virtually and work from the Philippines. Shama Kabani is now 26. Her business plan includes becoming a multi-million dollar company by 2014. Read the full article at: " From Grad Student to Social Media Millionaire ," by Matt Villano, September 5, 2011 or in print under the title "Social Media's Zen Master of Marketing," Entrepreneur , September 2011 Follow up : 1. How does social media affect your business decisions? Do you tweet recommendations (pro and con) of products and services that you purchase? Do you act on the recommendations of others? 2. Read the book: The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz and Increase Revenue by Shama Kabani, which is widely reviewed and available online.
  • Building a better economy

    The recovery of the construction trades could be a major factor in the rebuilding of the overall economy. Juli Niemann, a Marketplace analyst from Smith, Moore and Company, says, " The construction trade is really the only thing that's going to bring this out. The problem with that: it's longer-term. There's no short-term fix for the mess that we're in." She says that the economic gains we saw earlier this year were tied to manufacturing, and primarily affected export markets. Investment in the country's infrastructure could have more of an impact. Ms Niemann also says, " Thirty-five thousand jobs are created for about every billion dollars spent on transportation -- that's very effective. You've got a multiplier effect of 2 to 1." The "transportation" she is talking about is construction repairs to ports, highways and bridges. Read the transcript or listen to the radio segment at: Marketplace Morning Report Sept 6 2011 If construction jobs have the most positive impact, what is the outlook for the economy? Construction in the private sector does not look good. According to the AIA Consensus Construction Forecast , nonresidential and commercial construction will continue to decline in 2011 and will not pick up again until sometime in 2012. The bleak economic outlook has a circular effect, as investing in new construction seems riskier, which in turn depresses the economy further as it does not create the needed construction jobs. In addition to the private sector, there is public spending on infrastructure projects. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 [ARRA] was an economic stimulus package based on the debatable principle that " during recessions, the government should offset the decrease in private spending with an increase in public spending in order to save jobs and stop further economic deterioration." (Keynesian macroeconomic theory, quoted in the Wikipedia article on ARRA) This Act "needs a booster shot" said two Iowan legislators in an August 2011 roundtable in Cedar Rapids about re-building the middle class. They called for "more federal investment to stimulate the sluggish economy and put Iowans to work," according to an article by James Q. Lynch in The Gazette . Has this approach been shown to be effective? According to a report by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget at the 2-year anniversary of ARRA, the investment by the government, primarily in infrastructure projects, has had a positive impact on the jobs market and on the economy: " While controversy exists about the magnitude of and, to a lesser extent, the direction of the impact of ARRA, general consensus among economists is that it significantly helped the economy. CBO's latest estimate in November 2010 said that through the third quarter of 2010, ARRA had lowered the unemployment rate by somewhere between 0.8 percent and 2.0 percent and raised real GDP by between 1.5 percent and 4.2 percent. CBO's employment estimates from ARRA correspond to between 1.4 and 3.7 million more people (or full-time equivalents) employed as a result of ARRA. " Nevertheless, controversy will always exist when government spending is involved. Marketplace is produced by American Public Radio. Follow up : 1. When the Federal government grants money to improve and repair highways in a state, what kinds of jobs are created? Think about planning, construction, ancillary supply businesses, and service businesses that will be impacted. 2. What may be the negative impacts of this type of government spending? 3. What do the following acronyms mean? CBO, GDP, AIA
  • Coffee and Doughnuts: sweet deal or a sugar rush?

    photo from Dunkin' Donuts--by no means one of the technology stocks that are generally associated with IPOs--priced its initial public offering (IPO) at $19. Shares were available Wednesday, July 27, 2011. By the end of the trading day, the stock price of Dunkin' Brands (DNKN) had risen over 46% to close at $27.45. Ironically, this was during a week when the business environment, influenced by the "debt ceiling crisis" caused most stock prices to fall. As reported in the New York Times article " An IPO Built on the Basics: Sugar and Coffee ," interest in this IPO was generated partly because the brand names associated with Dunkin' Brands--including Baskin Robbins--are well known. Also, a wide range of investors experience and understand Dunkin' Brands products--sugar and coffee--much better than they understand the new media businesses like Pandora and LinkedIn , which also have generated IPO excitement this year. Alas, by the end of the following day's trading, the stock price had fallen 5 cents per share, as reported in USA TODAY' s article, " Dunkin Donuts Slips After Scorching Debut ." Although there may be viable marketing opportunities for expansion of Dunkin' Donuts outlets in the western United States, the fall in price immediately brought to mind the downfall of another once-hot doughnut chain, Krispy Kreme. Follow up: 1. When the stock market is falling, what other types of investments become more attractive to investors? 2. Look up the companies with 2011 IPOs, including the ones mentioned above. You might also want to include other fairly recent offerings such as Facebook and Google. Track the stock prices from the initial trading date until the current date. Do you see any trends?