California State University, Fullerton

Alumni Success Story: Saimah Chaundhry

Saimah Chaundhry

Not that long ago I worked at a local bridal shop. Because I understood Facebook and social media in general, the firm asked me to help with their social media effort. I set up a Facebook “fan page”, created promotions, and marketed events for the brides-to-be. We added photos of the brides to the Facebook page and we created a “Bride of the Week” promotion. It proved to be very popular.

This experience got me thinking about the power of social media marketing. I decided to try it out with my family's chain of restaurants. By using Facebook to reach our customer, we found a bigger audience. People started coming to the restaurant saying that they found us through Facebook. Using coupons and promotions from the Facebook page, new people came to the restaurant. We also kept existing customers involved with the Facebook fan pages. My dad was surprised and delighted by the impact of the Facebook page.

I discovered that social media is a great marketing tool for small businesses. It is a scalable and easy way to promote the small business. Because this new found passion for social media, I went to work at an Internet marketing company where I met my future business partner. We shared a common vision to help companies with social media marketing. This opportunity recognition gave birth to my new company “CookiePages.”

Meanwhile, I was studying Entrepreneurship at CSUF. Going through the program, I discovered the tools, practical knowledge, and mentorship to actually start my own business. My partner and I wrote a business plan and researched the business just like I was taught in class. We shared the final plan with our networks, pitched the concept, and found an investor.

CookiePages began in September 2011, and in the four months since, we have gained over 180 clients all over the nation. We are also developing our own in-house software and customized programs. These tools make the CookiePages services unique to our clients. We also moved to an office in Tech Space, which is a highly rated co-location data center. Many businesses like Linked-In, Pandora, and E-Harmony started in Tech Space.

Going through the CSUF Entrepreneurship program, I learned that drive, passion, and conviction are the key ingredients for starting a business. My advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs is to use the resources around you. Be sure to leverage the Entrepreneurship program for all it's worth, because what they teach really works.

It does not matter what age you are, what gender you are, whether you are in school or not. If you believe in your idea and in yourself, you can start a company. I certainly did!

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