Monday Morning Small Business Briefs

06.20.2011
Small Business

Here’s a round-up of recent small business news and activities here in Connecticut and beyond.

SBA Debuts Mobile App

This month, the U.S. Small Business Administration is debuting its first application for mobile devices to provide assistance to entrepreneurs on the go.

Palo Alto Software Inc. developed and donated the app to the SBA, with the initial version only operable on Apple’s iPhone with other platforms to follow.

Among other features, the app allows users to get video content and social media alerts, connect with SBA district office staff and counselors, and get answers to simple questions about starting a business, writing a business planor finding funding.

The app is available for download at www.sba.gov/content/sba-mobile-app.

Small Businesses Not Getting Good Vibes

According to a recent study released by the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), small business optimism has reached a new low in the US. The study also pointed out that small business optimism dropped slightlyin May and it was the third monthly drop in a row.

NFIB represents 350,000 small businesses, and said members who responded to the study were intending to shrink their payrolls, rather than expand them. The report also revealed that small companies have the worst hiring outlook in eight months.

Small businesses employ half of all private-sector workers in the US.

BlumShapiro Opens Staffing Office in Shelton

Creative Financial Staffing opened a Shelton office, the second for the subsidiary of BlumShapiro, which also has aShelton office.

CFS offers temporary and permanent placements for all levels of accounting and financial staff. The company hired Abigail Heagney as its business development manager in Shelton.

YouGottaCall Awarded Patent

Connecticut-based YouGottaCall.com is a Web-based word-of-mouth referral service for consumers and businesses. last week, YouGottaCall.com, LLC announced that it has been granted a patent by the the United States Patent & Trademark Office on its novel process for sharing and monetizing word-of-mouth referrals. (Patent No 7,953,644)

Local search is being revolutionized as consumers use social and mobile media to connect and share information.Social media is ideal for conveying word-of-mouth referrals which consumers trust over all other forms of advertising. Word-of-mouth is credited with 80% of new customers for small businesses.

Founder Tim Tracey of West Hartford, CT says, “Other services like Yelp, Yahoo Local, Google and Angie’s Listsupport local recommendations. YouGottaCall’s process is a step forward for the social economy. It benefits not only consumers and local businesses, but not-for-profit organizations as well. So each referral benefits the community.”

YouGottaCall allows consumers to recommend their trusted businesses to friends and neighbors. Members can also search for businesses trusted by their friends. Participating businesses choose the amount they pay for each newly referred customer. The fee benefits the favorite charities of the members involved in the referral.

YouGottaCall.com serves over 500 members and 250 trusted member businesses in Connecticut and western Massachusetts. Like Facebook and LinkedIn, it is free to join and use. Businesses may claim and manage their listings or have them added for free.

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