“A Small Business Blogger’s View of Connecticut’s Small Business Landscape” – March 15th Meeting

9 03 2012

Our speaker will be  Adam K. Ney Assistant Director of Public Affairs, Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA).

Adam is a long-time employee (24+ years) of CBIA and besides helping to drive the association’s grass-roots legislative, he also works with CBIA member companies and other NGOs to help identify and promote small business opportunities and activities in Connecticut.  Adam also writes and manages content not only for CBIA’s Small Business blog, but also for the association’s manufacturing and green business blogs.  Here’s a link to the small business blog for members of FINE to review http://www5.cbia.com/smallbusiness/.

At next week’s meeting, Adam will discuss current small business activities in the state including;

·The Department of Economic and Community Development’s (DECD’s) Small Business Loan program initiated by the special legislative session this past Fall

·Small Business issues before the legislature

·Some non-legislative activities that are promoting small business growth in Connecticut

·Open discussion

Note that we will be meeting in the Smilow Lounge, on the second floor of the playhouse, and that we have shortened the meeting to end at 10:30 in order to reduce the cost of the room rental.

As we discussed at the last meeting, since the Playhouse tripled our rent and are charging for set up and take down time, we will need to charge more for this meeting, $10.

We have been looking for a new location and will likely be meeting at the Westport Library, however, since they have a 6 meeting per year limit, the other meetings would be at the Wilton Library unless we can find another Westport location.

Hope to see you there.

Ed and Bette Lynn 





FINE Meeting – February 16th – “Roundtable on New Ideas for 2012”

10 02 2012

The February meeting of FINE Business Networking will be an opportunity for everyone to participate and to benefit from hearing about what others are doing to grow their business in 2012. We will go around the room and those who want to share an idea and get feedback from the group will have the opportunity to do so. Bette Lynn and I will moderate the roundtable and would like to know in advance if there is something you would like to share. It will help us prepare and make sure the roundtable is effective. 

We will also spend some time talking about the future of FINE. The Playhouse has raised the room rental fee so we are looking for a new location and considering changing the time and day. We would be interested in your thoughts. Note that we will be meeting in the Smilow Lounge, on the second floor of the playhouse.

Joe Terbell, an experienced professional college counselor will be our coffee sponsor. He will introduce his new business College Steps.

 Hope to see you there.

 Ed and Bette Lynn  





FINE meeting, 12/15, our speaker is Colin M. Caplan, founder and owner of Taste of New Haven

3 12 2011

Our speaker at the December 15th meeting of FINE, will be Colin M. Caplan, founder and owner of Taste of New Haven food and drink tours.  Colin started this company in September of this year as a way of providing a one-of-a kind event for both Connecticut residents and tourists. For the restaurants and shops the tours provide direct stimulus, new and potential repeat customers and an image of busting activity. Colin also felt that this idea would change people’s perception and image of New Haven, which has been plagued with negative publicity in recent years.

Colin will talk about how he took a traditional education and career like architecture and turned it into non-traditional entrepreneurial ventures with multiple streams of income including leading culinary walking tours, authoring published and non-published books on history and architecture and historic design and research. Colin will explain some of his methods of marketing and the technology he used to do it. He will also talk about the challenges he has faced in getting started and his ideas for growing the business in 2012. 

He was born and raised in New Haven and developed a passion for architecture and history at an early age. Colin received a Masters in Architecture and Minor in Earth Science from Tulane University in New Orleans. He returned to the Elm City where he worked with a non-profit affordable housing development company, multiple architecture firms and became heavily engaged in his community.

Colin is Historic Officer of the Friends of Edgewood Park, Historian for the Broken Umbrella Theater Company, past Chair of the Alliance for Architecture, past board member of the New Haven Preservation Trust and in 2008 Colin was recipient of the Annual Arts Award from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven.  Colin has published four books on New Haven history and architecture. He has written and is continually researching and writing histories about towns, neighborhoods, buildings and families all over Connecticut. His collection of vintage photography is viewable and reprints are available for purchase online at www.magrissoforte.com. Colin’s tour company is also online at www.tasteofnewhaven.com.

The meeting is in the Lucille Lortel Barn at the Westport Country Playhouse from 9 – 11 AM with time for networking before and after Mr. Caplan’s talk. Coffee, tea and a baked good ( prepared by Bette Lynn Paez, co-leader of FINE, financial planner, and former bakery owner) will be provided. In order to cover the expense for the room and coffee when we don’t have a coffee sponsor, there is now a $5 charge which will be collected at the door.





November 17th meeting … “The Revival of The Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport”

7 11 2011

Our speaker for the November 17th meeting of FINE Business Networking is Lynn Julian, a partner in the revival of The Bijou Theatre in Bridgeport. Ms. Julian will talk about the entrepreneurial challenges of starting the business, which just had its grand opening in September, about their marketing programs, and the role of the theater in the revitalization of Bridgeport.

The Bijou Theatre, dating back to 1909, is located in one of the oldest buildings used as a movie house in the country, and continually run as a movie house. The Bijou Theatre is a luxurious, diverse, multi-use venue, known for its unique mix of independent, documentary and classic films, live comedy, music and theatre.

Ms. Julian (marketing/pr director) and her partners, Christine Brown (program director) and Kathy Reynolds (operations director), have created a synergistic, creative relationship, combining different perspectives, experience, education and talent, that has developed the brand, and fueled the launch of the theatre.

“Our chief goal is to cultivate the personality of The Bijou and tap into its past to bring a newfound energy to Bridgeport.  Both the theatre and the city have seen prosperity and peril over the decades. We couldn’t be more excited to have opened the Bijou’s doors at a time when an artist murmuring is captivating within this urban, industrial setting.  We hope to do our small part to support the kind of fresh exchange, the dynamism that means revitalization for Bridgeport and for its residents and neighbors.”  You will be entertained, as soon as you walk through the doors.

For more information visit www.TheBijouTheatre.com.

Our coffee sponsor for this meeting is Dr. Tom Woodman, BrainCore Therapy Systems, www.norwalkbraincore.com. BrainCore Therapy provides a unique drugless approach to treating Neurological Dysregulation Syndrome (NDS) that may be associated with the symptoms of many neurological based conditions.





FINE Meeting, 10/20, “How to Use VOC (Voice of the Customer) to Grow Your Business”

6 10 2011

Janet HuettemanJanet Huetteman, President of TouchPoint Experience, LLC, will be the guest speaker at the October 20th meeting of the FINE Business Networking Group, at the Westport Country Playhouse. Ms. Huetteman will speak about VOC and its benefits to growing a business. As the use of social and new media grows, communications about you and your company is increasingly in the hands of your customers; it can be instantaneous and can spread very quickly. It is critical that you understand and harness what your customers are saying about you, both good and bad. The first step is to have a mechanism for collecting VOC or “Voice of the Customer”.

In this interactive presentation, Ms. Huetteman will discuss the importance of collecting actionable VOC and the techniques by which you efficiently and effectively do it. She will demonstrate how VOC can help you manage the experience you deliver to customers; making sure they are happy and the word-of-mouth about your company drives profitable growth.

Janet Huetteman, is the president and founder of TouchPoint Experience, a firm dedicated to helping clients better manager the customer experience. TouchPoint Experience utilizes proprietary tools and methods to identify performance issues against customer expectations and build an organizational roadmap to deliver great customer experiences. Ms. Huetteman’s skills include leadership facilitation and coaching, change management, Six Sigma Quality, global marketing, branding and communications. Ms. Huetteman, has earned an MBA in Marketing, a BA in Psychology, Marketing and Fine Arts, is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society. She is an adjunct Professor of Marketing at Fairfield University and a frequent guest speaker at client forums and organizations.

FINE Business Networking Group provides a forum to meet people, exchange ideas and grow your business. FINE was started more 18 years ago by a group of former IBM executives with the mission of networking to assist each other with consulting and business opportunities. Today our meetings are open to all and are attended by small business owners, independent professionals, consultants and those in transition looking for possible business opportunities. We are still an informal group and there are no dues or membership requirements, but we do ask for a donation to defray our costs.

The October 20th meeting is at the Lucille Lortel Barn at the Westport Country Playhouse from 9 – 11 AM with time for networking before and after Ms. Huetteman’s talk.

Coffee, tea and a baked good ( prepared by Bette Lynn Paez, co-leader of FINE, financial planner, and former bakery owner) will be provided.

Our coffee sponsor is Bill Meredith, owner of Meredith Project Management, providing independent representation throughout the Planning, Design and Construction process for all residential Landscape projects.





FINE 18th Anniversary Meeting, 9/15, our speaker is State Senator Bob Duff

5 09 2011

State Senator Bob DuffOur speaker for the FINE 18th Anniversary meeting will be State Senator Bob Duff. He will be sharing with us his perspective on the effect of the new state budget on small businesses in Fairfield County and the business climate in general in the state. 

Senator Duff represents the 25th Senatorial District, which includes Norwalk and Darien. He serves as chair of the Banks Committee and as vice chair of the Transportation and Energy & Technology Committees. Bob also chairs two subcommittees as a member of the Appropriations Committee.

Reelected to his fourth term in the state Senate in 2010, he previously represented the people of Norwalk’s 137th Assembly District for three years. Bob is a real estate professional with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.

The meeting takes place on September 15th, from 9 to 11AM, at the Westport Country Playhouse in the Lucille Lortel White Barn Center. The doors open at 9AM with the opportunity to network, followed by a welcome and each attendee giving their “30 second elevator pitch”. This is followed by the presentation and then additional time to network. The meeting concludes by 11AM. Visitors are welcome. A donation ($5) is requested to cover expenses.

Coffee, tea, and a baked good prepared by Bette Lynn Paez (FINE co-leader, financial planner and former baker) will be provided. Sam Wexler, a chart member of FINE, will be our coffee sponsor. Thank you Sam and Bette Lynn!





FINE is on vacation!

29 07 2011

FINE is taking the rest of the summer off, so there is no August meeting. Hope you are all able to take time off as well.   

We will be back in September! Our 18th anniversary meeting is on the 15th. It’s always a special meeting,  seeing some faces we haven’t seen for awhile, there will be refreshments, sponsored by Sam Wexler, a charter member of FINE, so I’m sure we will be hearing some stories about the “old days”, which is always nice. 

I’ll be posting the September meeting notice with the details on the topic and speaker toward the end of August.

Enjoy the summer!








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