Thank you for checking out our Business Retention software Bludot App, built for local cities and counties' Economic Development teams! Please refer to the frequently asked questions below.
If you have additional questions, please reach out to us.
What is Bludot?
Bludot was built in 2019 through a 16-week partnership with City of Walnut Creek, CA. The city's Economic Development team was a total of 1.3 full-time staff (you read that right, one point three) supporting over 5,000 local businesses. They were looking for a way to better manage and track their local businesses' information and engagements, could not find a good solution on the market, and selected us as their startup partner to solve this challenge.
During the 16-week partnership, we were their "startup in-residence" (as in, we literally had a desk in their city hall, a few desks away from where the ED team sits), met the team frequently as well as other departments such as business license and planning, spoke with business owners, and built Bludot from scratch. Since launching in the beginning of 2020, we have already expanded to communities across over 10+ states.
Being specialized for small-mid sized local communities goes all the way back to our roots and is the core of our product.
Bludot Business Retention software platform is a web-based solution that allows a local government’s economic development team to manage, track, and engage with local business owners. It includes functionalities to segment businesses, analyze in a map, centralize all touch-points for each business in one profile, send targeted communication to select group of businesses, track open rates and responses, integrate surveys, and more. It offers a place for staff members to collaborate and share knowledge that are critical in local Business Retention and Expansion efforts.
How is data populated on the platform?
When we onboard a community onto the platform, we start with any existing data the community has. That could be an export from business license, a list from utilities, a working excel spreadsheet, lists pieced together from partner organizations, etc. Any data you currently use, we will get that imported.
We also invest in our own data processes and supplement with data that we source. Some of the data points we are able to source include local businesses' employee sizes, revenue, industry sectors, start date, etc.
Can we overwrite the data you sourced?
Yes. As the admin users of your community, you have full control over the data in your workspace and can edit at any time.
What about data updates?
At any time if you'd like to refresh your data, eg. periodic sync to your business license system to pick up the new businesses, simply give us a new file and we'll get that updated.
What if a business closed?
If a business closed, you have the option to either archive the business profile, which means the history of information is still preserved, but the business won't receive any future communication from you, or delete the profile, which removes the record completely.
How is communication with business owners tracked in the system?
Each business has a communication wall that includes a timeline view of the history of engagements with this business. The goal is to have all the engagements, across your team, centralized on this page, so any user can at any time pull up a business profile and see the complete information.
Emails are tracked automatically via an email connection. Simply connect your email accounts, and then any emails you send and receive with business owners will be organized automatically to their corresponding profiles. For more details on email integration, click here.
Other than emails, you can also log calls and meetings, jot down notes, use a form or send a survey.
Can more than one staff member use the platform?
Yes! Feel free to invite as many users as you need. In fact, we'd love to encourage you to collaborate across departments. Some of our cities have invited their IT director, Fire Chief, Planner, etc. The more staff members contribute, the more powerful and useful the platform becomes!
Can we import city boundary, opportunity zones, or other GIS map files?
Yes! Many communities have defined geographic areas within their community that are often relevant for the Economic Development team. To import a geographic boundary, simply send us a KMZ file from your GIS system.
Do I need to install the software on my computer?
Nope, Bludot is a web-based app. Simply open it on a browser with internet connection.
What about software updates?
Software updates also happen automatically. Simply open it on your browser and it will always be the latest version.
Occasionally, it may require a hard refresh to clear the cache; when that's the case, we will let you know.
Our updates are released around a monthly cadence. Feedback from our communities play a key role in our feature prioritization. So if you have any feedback or suggestions as you use the app, please do let us know!
What if I have technical questions?
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will respond within 24 hours.
To learn about what we are working on in our economic development platform and how we support business retention, please visit www.bludot.io.