Best Business Neighbor Finalist: Google
Google: Getting Local Businesses in Front of (Virtual) Customers
Small businesses are the backbone of the U.S. economy, yet many of these businesses feel like they are being left behind by the information age. Google’s work helps bring these local businesses, your favorite corner store or coffee shop, into the 21st century, increasing their opportunity to grow.
More than 97% of American Internet users look online for goods and services, but 58% of small businesses do not have a website. That’s over 15 million American businesses that are not where their customers are – on the web.
Marilyn, owner of San Antonio’s The Garment Exchange, got herself online and experienced a 250% increase in sales in one week, a jump that allowed her to hire another employee so she could spend more time marketing her business online.
The impact of being online is real. Businesses that make use of the web are growing 40% faster and are nearly twice as likely to create jobs. Since small businesses comprise half of the US GDP and contribute two-thirds of new jobs, the economic potential impact of bringing those businesses online is enormous.
With the potential of the web to grow businesses and the economy, Google launched the “Get Your Business Online” program. The goal was to change the flawed perception that getting online is hard, expensive and time consuming, so small businesses throughout the US get online and grow.
What Google has Accomplished
As part of the “Get Your Business Online” program, any business can get a free website, domain, and web hosting as well as the tools needed to develop an online web presence. To reach small business owners, Google knew it had to undertake a local, state-by-state approach so they could reach businesses at the community level.
Since launching in July 2011, “Get Your Business Online” has launched in all 50 states. Google and its national partners have held more than 200 events and over 300,000 small businesses have started the process of getting online. Local businesses that have used Google’s program have seen tremendous results.
Why This Project Makes Sense
The web has accounted for 21% of GDP growth and nearly $8 trillion in e-commerce globally. Businesses that use the internet can go from being a local business to a national business overnight. Helping businesses get online helps the business, helps the U.S. economy, and helps communities connect.
Rather than simply donate funds, Google decided to donate something far more valuable: the time and skills of their staff along with unparalleled resources. In 2012, the Internet is where business is done and jobs are created. Get Your Business Online helps to ensure that every business is leveraging this critical platform for success.