Google trains small businesses in website creation | News
PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Google commissioned an independent study on small businesses and the internet this year, and its findings might surprise you.
59% of small businesses in Maine do not have a website. And that's about average for states around the country. Overall, according to Google, 58% of small businesses in the U.S. don't have a website.
Today, Google hosted a seminar for Maine's small businesses who want to get online. Among those attending was Milton Webber, who bought the House Next Door Bed and Breakfast in Pittsfield a little less than a year ago. But as far as the internet's concerned, the B&B didn't exist until now.
Webber wasn't so worried about having an online presence during the school year because had had plenty of word of mouth traffic from the nearby Maine Central Institute.
"Now I absolutely find the need to bring in additional business," Webber said. "If this is what I'm going to be doing year round, this is just a perfect vehicle for me to go to that next level."
Senator Olympia Snowe asked Google to come to Maine and hold one of its small business seminars because she sees building Maine's small business presence online as critical to the growth of the state's economy.
According to the Small Business Administration, more than 97% of Maine's employers are small business owners.
Sen. Snowe said, "Small businesses are, certainly, our economy. They're our lifeblood and our heart and soul. And so when you have so many businesses that do not have an online presence, not having websites, that is clearly putting them in a position of being less competitive."
In fact, a study from Boston Consulting Group last year found that small businesses with an online presence grew 40% faster than those that aren't online.
So why wouldn't a small business have a website? An independent survey commissioned by Google this year found small business owners think it's hard, it's expensive, and it takes a lot of time.
"So if we can change the perception that getting online is hard, expensive and time consuming, we can get businesses online and we can get them growing," Google's marketing director, Scott Levitan said. The company does these seminars all over the country. Levitan said it helps the company because the more small businesses are online, the more helpful Google is when people search for business information.