Last week Google announced that they had redesigned the Small Business Network to not only help small business owners stay informed about new legislation, but to also include a small business toolkit. The Toolkit was designed to help SMB owners learn about the free Google products available to help them connect with colleagues and run their businesses more efficiently.
The goal of the Toolkit (other than just heavily promoting Google’s complete line of services) is to help entrepreneurs and small business owners learn about Google products and to enable them to exchange ideas and best practices with other entrepreneurs. Essentially, it makes it brain dead simple for SMB owners to solve some of their biggest business concerns.
- Need help finding customers? There’s Google Local Business Center
- Tired of your computer crashing? Check out Google Apps
- Want to map delivery routes? Create your own Google Map
- Make good on your advertising dollars? Try AdWords
- Can’t afford an IT specialist? There’s Google Analytics
- Worried about federal or state policies? Join Google’s Small Business Network
Is there anything Google can’t do?
Maybe not. At first glance, the Toolkit comes off as a double dose of Google Kool-Aid, but the truth is, if you’re a small business owner the products and services offered by Google are likely exactly what you’re looking for. You don’t have to search any further and, even if you did, you still probably wouldn’t find a better solution. Google’s products are free, easy to use, and they pack a pretty powerful bunch. Good on Google for giving small business owners everything they need in one place.
Google will also be traveling around the country offering free workshops called Small Business 101s to help entrepreneurs become more familiar with the tools offered by Google. The next workshop takes place today (Tuesday, Sept. 22) in Pittsburgh, PA. If you’re interested in attending, you can still sign up.
I was really interested to see Google giving small business owners an easy way to stay up to date on public policy issues via an email sign up on the Small Business Toolkit page. With instances like the one concerning Carl and BJ Streko where the government kicked their SMB to the curb and put them out of business, it’s becoming increasingly important that small businesses know what’s going on around them and that they are proactive about protecting themselves and the companies they’ve started. Dell did something similar with their Small and Medium Business Solutions Center when they offered information to SMBs on how the new Stimulus legislation affected them. The more information put into the hands of small business owners, the better.[It’s probably worth plugging that Business.gov also offers a Web gadget to help SMB owners stay up to date on legal issues and governmental services. It’s worth checking out.]
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Lisa, as you’ve seen me write, too, I am blown away by Google’s services for Small Biz. Yes, they are selling stuff to us and luring us in to Adwords, but there’s a cost of entry for everything. Tangible or not. At the end of the day, they sure give away a lot of useful and practical tools.
I agree, the wealth of free tools, resources and info we have access to is priceless. I love the idea of putting all the power in our own hands. It makes succeeding in our businesses that much more satisfying when we handle everything ourselves. Very empowering.
I think the toolkit part is good. However, I’d like to see Google get more relevant when it comes to their choice of advocacy issues. Wrote about it a few months ago: https://smallbiztrends.com/2009/05/google-misses-mark-with-small-business-network.html
While Google has increased the number of advocacy issues, the choice of issues seems to be more about what Google cares about, than what small business owners care about. I think they can be made more relevant.
Don’t forget Google Webmaster Central… a priceless collection of resources that help businesses manage their online presence.
Google clearly understands its vital role between small business and customers. It’s terribly smart for Google to invest in the health of small businesses. Everyone benefits.
Google keeps getting better! It’s pretty smart the steps they make to grow their market-share even more.
While rather obvious that Google provides these tools to introduce you to AdWords (their money-maker), the information is valuable nonetheless.
Is Google’s small business toolkit similar to ZoHo’s business suite?
No wonder Google is one of the most favourite sites of masses… The opportunities it offers are simply amazing.