Kevin O’Kane, Managing Director, Google Marketing Solutions APAC, Google
More and more people look to the Internet everyday to buy goods and services — in fact, the global e-commerce market is worth approximately US$22.1 trillion. In the Asia-Pacific region, there are 15 million small and medium-sized enterprises (SME), employing 70% of the region’s workforce. That’s why every SME should use the Internet to their full advantage.
Here are 5 ways the Internet makes it easy to start and grow a small business
1. Be found online
Potential customers are online and on the go, and expect you to be, too. One in five searches on Google are related to a customer’s location, for example, searching for the nearest shop or service on your mobile device. If your business isn’t listed on online maps, for many customers, you may as well not exist. With Google My Business, you can create a simple website that looks great in less than ten minutes. It’s completely free, and easy to create and edit from your computer and phone.
2. Work your website
The next step to being found online is to make the most of your website. Online and offline businesses can use their online real estate to attract more customers. You can show off photos of your storefront, the interior of your shop, and provide informative content about your products or services. Don’t forget to optimize your site for a mobile experience, too. Two-thirds of the world is on a mobile device and you want to ensure your business shines on mobile. Test My Site can help. It’s a free online tool that provides businesses with specific steps on how to make their websites more efficient on mobile devices. Business owners interested in connecting to a community of online businesses and SME mentors can look to Google Business Groups for local meetups and networking as well.
3. Measure your progress
Analyzing website traffic can also provide valuable insight: every click you get can help you better understand what your customers are looking for and whether you were able to help them. Free analytics programs like Google Analytics offer insights and tips to make your website easier to use, cluing you into which parts of your site are the most popular and what’s driving sales and signups. These insights will help you make your website more effective, in turn leading more people to share your content and link back to your business.
4. Explore beyond your borders
The Internet has practically eliminated the barriers to exporting that SMEs faced in the past. Today, an SME that uses the Internet is four times more likely to export and workers at exporting SMEs have higher wages–an estimated US$1,700 more on average. On the web, any business, however large or small, can access the technology, global customer base, and critical market information to start exporting. Google Trends can help you see what people are searching online. In addition, Google offers a free tool called Global Market Finder that helps businesses understand who is interested in their products worldwide. The tool translates automatically and helps you find—and size—the business opportunity abroad.
5. Switch to the Cloud
Some of the fastest growing companies in the world are using Google Cloud to run their business. Instead of having your data and resources online in a physical computer or server, cloud computing allows business owners to work from anywhere, share large files quickly and collaborate with employees in real-time, regardless of location. Simply put, the cloud boosts productivity and collaboration in your workplace, and dramatically cuts costs.
About the author: Kevin O’Kane, Managing Director, Google Marketing Solutions APAC, Google
Kevin O’Kane joined Google in June 2011 to lead the small and medium business across Asia Pacific. He has more than a decade of experience in building businesses and leading successful organizations across the region.
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