When starting a business, entrepreneurs quickly discover a long list of to-do items, including finding space to rent, hiring employees, and identifying vendors and suppliers. Overcoming the challenges of starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart, and resources and support are welcome and appreciated.
Google for Small Business is an invaluable source of information and support for entrepreneurs and small business owners. In fact, retailers, service providers, restaurateurs, local businesses, nonprofits, schools and community-based organizations can all take advantage of the digital resources, tools and guides in the Google for Small Business portal.
What is Google for Small Business?
Google for Small Business is a free online portal designed to give businesses resources for growth and success. Google launched the offering on International Small Business Day in 2019 as a way for the tech giant to help small businesses develop their online presence and learn the ins and outs of digital marketing using Google’s tools.
Google for Small Business started as a one-stop shop for small businesses to access Google tools for business. The portal now offers more specialized recommendations by business type – restaurant, retail, and services.
Many businesses use Google Ads to reach targeted audiences. To optimize Google Ads, carefully choose your keywords, keep them local if possible, and ensure your website is ready to handle the traffic you generate.
How does Google for Small Business work?
Google for Small Business serves as a portal for the tech giant’s small business-facing tools and services. It’s organized into three interconnected sections covering all things digital. There are three points of entry for users:
- Google’s essential digital tools that are relevant to entrepreneurship and small business ownership
- In-depth guides for retail stores, restaurants and product-based small businesses
- Video lessons to support all of the portal’s digital tools
1. The Google for Small Business Digital Essentials Guide
When small business owners enter the Google for Small Business portal, they can select the Get the essentials link to access the Digital Essentials Guide. Some tools here are free, while others offer free trials or list straightforward, inexpensive prices.
The guide walks business owners through four essential elements of a digital presence:
- Getting a web address: The guide explains how to get a web address through Google Domains – complete with email forwarding and privacy protection – at prices that start at $12 per year.
- Getting a business email: The guide offers a free Google Workspace trial with a custom business email address.
- Building a website: The guide explains how to build a website for your business with easy website builders. Google Sites is free, while other options include Shopify, BigCommerce, WooCommerce and GoDaddy. (Read our Shopify review and our review of WooCommerce to learn more about these e-commerce platforms.)
- Showing up on Google: The guide helps you claim a free Google Business Profile that will appear when people search for your organization on Google search and Google Maps.
Small business owners can easily start using any of these tools to grow their businesses.
2. Google for Small Business’ specialized business guides
Retailers, product-based businesses and restaurants can dig into the in-depth guides for each business type, including guidance and advice tailored to their unique business needs.
- Retail business guide: Google for Small Business’ retail business guide offers information on making your business more visible on Google and setting up your website for e-commerce. It also introduces and explains Google Workspace tools, Google Analytics and Google Alerts. Finally, it addresses how to reach customers via digital marketing, social media, video and online ads.
- Service business guide: Google for Small Business’ service business guide offers information for service-based businesses on getting found on Google, conducting business online, using behind-the-scenes tools and connecting with customers.
- Restaurant guide: Google for Small Business’ restaurant guide covers the same topics – getting found, doing online business, using work-smarter tools, and engaging customers – with a restaurant focus.
Google Forms is a handy tool that allows businesses to create straightforward RSVP forms, complicated surveys and much more.
3. Google for Small Business video lesson library
Small business owners in any industry can get more support from the portal’s library of video lessons. Topics include the following, but there are many more video lessons on the site:
These helpful tips and practical lessons are invaluable resources for small business owners.
4. Google for Small Business crisis and disaster resources
Every business owner likely will have to manage a crisis and lead their team through a rough patch. To help business owners prepare, Google for Small Business includes guidance on preparing for natural disasters and managing a business during a natural disaster. It also includes updated guidance and policies for COVID-19.
- Preparing for natural disasters: Google’s guidance on preparing for natural disasters includes information on staying informed, being prepared, setting up small business insurance and creating a disaster-preparedness plan.
- Responding to natural disasters: Google’s guidance on responding to natural disasters includes information on assessing damages, communicating, exploring funding and moving forward.
- COVID-19: Google’s guidance on COVID-19 includes information on keeping customers informed, working remotely, reaching more customers and getting financial assistance.
More Google resources for startups
Google for Small Business includes many other resources, including Grow with Google initiatives aimed at supporting entrepreneurship worldwide. Here are some of the initiatives:
- Small business financial support: Google for Small Business periodically provides scholarships, funding, training and discounts for small businesses across the globe. For example, small businesses based in Germany, Spain and Ireland had the opportunity to apply for three months of Google Workspace free of charge, discounted new Chromebooks, and other financial support.
- Google for Startups: Google continues to invest its resources into historically underserved communities, as well as communities in crisis, around the world through Google for Startups. Measures include the following:
Investing in small businesses to help them grow
Google for Small Business has valuable tools for any small business that is looking to grow its online presence. The portal provides digital resources, tools and periodic funding opportunities to help small business owners and entrepreneurs not just survive, but thrive.