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SBA and Google Help CA Small Business Owners Create Jobs

May 10, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - California small business owners now have a new tool in their toolbox, and it's a freebie. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has teamed up with Google to help businesses tap into creativity on the web, and take advantage of free web-based marketing, with a new "Tools for Online Success" program. The idea is to help small businesses use new technology to become more successful, which in turn is expected to create more jobs.

John Hanke, vice president of product management with Google, says a web presence should be part of a basic business plan.

"It's just like a business card or a sign or a storefront; people are going to form an opinion about how you look online. And so we just want people to understand that and take advantage of the free resources to put the best foot forward."

One of the free services is a Google Places listing through Google Maps. Hanke says this will allow a business to list hours of operation, location and contact information.

Mandy Scott, owner of Mandy Scott Flowers in San Francisco, says the online world helps stretch her small advertising budget.

"Certainly that helps during this recessionary period when, you know, a lot of traditional marketing and advertising routes have remained pretty pricey but without any real response rate."

Scott says she appreciates the new investment in small businesses from the SBA.

"They're making themselves more open to small businesses because they see that we're the lifeblood of the country. You know, I think when you look at how many people we employ and keep employed, they've really had to."

The toolkit also teaches business owners how to load their sites with key words, so that they show up in the most search listings.

For more information on the "Tools for Online Success" program go to www.sba.gov

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA