A new Google-backed initiative has promised small businesses the opportunity to set up a company website in 15 minutes.
The site, Getting Aussie Business Online, is a joint initiative by Google and software specialists MYOB, with plans to sign up 50,000 businesses this year.
According to MYOB chief executive Tim Reed, there are three reasons stopping small businesses from establishing an online presence: fear of technology, time and cost.
“After looking at those three factors, we decided to introduce a system whereby any business owner can build a professional website in 15 minutes,” Reed says.
“The process very much mirrors the process of building a Facebook page – you essentially go through the process of answering a series of questions.”
Claire Hatton, Google head of local business, says certain industries completely overlook the opportunities available online.
“Every day in Australia, there are 12,000 Google searches for builders but fewer than one in four businesses in the construction and trade industry has a website,” she says.
According to Reed, local business searches are the largest search category used by Australia’s 14 million online consumers.
“There are five times more people searching the internet for accountants that Ricky Ponting… Consumers are out there searching, so businesses need to have a website and that website needs to be found,” he says.
“Australians use the internet to identify local businesses, research local businesses, and create a shortlist of the businesses they want to talk to.”
“Two thirds of Australian businesses are completely invisible to those 14 million Australian online consumers – that’s a massive gap and it’s a real challenge for the Australian economy.”
“In our last MYOB Business Monitor, we had a look at revenue growth rates. Of the businesses with a website, 25% more of them say revenues have grown in the past year and they believe revenues will continue to grow in the coming year, compared to businesses without a website.”
Reed doesn’t believe there is any sector that wouldn’t benefit from establishing or expanding its online presence.
“[For those businesses without websites], are they confident what they’ve got is working for them as hard as it possibly can? The business must be working for them while they’re sleeping,” he says.
Reed says in addition to providing businesses with an online presence for free, Getting Aussie Businesses Online ensures businesses are well represented in searches such as Google Maps and Google Search.