Owning and running a small or medium sized business is hard. I’ve been there. When you run your own business, the focus is on product, orders, sales, licenses, rent, staffing, and other issues large and small. Building a website seems like a daunting task that all too often is delayed. In fact, a majority of small businesses do not have a web site. But, businesses need to be where their customers are, and today, they are online.
Recently, Mesa partnered with the Mesa Chamber of Commerce and Google to bring “Get Your Business Online” to Mesa. With this program, small businesses can get a website quick and easy, and best of all: it’s free! Just exactly what a busy small business owner is looking for.
When I first spoke to Google about the program at a US Conference of Mayors meeting, I was surprised to learn that nearly 60 percent of small businesses are not online, and it’s limiting their ability to grow and succeed. All the while, 97 percent of Internet users now look online to find local products and services. Small businesses that do have a presence on the web are expected to grow 40 percent faster and are twice as likely to create jobs than those who don’t. Partnering with Google on a website is also a no-brainer. Who better to design a web page for your business?
Mesa businesses that sign up for the free program will receive a website with fully customizable pages, access to educational resources, a custom domain name, web hosting for one year and business listings on Google search, Google+ and Google Maps. There is no charge for any of the features for the first year, and business owners will have the option to continue using the website after the first year for less than $10 a month.
We at the City of Mesa are pleased to have two great partners in this endeavor. Joining with Google and the Mesa Chamber of Commerce to bring Get Your Business Online to Mesa is an example of how the public and private sectors can work together to improve a community. It is a win for everyone when local businesses can attract new customers and expand their business.
As mayor, I have learned firsthand how much the overall success of a city is directly connected to the long-term economic strength of the businesses within that city. And now, companies such as Google are recognizing that cities are the new centers of innovation, commerce and job creation; and, they are investing in Mesa!
Get Your Business Online is another StartUp Mesa tool that local businesses can use to get started or to grow. If you’re a small business owner who wants to grow, but who doesn’t yet have a website, check out Google’s Get Your Business Online at StartUpMesa.org.
• Scott Smith was first elected Mayor of Mesa, Arizona’s third largest city and and the 38th largest in America, in 2008. He was re-elected (unopposed) to a second term in 2012, and was sworn in as President of the United States Conference of Mayors in June 2013.