Tech: Cause or Cure for Work/Life Harmony?

Tech-and-work-life-harmonyIn the struggle to balance work and life, technology is often seen as a culprit for dissatisfaction. With our always-on, ever-connected lifestyles, it’s easy to see why tech gets a bad rap. Even when we’re at home trying to relax, it’s impossible to fully disconnect.

At the same time, there’s no doubt evolutions in technology have improved life for small businesses in the past few years. Here’s how tools you’re already using can help you achieve work/life harmony:

•  Set clear expectations with your schedule – and leave work at work. Create a group calendar to share with your employees and family that reserves time for specific activities— work-related and personal. This approach will allow you to be present in whatever you’re doing at the time, whether it’s answering customer emails or reading a bedtime story to your kids. You can also use your out-of-office responder when you’re on vacation so you can actually enjoy your time away.  (more…)

The Power of Going Mobile for Small Business

The_Power_of_Going_MobileHow often do you pick up your smartphone throughout the day? When you wake up; when you’re standing in line for your coffee; when you get a notification? According to a study by Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, the average person looks at their phone 150 times a day. With 57% of customers saying they would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site, the power of mobile for small businesses is undeniable. Here are a few tips to get started:

Put your website to the mobile test

If you’re not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly, we have you covered. This Google Webmaster test tells you if your website is mobile-friendly and shows how it looks on a mobile device. Once you have those results, use the Webmaster’s Mobile Guide where you’ll find ways to customize your website software or implement mobile SEO best practices.

Don’t neglect your mobile ads

Did you know that search interest in “near me” (aka things within a customer’s vicinity) have increased 34x since 2011? Not everyone who uses mobile is always searching directly for your product or service. That’s where mobile ads come in. If a customer is searching for a local hardware store, you can use mobile ads to make sure your store pops up where and when they need it. These ads can take many forms, including text, image or even within mobile apps. To make these especially mobile-friendly, you can also purchase call-only ads, which only show up on devices that can make phone calls.  (more…)

Celebrating National Women’s History Month

From the Google Small Business Community

We’re excited to take part in National Women’s History Month this March. The 2015 theme – “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives” – celebrates the impact that women-owned small businesses have on our culture and economy. Women have been a force in American business for generations, from Henrietta Johnston – the first professional American female artist in 1707 – to the eight million female business owners in the United States today.

Women continue to make a positive impact across many industries. Check out a few of our member spotlights on female small business owners including:

  • Pastabilities: An Italian restaurant in Syracuse, NY;
  • Red Chair Salon: A salon started by a hairstylist who grew from apprentice to owner in five years;
  • Jackalope Brewing: A brewery founded by two friends combining their passions; and
  • LSTN: A headphone company that pays it forward with every product it sells.

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Meet the Google Small Business Community

Google Small Business CommunityMore than half of Americans either own or work for a small business, and two out of three new jobs in the U.S. each year are created by small businesses*. The Google Small Business Community gives these small business owners and entrepreneurs a place to share what makes their businesses special, connect with other businesses and hear from experts.

Our team is committed to providing the best information about business and the web, including how to get your business online, finding and retaining customers and more.

Get Help from Experts and Each Other

Our ongoing trainings include tips from partners such as Twitter, MasterCard, Intuit, Mailchimp, Squarespace, and HostGator covering a range of topics relevant to small businesses. We even host partners live, giving our members direct access to industry leaders. For example, this past August we hosted Maria Contreras-Sweet, the leader of the U.S. Small Business Administration and voice of small business in President Obama’s Cabinet, who answered questions from our small business owners in real time. (more…)