Tag Archives: small business

A father-son team uses technology to grow a 144-year-old business

Founded in 1875, Merz Apothecary is considered a Chicago landmark. For five generations, the pharmacy has been home to a collection of unique, hard-to-find goods from all over the world. Abdul Qaiyum bought the business in 1972, managing to grow the business during a time when most independent pharmacies were giving way to large chain drug stores. Abdul’s three sons worked there growing up and today, Merz Apothecary is run by Abdul and his son, Anthony. “We’re not your traditional pharmacy,” says Anthony. “We carry everything from natural remedies to grooming products to home fragrances.”


One of the secrets to their continued success? Quickly embracing the power of technology. They turned to the internet while it was still in its early days, taking their first online order in 1997 and starting an e-commerce site, smallflower.com, in 1998. In 2001 they started using Google Ads to reach customers searching for their specialty products and their business began to double. They now have 60 employees and the web continues to play a critical role in their business. A YouTube channel has expanded their reach—videos sharing fun and informative product reviews have garnered over 1.5 million views. “I view the web as a way that we can deliver what we do, to everybody,” says Anthony. “Everyone is going online searching for information all the time. Google is the place where most of that gets done, so I want to be there and I want to be seen.”
Merz Apothecary

Abdul & Anthony in 1973 and in 2018


Check out their video to learn more about how this father-son duo continues to grow a business and preserve an American landmark.

Sharing Hawaiian food and tradition with generations to come

Highway Inn is an Oahu-based restaurant founded by Hawaii-born Japanese-American Seiichi Toguchi. At the start of World War II, Seiichi was taken from his home to an internment camp in California and assigned to work in the mess halls. There, Japanese-American chefs from around the country taught him how to cook, eventually inspiring him to open Highway Inn to share the foods he loved growing up. Seiichi passed the restaurant down to his son Bobby Toguchi, who has since passed it to his daughter, Monica Toguchi Ryan. Their family has been proudly serving authentic Hawaiian food for over 70 years.


As the third generation owner, Monica was determined to not just honor her family traditions and legacy, but also to share with younger generations the kinds of food that keep them connected to Hawaiian and local food culture. When her grandfather started the restaurant, he relied on word of mouth to reach new customers. Now, Monica uses Google Ads and their Business Profile on Google to connect with customers, helping them to grow from one location to three across Oahu. She and her family hope to continue preserving the beauty and tradition of Hawaiian food for generations to come.


This Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we're telling this and other stories, like Kruti Dance Academy from Atlanta, Georgia. They are two of the many Asian American and Pacific Islander-owned small businesses having an impact on their local communities.

.App: bringing more people online securely

Posted by Ben Fried, VP, CIO, & Chief Domains Enthusiast

Celebrating 100 of our favorite .app websites. See the list here.

A year ago, we launched .app, the first open top-level domain (TLD) with built-in security through HSTS preloading. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have registered .app domains, and we want to take a moment to celebrate them.

People are making more websites and apps than ever before. A recent survey we conducted with The Harris Poll found that nearly half (48%) of U.S. respondents plan to create a website in the near future. And a lot of people, especially students, are already building on the web. Over a third (34%) of 16-24 year olds who’ve already created a website did so for a class project.

Having a meaningful domain name helps students turn their projects into reality. Take Ludwik Trammer, creator of shrew.app, who said: “The site started as a project for my graduate Educational Technology class at Georgia Tech. Getting the perfect domain gave me the initial push to turn it into the real deal (instead of making a prototype, publishing a scientific paper on it, and forgetting it).”

Helping creators launch their sites securely

With so many new creators, it’s essential that everyone does their part to make the internet safer. That’s why Google Registry designed .app to be secure by default, meaning every website on .app requires a HTTPS connection to ensure a secure connection to the internet.

HTTPS helps keep you and your website visitors safe from bad actors, who may exploit connections that aren’t secure by:

  • intercepting or altering the site’s content
  • misdirecting traffic
  • spying on open Wi-Fi networks
  • injecting ad malware or tracking


“As a social application, data protection is paramount. As cyber attacks increase, the security benefits a .app domain brings was a key factor for us. We also believe that a .app domain is significantly more descriptive than a .com domain, meaning users can find us more easily! All in all it was a no brainer for us switching to .app.”

-Daneh Westropp, Founder, pickle.app


There's still work to be done. One out of two people don’t know the difference between HTTP and HTTPS. Many major browsers (like Chrome) warn users in the URL bar when content is "not secure," but there’s every website creator still has a shared responsibility to keep their users safe.

.App is year in, and we’re happy to see so many people using it to build secure websites and connect with the world. You can read more stories from .app owners here and get your own .app name at get.app. If you’re one of the millions of people planning to build a website, we hope you’ll join us in making the internet safer and take the steps to securely launch your website.

Helping businesses grow across all 50 U.S. states

Small businesses play a vital role in American life. From the restaurants that serve as places to gather over a meal, to the bookshops and hardware stores that treat customers like family and sponsor local soccer teams, small businesses are the backbone of our communities.

So I’m really proud of the work Google does to help local businesses across the United States use the power of the web to grow and thrive. Our U.S. Economic Impact Report, released today, shows that in 2018, our Search and Advertising tools helped create $335 billion in economic activity for millions of businesses, website publishers, and nonprofits across the country—up from $283 billion in 2017. Each month, we drive over 1 billion connections for businesses nationwide, like phone calls or online reservations. We’re also connecting businesses with customers overseas: in fact, in 2018 more than 35 percent of clicks for U.S. business advertising on Google came from places outside the U.S.

We’re also working with business owners in their own hometowns through Grow with Google, our initiative to create economic opportunity for everyone. Since 2017, Googlers have traveled to more than 50 cities around the country, training over 3 million Americans in digital skills to help them prepare for work, find jobs and grow their businesses. Digital skills are a must-have in today’s economy, and our goal is to ensure that every business owner has the skills they need to succeed.

One of those business owners is Sara Irvani, who runs Okabashi, an American footwear company her family founded after arriving to the U.S. during the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Okabashi is located in Buford, Georgia, a small town that was once a major American shoemaking hub. While other American shoe manufacturers have moved their operations abroad, Sara is committed to keeping her business in Buford and bringing economic opportunity to her hometown and her 200 employees.

To make this possible, Sara has made a big investment in bolstering the company’s digital presence. It’s a smart decision—data shows that small businesses that use advanced digital tools, such as online advertising and data analytics, experienced revenue growth in the previous year that was nearly four times as high. In Sara’s case, she uses Google Analytics to better understand the kind of shoe designs her customers are most excited about, and those insights help her team design new products that keep people coming back to purchase Okabashi shoes. She’s also able to reach customers—both here and abroad—by using Google Ads. Now, 64 percent of the company’s online sales come in through the platform. To date, her company has sold 35 million pairs of shoes to customers in 11 countries.

Some of my other favorite stories from the 2018 report include how Google employees have  helped Amini’s, a specialty furniture store in St. Louis build a new website and a robust e-commerce strategy. In rural New Hampshire, Fuller’s Sugarhouse was able to share its maple syrup with customers in Switzerland, France, Australia, Brazil and Mexico. We’ve also helped many veteran-owned businesses, nonprofits, and digital businesses to make Google products and programs work for them.

While the U.S. Economic Impact Report only focuses on activity in the U.S., we’re working with partners to expand economic opportunity all over the world. Last week we announced that Grow with Google has helped to train more than 10 million with digital skills in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, and earlier this year, we released a report detailing our impact in Brazil, with more reports to come in other countries later this year.

Supporting the success of businesses, partners, and communities is an important part of our overall vision of building a more helpful Google for everyone. To learn more about how Google can help businesses, go to google.com/economicimpact.

How a small business shares Indian culture, one dancer at a time

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, a month-long celebration of the achievements and contributions of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. We’re highlighting Asian and Pacific Islander-owned small businesses and the important role they play in sharing their cultures and impacting local communities.


These are businesses like Kruti Dance Academy, in Atlanta, Georgia. Its founder, Dina Sheth, is a former microbiologist and trained classical Indian dancer. She wanted her daughter, Shemoni, to know the beauty of their culture, so she started teaching her dance in the basement of their home. As other parents in the community learned what Dina was doing, her classes started to grow, and Kruti Dance Academy officially came to life in 1995. What started as a basement class with four students is now a 9,000-square-foot facility with hundreds of dancers, and Shemoni is Kruti’s Artistic Director.


With the help of digital tools, they continue to expand Kruti Dance Academy’s reach. For example, YouTube has allowed them to connect with people across the world: their channel has over 27,000 subscribers and eight million views. Closer to home, the photos and reviews on their Business Profile on Google provide a way for those unfamiliar with Indian dance to catch a glimpse of what Kruti Dance Academy is all about.


Dina and Shemoni have received wide acclaim for their commitment to the advancement of the arts and their community. Watch this video to learn more about how Kruti Dance Academy is sharing the richness of Indian culture and heritage through dance in their community and around the world.

Building a safer internet, one secure domain at a time

Do you lock your doors when you're not home or when you’re sleeping at night? Your home protects everything and everyone that lies within it—whether that’s your family, pets or belongings—and a door is the most direct way for a criminal to access your home. Locking your door is the simplest thing you can do to keep safe. Similarly, when you’re browsing the web, there’s one key thing that helps keep you and your information safe and “locked” up.


HTTPS is a certificate that works just like the lock on your front door at home. By “locking” your connection to a website, it helps prevent interception or alteration of content on the site you’re visiting. We want every website to have a lock on it. That’s why Google Registry created safe.page: so you can understand the most direct steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe while browsing the internet.

Visit safe.page to learn how to read a URL (to avoid phishing attacks) and the importance of a secure connection (especially when sharing sensitive info like credit cards and passwords).

Build safely, get rewarded

That’s not all we’re doing to support HTTPS. We're also teaming up with WordPress to make it easy for anyone to build a secure website. They make building secure websites a snap by automatically installing SSL certificates at no cost for domains they host. If HTTPS is locking your online information safely, an SSL certificate acts like the actual lock on the door.


If you’ve been thinking of building a website, now’s a good time to get started: We're running a contest for the best sites created through April 30, 2019. Nine winners will be selected based on their website’s user experience, user interface, originality, design and content clarity. Winners will receive a Pixel 3 phone or equivalent prize and the opportunity to be featured on one of Google Registry's websites (get.page, get.app and get.dev). Entering the competition is simple:

  1. Register your .page, .app or .dev domain. All three extensions are secure by default (registered domains only work with an SSL certificate). You can register your domain through your preferred registrar.
  2. Build your website. You can get started building your site on WordPress.com and save 25 percent using the promo code SAFE_A24F at checkout. (The offer is valid until April 30, 2019.) Websites created in other ways on .app, .page and .dev are also eligible for the contest.
  3. Learn more about the contest rules here, including eligibility restrictions, prize details and entry deadlines. Submit your website to the contest at safe.page.

That’s it! Regardless of whether you create your own secure website, we encourage everyone to visit safe.page to learn the fundamentals of keeping your information safe. Good luck and thanks for doing your part to build a safer internet!

How to use the new Offers view on your Business Profile

From discounts to deals, everyone loves a good offer. Whether they’re shopping at a favorite clothing boutique or trying a local coffee shop for the first time, an offer can attract people to businesses. To help people find these promotions, we’re making offers more prominent on Business Profiles on Google. The new layout introduces a dedicated space for business owners to feature their most recent offers—making a quick decision for their potential customers even easier.

offerscarousel

For businesses, adding an offer is easy. When creating a post in the Google My Business App, you’ll see an option to categorize it as an offer. From there, you can tailor the details to your specific needs. An offer can include a description of the promotion, a coupon code or any terms and conditions useful to your audience. You can surface up to 10 unique offers in the carousel, providing a list of choices.

offerspost

With this update, we want to make it easier for people to make decisions about where they want to go and simpler for businesses to attract customers. Sign up for Google My Business on the web or download the app on Google Play or the App Store.

How my passion for ice cream became “More Than A Business”

Editor’s Note: This Friday, March 8 is International Women’s Day. We’re commemorating the day early by hearing from Natasha Case, Founder & CEO Of Coolhaus from Los Angeles, California. She’s sharing her story of how her business idea grew from one Google Search to a product that’s sold in thousands of stores across the U.S. Check out the stories of other women around the world who have built #MoreThanABusiness here.

Ice cream has always been a lifelong passion of mine, and when I went to architecture school, I thought I could use food to make architecture more fun. I knew I was onto something when my friends were devouring my crazy ice cream concoctions—ginger cookies and chocolate wasabi ice cream, anyone? My partner, Freya Estreller, and I decided to do a Google search ("hipster ice cream truck") to see if anything like my ice cream experiments was already out there. Nothing popped up. After we did that search, we saw an opportunity to take a leap of faith and turn my hobby into an actual business. In 2008, we converted an old postal truck into an ice cream truck, brought it to a music festival—and Coolhaus was born.

Coolhaus now distributes to over 7,500 grocery stores, has three storefronts and operates 10 mobile ice cream trucks and carts in Los Angeles, New York and Dallas. It’s been a rewarding, challenging and delicious journey. Along the way, people have asked us countless questions about how we built and expanded our business. For us, the answer has always been following the guidance of mentors and partners. You can learn from other female entrepreneurs, whether they're further along in their business journey or just getting started. It's common—almost natural—for us to overthink or feel as if we have to prove something before we ask for a mentor or partner. Have the courage to ask; the worst will be a "no," but the upside is so much greater than that.

Now that we have more than 10 years of experience, we’re passionate about being on the other side as mentors to other female entrepreneurs. Here are some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way:

  1. Fail forward. You're going to fail, so make the most out of how you do that. When you need to cut cords on an idea, do it with efficiency and don't drag it along.
  2. We talk a lot about minimum viable product—meaning that sometimes, an idea just needs to get put out there to see how it will do. Focus on building, measuring and learning.
  3. Inexperience is not an obstacle. When you realize the status quo are not hard truths, you start to take risks that you didn't realize you were taking.

We’re thriving in an important moment of time where there’s a real energy of women helping and supporting each other. We’re proud not only of the business we’ve built, but also of the opportunity to lead by example. We want other women to take their crazy ideas from a Google search to an actual business, too.

Hello, .dev!

Posted by Ben Fried, VP, CIO, & Chief Domains Enthusiast

Developers, designers, writers and architects: you built the web. You make it possible for the billions of people online today to do what they do. Have you ever tried to register your preferred domain name, only to find out it's not available? Today, Google Registry is announcing .dev, a brand new top-level domain (TLD) that's dedicated to developers and technology. We hope .dev will be a new home for you to build your communities, learn the latest tech and showcase your projects—all with a perfect domain name.

Check out what some companies, both big and small, are doing on .dev:

  • Want to build a website? Both GitHub.dev and grow.dev have you covered.
  • Trying to create more inclusive products? Visit accessibility.dev for digital accessibility solutions.
  • Learn about Slack's helpful tools, libraries, and SDKs at slack.dev.
  • Connect with Women Who Code at women.dev.
  • Who doesn't want to do more with their time? Jetbrains.dev offers software solutions that make developers more productive.
  • Want to brush up on your skills (or learn new ones)? Check out Codecademy.dev.
  • Learn how to build apps on the Salesforce platform at crm.dev.
  • Interested in learning how to increase the agility and productivity of your data team? Visit dataops.dev.
  • Want to build & deploy serverless apps on a global cloud network? You can do that with Cloudflare at workers.dev.
  • Get a sneak peek of what's running under the hood of the Niantic Real World Platform at ar.dev.

Like our recent launches for .app and .page, this new domain will be secure by default because it requires HTTPS to connect to all .dev websites. This protects people who visit your site against ad malware and tracking injection by internet service providers, and from spying when using open WiFi networks. With every .dev website that's launched, you help move the web to an HTTPS-everywhere future.

Starting today at 8:00 a.m. PT and through February 28, .dev domains are available to register as part of our Early Access Program, where you can secure your desired domains for an additional fee. The fee decreases according to a daily schedule. Beginning on February 28, .dev domains will be available at a base annual price through your registrar of choice. To find out pricing from our participating partners, visit get.dev.

Google has already started using .dev for some of our own projects, like web.dev and opensource.dev. Visit get.dev to see what companies like Mozilla, Netflix, Glitch, Stripe, JetBrains and more are doing on .dev and get your own domain through one of our registrar partners. We look forward to seeing what you create on .dev!

Hello, .dev!

Developers, designers, writers and architects: you built the web. You make it possible for the billions of people online today to do what they do. Have you ever tried to register your preferred domain name, only to find out it's not available? Today, Google Registry is announcing .dev, a brand new top-level domain (TLD) that's dedicated to developers and technology. We hope .dev will be a new home for you to build your communities, learn the latest tech and showcase your projects—all with a perfect domain name.

Check out what some companies, both big and small, are doing on .dev:

  • Want to build a website? Both GitHub.dev and grow.dev have you covered.
  • Trying to create more inclusive products? Visit accessibility.dev for digital accessibility solutions.
  • Learn about Slack’s helpful tools, libraries, and SDKs at slack.dev.
  • Connect with Women Who Code at women.dev.
  • Who doesn’t want to do more with their time? Jetbrains.dev offers software solutions that make developers more productive.
  • Want to brush up on your skills (or learn new ones)? Check out Codecademy.dev.
  • Learn how to build apps on the Salesforce platform at crm.dev.
  • Interested in learning how to increase the agility and productivity of your data team? Visit dataops.dev.
  • Want to build & deploy serverless apps on a global cloud network? You can do that with Cloudflare at workers.dev.
  • Get a sneak peek of what’s running under the hood of the Niantic Real World Platform at ar.dev.

Like our recent launches for .app and .page, this new domain will be secure by default because it requires HTTPS to connect to all .dev websites. This protects people who visit your site against ad malware and tracking injection by internet service providers, and from spying when using open WiFi networks. With every .dev website that’s launched, you help move the web to an HTTPS-everywhere future.

Starting today at 8:00 a.m. PT and through February 28, .dev domains are available to register as part of our Early Access Program, where you can secure your desired domains for an additional fee. The fee decreases according to a daily schedule. Beginning on February 28, .dev domains will be available at a base annual price through your registrar of choice. To find out pricing from our participating partners, visit get.dev.

Google has already started using .dev for some of our own projects, like web.dev and opensource.dev. Visit get.dev to see what companies like Mozilla, Netflix, Glitch, Stripe, JetBrains and more are doing on .dev and get your own domain through one of our registrar partners. We look forward to seeing what you create on .dev!