Earlier this year we announced the eTowns across Australia whose small businesses are making best use of the web to attract customers and grow revenue. Today we crowned North Sydney as the region whose web-savvy small businesses are outpacing the others. At an event at North Sydney business FORM+DESIGN, we were joined by Treasurer Joe Hockey and North Sydney Council representative Martin Ellis to hear about the innovative things North Sydney businesses are doing to lead the pack and stand out from one of the world’s biggest CBD’s right on their doorstep. For example, 20 years ago FORM+DESIGN’s customers were limited to the fifty thousand residents who lived close enough to walk into their store. Now, using online marketing to reach people who are looking for homewares, their customers come from as far afield as Melbourne, Perth, New Caledonia, Germany and Sweden. Something we were particularly excited to share on during the day is that in 2014 Google is committed to training more that 2,000 people to become web experts; experts that can then reach approximately 250,000 small businesses to help them become web enabled and take their revenue to the next level. From Holdfast Bay in South Australia to Launceston in Tasmania, small businesses across the country are growing their business with online marketing and social media—with good reason. Simply put, the web is rocket fuel to small business. Research shows that those that make the most of the online tools are two times more likely to be growing revenue, and four times more likely to be hiring.Inspired by the example of North Sydney and FORM+DESIGN, we hope to see many more regions and small businesses across Australia realise the potential of the web to grow their business, create jobs, and contribute to Australia’s economy. Small businesses employ over five million people or almost half of Australia’s jobs, and generate a third of our economic activity, so the growth that the web can bring to these businesses is a big deal. Small businesses who are yet to take the web plunge can take the first step on their online journey by setting up their own free Google+ page to help connect with customers on Google Search, Maps, and Google+.
Posted by Richard Flanagan, Head of Small & Medium Business Marketing - Australia & NZ