What can’t Google conquer these days?
According to Google estimates, as many as 1.2 million businesses in Canada do not have a website because they see it as too costly, too complicated, not necessary, or all three.
The latter numbers come out of a recent Vision Critical/Angus Reid Public Opinion study that also revealed that 55 per cent of SMEs that currently have a website attribute between six and more than 30 per cent of their revenue to their online presence.
"Our online enquiries have increased tenfold and have enabled us to build our marketing profile substantially," said Stephanie Ling, the principal and administrator of Cornerstone Montessori Prep School, which re-established its website just over a year ago.
To help Canadian small businesses overcome the obstacles that are preventing them from getting online and fuelling Canada’s digital economy, Google is launching a new program called Canada Get Your Business Online that will provide free websites with a .ca domain, and free advice for businesses across Canada.
"Canada’s small business owners know the power of the Internet, because they use it every day as consumers; yet many are hesitant to create their own web presence," says Chris O’Neill, managing director of Google Canada. "These businesses are missing out on incredible opportunities that can help them realize significant profit growth."
According to Statistics Canada, more than 80 per cent of the Canadian population is online, and one in every five searches on Google has a local intent. Statistics Canada also reports there are approximately two million small businesses in Canada and based on a variety of market indicators, Google estimates that at least 1.2 million Canadian small businesses don’t have websites.
About 70 per cent of the SMEs polled in the Vision Critical / Angus Reid study that do not currently have a website say they are likely to consider establishing one if it is easy to do and free of charge. In addition, more than half of respondents (56 per cent) believe a website is an important marketing tool that can help a business realize significant growth, while 30 per cent say that at the very least a website will generate a slight improvement to a company’s bottom line.
"There are so many small business owners in Canada that are under the misperception that they can’t compete with larger companies; yet, the web allows them to do just that — it opens up new markets and levels the playing field so that everyone has equal opportunity in the virtual world," says O’Neill.
The Canada Get Your Business Online program is made possible by Google in partnership with RBC Royal Bank, Rogers, Canadian Internet Registration Authority, The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, The Globe and Mail, Yola, and Silver Lining Limited. To learn more about the Canada Get Your Business Online program, visit www.gybo.ca.