While COVID-19 has obviously created many vexing new challenges for small businesses, there is also – maybe surprisingly – a lot of good that is coming out of this pandemic.
Yes, you heard me right.
For starters, many people and businesses are discovering new, creative ways of selling. Moreover, a lot of big businesses have stepped up to try and help struggling small businesses – making small business grants available for example.
And yet, while that is all well and good, it is also true (as they say) that giving a man a fish is not nearly as helpful as teaching a man to fish. So, when I learned about how one of my very favorite big businesses is making an unprecedented offer to help, well, teach small businesses how to fish online, I wanted to know more.
Get this: Until the end of the year, Yahoo Small Business is helping small businesses get online with a robust suite of tools and products called Get Online, and they are giving it all away free.
To me, Get Online solves two big problems stemming from the pandemic:
- First, as we all know, a lot of small businesses need to pivot right now, especially online. But one problem I have seen is that many entrepreneurs do not really know how to do this, what the steps are, etc. As you will see below, Get Online solves that problem.
- Second, a lot of people have been thrown out of work. Many of them want to start an online business, but don’t have the money or knowledge (or both) to do that. Get Online can help them too.
Yahoo Small Business recently let me dig into Get Online and I came away very impressed.
Here’s how it works: You sign up and immediately are taken to your Dashboard (you will see that Get Online is part of Yahoo Small Business’s bigger Business Maker product.) This intuitive dashboard starts to walk you through the getting online process. Yahoo Small Business recommends going in order and I agree. So, what you will find is this –
Domain name registration: Having the right domain name is critical, and whether it is TheNameOfYourBusiness.com or something else, getting a domain is where an online business begins, and so that’s where Yahoo Small Business starts too.
Custom business branded email with 5 email addresses: If you want to be taken seriously as a business, you simply must have an email address associated with your business name. Get Online gives you that.
A website builder package: This is the key. There are a few ways to create a business website: You could hire an expensive designer, or do it yourself, or pay some site builder site, or . . . you can do it for free with Get Online. With hundreds of templates and design tools, the site helps you create a beautiful, professional business website in short order.
Business Plan creator: Would a pilot ever get in a plane and fly from, say, New York to Miami without a flight plan? Of course not. The pilot needs to know what direction to head in, how much fuel will be needed, important markers along the way, and so forth.
Well, that’s what your business plan is. It is your “flight plan” for how you will get from here to where you want to go. The good news is that Get Online walks you through the business planning process in about 20 minutes. (It can even help you with documentation for any relief efforts you are eligible for.)
A Localworks Scan: This helps you see how your business appears in more than 70 search engines and local directories.
Storage: With this great offer, you also get 10 GB storage and unlimited bandwidth.
Get Online also has one last cool feature –
Expert help. Great businesspeople know what they don’t know and get help to fill in the gaps. Get Online has you covered here too. Not only is there a very good Small Business Resource Center, but you can also get live consultations with a small business expert.
So, does Get Online work? You bet.
Keri Rolland is the owner of Kasmn Beauty in Ridge, New York. Keri’s business is new and so COVID-19 hit it especially hard. What to do? Pivot online, that’s what. With Yahoo Small Business’s free Get Online offer, Keri was able to create and launch a beautiful website that showcased her 100% all-natural beauty products. Now, instead of just selling in her small town, Keri is selling her products more widely.
So yes, getting online works.
As Keri says, “The Yahoo Small Business Get Online offer was the perfect way for somebody like myself who is just starting a small business to gain exposure. This offer lifted me out of the struggle I was in, and my business is already flourishing because of my new website.”
So, what are you waiting for? It’s time to get online!
Steve Strauss is a senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible.