The following op-ed appeared on August 9, 2018 in the Cedar Rapids Gazette

By Lisa Shimkat, State Director, America’s Small Business Development Center – Iowa

Small business is the backbone of the American economy, yet many organizations lack the tools and resources to fully leverage the power of the internet to help their business grow and thrive.

A recent study by Deloitte found that more than 80 percent of small businesses surveyed are not taking advantage of online digital tools. The same report determined that:

  • Digital small businesses are nearly three times as likely to have created new jobs in the last year.
  • Digital small businesses are seeing four times higher revenue growth.
  • Digital small businesses are almost three times as likely to reach more customers via increased calls, leads and sales inquiries.
  • Digital small businesses are three times as likely to have exported a product or service.

For all these reasons and more, our organization has partnered once again with Google and the Iowa Secretary of State’s office at the Iowa State Fair to help Iowa businesses grow and succeed. The Secretary of State’s office is the first stop for an entrepreneur to file their paperwork and turn their small business dream into a reality, and Google has been a great small business partner in Iowa. Working together, we are a powerful team to get businesses started and moving forward in Iowa.

Our organization has partnered with Google on free workshops across the state to help small business owners learn how to not only get their business online so it can be found on the web, but also how to leverage other tools and resources to help it grow. Last year alone, 8,200 Iowa businesses and non-profits benefited from using Google’s online tools and resources. America’s SBDC Iowa helped businesses create 150-plus jobs every month as well as assisting our clients increase sales by more than $111 million last year alone.