NYC to offer small businesses help in digital marketing and becoming technologically current
New York's embattled small businesses can get a boost with a free "technology tool kit" being offered by NYC in conjunction with digital giants such as Google, Mashable and Tumblr.
The new resources will include online "how to" guides as well as courses at NYC Business Solutions Centers throughout the five boroughs. Small business owners interested in signing up for free "digital boot camp" courses beginning in September in how to build a website, implement digital and mobile payment systems and learn the basics of e-commerce and search engine optimization can do so by calling 311 or going to NYC.gov.
The city initiative comes on the heels of a study done by The Center for an Urban Future showing that only 20% of small businesses are effectively capitalizing on technology.
"Lower income small businesses whose owners are in minority or immigrant communities are even farther behind," said Jonathan Bowles, executive director of The Center. They are struggling not only because they cannot pay the rents that major retailers and chains can ante up, but because they are outmatched by aggressive digital marketing, he added.
Many of the city's 7,500 bodegas fail to take advantage of technology aids such as point of sale inventory systems, which can save money, reduce waste and spoilage and keep the shelves stocked with items that people want, noted Bowles. Car services and other small businesses lose an untold number of customers by failing to have a web presence or knowing how people search online, or failing to take advantage of social media such as Yelp, he added. With the demise of the Yellow Pages, "90% of people looking for a business today use Google to do it," he added