Google acts as doctor, therapist and now as management consultant as small business owners seek answers
- Small business owners make extensive use of the search engine to solve business problems
- “Does my startup need funding?”. This was a top Google autocomplete suggestion
- Other key questions concern the fine line between personal and private wealth
Why pay for business advice when you have Google? Small business owners apparently make extensive use of the search engine for answers to pressing business problems. A recent study by Access Commercial Finance looked at the most commonly-asked questions. The study is a revealing insight into the life of someone trying to run a business.
One of the most common questions - “Does my startup need funding?”. This was the top Google autocomplete suggestion for searches beginning with “does my startup...” It highlights the dilemma for many small business owners – do they borrow to grow, thereby taking all the risks and pressures associated with external funding? Or do they settle for more of a lifestyle business?
Matt Haycox, a consultant at the group said: “It’s a complicated question to answer for a number of reasons. If the business can’t grow without funding, for example you need larger premises, then your business may benefit from an unsecured business loan or bridging finance.
“But if you’re thinking of applying for funding to make up for missing revenue, pay staff or otherwise allow your business to function normally, you may want to consider cost-cutting rather than finance.”
Other key questions concern the fine line between personal and private wealth. ‘Can my business buy my house’. The answer to yes, but while business owners may see lots of tax advantages, it is unlikely to make long-term sense. Your home will become a company asset and will be at risk if anything happens to the business. You may also have to pay tax when you sell it because it will no longer be classified as your principle private residence.
Others seem to be using Google as therapy. ‘Can my startup succeed?’ is a common search, along with ‘Is my startup idea good?’ and ‘Is my startup failing?’. It’s not entirely clear how Google would have the answers to these questions, but running your own business is stressful, and the nights can be long.