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Small Businesses

A 2006 survey conducted by Oklahoma Statue University's Bureau for Social Research indicates that 66 percent of urban small businesses in the state had a broadband Internet connection, compared to only 50 percent of rural small businesses. Thus, a distinct rural - urban gap exists for small businesses in the state, despite the fact that rural businesses stand to gain the most from using broadband technology.

This is similar to national-level data, where a 2010 survey found that there was an 9 percentage point gap difference in broadband use between urban and rural small businesses (Small Business Administration, 2010).

Need help getting your website started?
Let OSU Cooperative Extension Help!

Oklahoma State Cooperative Extension offers several courses on e-commerce targeted specifically for rural small businesses, including:

Workshop Description Length Computers Needed? Avg.# Attendees
Small Business Websites •Planning out your website
•Group exercise – mapping out a site
•Actually building a website using templates
•Basics of marketing your website
3 hours Yes 10-15
PayPal 101 •Implementing PayPal
•Actually installing PayPal on an example site
•Other PayPal tips & tricks
3 hours Yes 10-20
Ins and Outs of Online Storefronts •Getting started selling online
•Primer for Yahoo!, Amazon, eBay, Etsy stores
•Pros & cons of each option
•Marketing and promotion
3 hours Yes 10-20
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) •5 proven techniques for SEO
•Pay-per-click advertising
•Social media basics, including Facebook Ads
•Installing and using Google Analytics
3 hours Yes 10-15
Social Networking for Everyday People •Defining social networking
•An Introduction to “Web 2.0”
•Blogging / Tweeting / Facebook basics
30 minutes No 10-80

  • Introduction to e-commerce
  • Planning your web presence (options / costs / stages of development)
  • Marketing your site (search engine optimization / newsletters)
  • Getting people to buy once they arrive (site analysis / incentives)

These courses are typically “hands-on” in nature, and include all participants in learning more about e-commerce topics.Each class includes examples of successful small business using these topics right here in Oklahoma. For more information about these courses, contact your local county extension office (a list can be found here) http://countyext2.okstate.edu, or Dr. Brian Whitacre at brian.whitacre@okstate.edu (405) 744-9825.

Additionally, many technology centers throughout the state offer courses on web design. Find out the schedule for your local technology center by visiting their website here. or calling (405) 377-2000.

References:

Small Business Administration."The Impact of Broadband Speed and Price on Small Business" Report # 373, November 2010. Available here.