Skip to main content
The Keyword

Small Business

How 4 small businesses are using Google tools to succeed

A close-up photo of hands working with various pieces of colorful fabrics. A tag on one piece of fabric reads "Noho Home."

In 2023, businesses using Google products and services drove $739 billion in economic activity in the U.S. Creators grew and monetized their followings on YouTube; developers worked more efficiently thanks to our AI-powered coding tools; and mom-and-pop shops crafted menus and marketing materials with Gemini.

Our recently released Economic Impact Report spotlights entrepreneurs using Google to succeed in all 50 U.S. states (as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.). To celebrate National Small Business Week, we’re sharing four of their stories below.

Elk City Auto Spa – Charleston, West Virginia

C. Anthony Parker knows cars. He started his first dealership at age 19 and sold vehicles for nearly two decades before expanding into body and mechanical work, ultimately focusing on detailing. In 2019, he founded Elk City Auto Spa to keep the cars in his hometown of Charleston looking sharp — today, he and his seven employees serve 1,500 customers a year.

“We spend around nine hours transforming a filthy vehicle into a showroom-quality vehicle inside and out,” he says.

Photo of a man wearing a blue polo shirt and blue baseball cap and glasses using a large sponge to clean the windshield of a car.

C. Anthony takes pride in taking his clients’ cars to “showroom-quality.”

More than 80% of customers find Elk City Auto Spa through their Google Business Profile, where the team showcases their skills, photos of their work and their clients’ experiences — and revenue is up 300% since they launched on the platform. When potential customers see over 300 five-star reviews, they “know that they’ve found the best,” C. Anthony says.

Elk City Auto Spa also uses Google Workspace tools like Slides and Sheets for business presentations and customer invoices. Now, as they prepare to add a traveling detailing service and hire more technicians, they’re looking into Google's AI tools to process customer inquiries even faster. “Charleston is a small city with a big heart,” C. Anthony says. “Being a cornerstone business that people here can count on means everything.”

Traditionally Modern Food – Bothell, Washington

Vidya Srinivasan left a corporate IT job in 2014 to turn her passion for Indian cooking into the blog Traditionally Modern Food. “Some of the recipes I share on the blog have been in the family for generations,” Vidya says.

A woman wearing traditional Indian clothing cooking in a kitchen. A tripod and ring light are positioned to spotlight her hands while they cook over a pan.

Vidya posts full videos of her recipes on her YouTube channel, and embeds Shorts in her blog to help people follow along.

To keep her content free, Vidya uses Google AdSense and Ad Manager to earn income from the blog and her YouTube channel, which has 42,000 subscribers. Interest tracking with Google Analytics has helped her grow her blog traffic by up to 15% each year. “I can see which posts get the most engagement, which helps me understand the recipes people are looking for," she says.

Vidya deepens those new relationships with an email newsletter and personal emails, written with help from Gmail features like Smart Compose and Smart Reply. She’s now considering using Gemini to fine-tune her content and improve SEO.

“The biggest happiness for any food blogger is seeing people trying the recipes and sharing positive comments,” Vidya says. “That’s the best feedback you can get.”

Speeko - Chicago, Illinois

Nico Aguilar struggled with public speaking for years until coaching gave him the techniques and confidence to overcome his anxiety. Knowing not everyone can find or afford that kind of help, he co-founded AI speech coaching app Speeko in 2018. It analyzes a user’s speech and provides tailored exercises to help with pacing, tone, filler words and more, and helps people adjust speech in real time with features like nudges to “slow down.”

Two people standing in an office. They are both looking at a large screen showing different software elements. One of them is standing closer to the screen and pointing at the top of it.

Google’s tools help his company scale, says Nico Aguilar (left) with Speeko co-founder Anthony Pham.

The team uses Google Workspace to collaborate and stay organized, and Google Ads to drive traffic to Speeko’s website — clicks grew from 80 to 80,000 per month in 2023. “[Ads is] easy to use for small businesses who are just getting started on the platform and don’t have a lot of expertise setting up ad campaigns,” says Nico, a 2023 recipient of the Google for Startups Founders Funds. Today, Speeko has more than 300,000 registered users.

More recently, Gemini helped the team create and update the over 400 exercises in their coaching library. “It allows us to have a lot more impact,” Nico says. “I’ve seen how the way you speak matters and can change your professional trajectory. Our mission is to help people from all backgrounds never be afraid to speak up.”

NOHO HOME by Jalene Kanani – Oahu, Hawaii

Native Hawaiian artist and textile designer Jalene Kanani wanted to highlight a sophisticated side of her culture’s aesthetic. She launched NOHO HOME by Jalene Kanani in 2018 to offer decor and luxury home products that authentically reflect Hawaii’s history and culture. “In the Hawaiian language, ‘noho’ means ‘to be, to dwell, or to come from,’” she says.

Jalene designs all of the brand’s products and produces many of them in a small-batch micro-factory in Hawaii; today they’re carried by major department stores.

Two women standing over a large drafting table. They are smiling at one another and appear to be discussing something. There is a graphic print on the table they are looking at.

Jalene (right) says that Google Ads has meant she no longer has to rely only on social media and organic growth.

After years of growing by word of mouth, the 10-person company invested in Google Ads in 2022 — which led to a 200% increase in website traffic and a 50% rise in revenue. “Thanks to our Performance Max campaigns, we doubled our business from the continent in 2023,” Jalene says. “We’re able to reach people who are actively searching on keywords like ‘coastal home decor.’”

More recently, the marketing team also reduced time spent writing content by 40% using Gemini, meaning they could use that time to accelerate additional projects. “We have a very strong voice,” says Jalene. “We take what Gemini generates and add our Indigenous knowledge to spark meaningful conversations.”

Let’s stay in touch. Get the latest news from Google in your inbox.