MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Seventy-five years ago, the Johnson family set down roots in the floral business. It’s shop along Grand Avenue in St. Paul grew steadily. When the Internet came along in the mid-1990s, it truly blossomed. The Johnson’s soon discovered the power of the Google search engine.

Far more than giving customers a way to search out his business, third generation owner, Tom Johnson explains, “it tells me where to spend my money, what’s working and what doesn’t work.”

Johnson and fellow small business entrepreneurs met the man on the other end, Google chairman, Erik Schmidt.

At a business roundtable organized by Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak, Schmidt told the entrepreneurs, “if your people are showing up happy and motivated, you will make more money.”

It was just one bit of advice the Google chairman passed along. Schmidt also told entrepreneurs, like Nick Lowrey, Google’s analytic and adword tools are key to understanding and reaching more customers.

“If we figure out a way to get more revenue by expanding their markets, even by a small amount, that’s another job, then the multiplier plays in,” said Schmidt.

Lowrey started his Brand Ink graphics company just a year-and-a-half ago. Already, close to half of all customers find Brand Ink by searching out “car wraps” on Google.

“I can be right up with the biggest companies and kind of level the playing field. To be able to do that, especially on a short-term when I need customers now, is really fundamentally important to stay in business,” said Lowrey.

The bottom line to Schmidt’s message to entrepreneurs is that whether selling roses or wraps, the Internet has allowed them the ability to tap customers from a world wide web away.


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