If you go to the YouTube homepage today, you will see the winners of the "My Business Story" contest that was announced by Google and American Express back on Oct. 25, 2011. The 32 small businesses featured in today's YouTube homepage ad will be seen by an estimated 22 million people in the United States.
The My Business Story program helped these small business owners make a professional-quality video just in time for tomorrow's "Small Business Saturday," which was created to encourage holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. First celebrated in 2010, Small Business Saturday is sandwiched between Black Friday, which is celebrated by big retail stores, and Cyber Monday, which features major e-commerce sites.
The small businesses featured in today's homepage ad come from 11 regions around the country.
In the Mid-Atlantic, the winners were: Oyato Fashion, Panda's Karate of Derwood, MD, and The Original Runner Company.
In Florida, the winners were: La Campagna, Pet Tree Houses of Sanford, FL, and Global Crafts / Gifts with Humanity.
In the Midwest, the winners were: Urban Wood Goods and Double J. Coffee & Cream of Coloma, WI.
In the South, the winners were: WristbandConnection.com of Houston, TX, VOS in San Antonio, TX, and Bayou Hot Wings of New Orleans, LA.
In the Southwest, the winners were: Fizz Bath Shop of Flagstaff, AZ, The Urban Commuter of Tempe, AZ, and Pet Pangea LLC of Los Alamos, NM.
In the West, the winners were: Guitar Playback, Colorado Rock-n-Logs, Inc. of Colorado Springs, CO, and Bokeh Booth of Denver, CO.
In California, the winners were: Koolfog, HeadBlade, Inc. of Culver City, CA, and Starfish Therapies.
And in the Northwest, the winners were: Lizzy's Fresh Coffee of Ketchum, ID, Freedom Snacks of Renton, WA, and Chel'mel Salon of Tacoma, WA.
Now, if you didn't enter the contest in time to be featured in the YouTube homepage ad, then don't kick yourself too hard. The new video tool that YouTube launched in support of the "My Business Story" program is still available. It's free and fairly easy to use.
All you need to do is shoot some video and photos. Then, upload them into the YouTube Business Story tool. It will even help you with your script. Finally, choose from the free selection of graphic styles and music. And presto chango! You'll have a professional-quality video to share with anyone online.
You can also create a customized Page for your business by going to Small Business Saturday on Facebook and get other tools to make the most of the day at SmallBusinessSaturday.com.
Yes, yes, you missed the "My Business Story" contest, but you've got almost a month left before Christmas. And you don't want to miss out on the busiest shopping season of the year.