So you’re a business owner? Here’s the single most important thing you need to do for your company’s online PR

I spent last weekend in Wellington. My host (thanks, Penelope!) doesn’t drink coffee – and any established coffee drinker will know how urgent getting your fix can be on a Sunday morning. So as I opened up Google Maps and searched my area for ‘café’, I could almost smell the coffee wafting towards me.

Google Maps had the goods, of course. But the vast majority of cafés gave me no clue as to what time they open on a Sunday – if at all. I ended up going the distance to find a café that was definitely open, bypassing all the ones that didn’t list their opening hours.

In this day and age, you can’t afford to neglect this aspect of Google. You can forgo a website and not bother with social media (I don't recommend this, of course), but you’ve simply got to make sure your details are listed in search.

Thankfully, it’s actually super quick and easy to do. You don’t have to wait for the Google to come to you – you can go to the Google yourself.

So, here’s the number one tip I have for any business owner, particularly those in hospitality.

1.       Go to Google My Business and log in (you may need to create a Google account).

2.       Search for your business (or add your business if it’s not there already). Claim it and make sure your details are comprehensively filled out, including business hours.

3.       Verify your business claim (they’ll send you a verification code).

From there, you can share info, updates, links, photos and more.

Remember to monitor any reviews posted about you and respond to people ASAP if they post about a problem. It’s better to win someone over with a round of free coffees than to have the bad word-of-mouth marketing out there about you.

(And if you’re a restaurant, please, please upload your menu online!)