Meeting of the Minds: Yelp’s 2013 Business Owner Summit

Four years ago, we brought a group of thoughtful business owners together to brainstorm ways that Yelp could continue to improve our features and policies that directly impact local businesses. Fast forward to today and Yelp’s Small Business Advisory Council (YSBAC) consists of 26 active members, representing local businesses in five countries including the US, Canada, Australia, Ireland and the UK.

Earlier this month, YSBAC members traveled from around the world to attend our yearly summit at Yelp HQ in San Francisco. During the event, new members and a handful of returning YSBAC veterans met with Yelp’s CEO and co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman, COO Geoff Donaker and other company leaders to discuss a wide range of topics. The main goals of the summit are to provide council members with a better understanding of how Yelp works, how decisions are made within the company and to generate new ideas for Yelp’s executive team to consider.

According to first-year council member, Jonah Holland of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, “I felt that as a representative of a non-profit attraction, I could offer Yelp a different perspective than many of the other small business owners.” Meanwhile, David Potwin of Lettuce B. Frank said, “the questions raised and ideas shared during our lunch with Jeremy were the most informative and useful of the day.”

In case you’re wondering what sort of impact the YSBAC has had over the years, here are some examples of improvements we’ve made with their help:

  • Yelp Metrics were launched to help business owners track customer leads

  • Business owner review comments are now visible on mobile

  • We developed a free Revenue Estimate tool to calculate the value of leads from Yelp

  • Yelp hosted 40 workshops for business owners in cities across the US and Canada with more on the way for our international audience

  • The activity feed was created to track when and how Yelp drives customers to businesses

  • More performance based advertising options were rolled out

At the end of this year’s summit, the group put their heads together to generate a healthy list of new ideas and action items. Be sure to check out our Blog for Business Owners to stay updated on any new products or features we launch with the help of their feedback.