E171: How the pandemic has changed small businesses with Yelp’s Gary Kagan

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Gary Kagan is the Regional Director of Partner Sales at Yelp. He has personal experience in selling directly to SMB, Mid-Market, and Enterprise businesses.

As the first rep on the ground, he helped build the Channel sales segment from $0 to what is now a meaningful revenue line for Yelp. He now oversees teams and works with product, customer success, and operations to assist partners in successfully selling and optimizing Yelp’s products.

Episode highlights:

  • Yelp’s view of how Covid has affected small businesses.
  • How small businesses pivoted, and how some specific niches were hit.
  • The difference between businesses that dropped marketing and businesses that doubled down on it.
  • How Yelp advertising and the partnership program work for businesses.
  • How you can combat negative reviews.
  • How hotels can leverage restaurants for exposure.
  • Best advice ever received: To listen and work to repeat it back.
  • Habit that contributes to success: Default to action.
  • Recommended tools: Audible
  • Recommended book: The hard thing about hard things by Ben Horowitz
  • Run time: 33:43



  • “I saw people pivot very quickly.”
  • “We’ve seen many partners change their business on a dime.”
  • “We’ve seen traffic bounce back….to pre-covid times.”
  • “The coasts are where we generally see a lot of traffic.”


  • An estimated 55% of businesses that closed from quarantine are permanently closed.
  • Businesses that work together can recommend each other on Yelp.