4 Reasons Google Apps Is An Essential Tool For Your Micro Business

Getting Started with Google AppsAre you familiar with Google Apps?

Google Apps is a collection of Google products. Together they offer functionality similar to traditional office suites all tied together under your own domain name.

You get:

  • Gmail
  • Google Calendar
  • Google Drive
  • Google Sites… and more

And it’s free for up to 10 users!

Here are the top 4 reasons Google Apps will help your business –

1. Get email addresses with your own domain name

What impression does using a @yahoo.com or @btinternet.com give to your potential clients when they’re looking for a new supplier?

That:

  • You’re doing this part-time as a hobby
  • You’re new to business
  • You might not be still in business in a years time
  • You’re a one person business or
  • You’re a ‘fly by night’ operation.

Some or all of the above may be true (though hopefully not the last), however none of these impressions are likely to make potential new clients buy from you.

Google Apps makes it really easy to get email addresses with @yourdomain.co.uk.

They also allow you to have up to 10 email accounts all for free. In addition, if you’ve already started using a @yahoo or @btinternet email address for your business, you can route emails that people send to these email addresses to your new Google Apps email account.

2. Work from anywhere with emails and documents always available

When I started my micro business over 3 years ago I quickly found that no day was ever the same.

Maybe I’d start the day at a networking breakfast and then go on to a customer or see a prospective client. I’d often stop at a coffee shop or pub for a bite to eat before going on to work at another client’s office, or go to another networking event.

Other days I might work from home and in the wintertime even WFB (Work From Bed)!

I could do this efficiently and respond to emails and enquiries, write proposals and project planning documents because Google Apps gave me access to my emails and documents wherever I was and on any device.

There used to be the proviso that I needed access to the internet however, Google has now extended offline functionality so I can read and write emails and create documents even in the depths of the Brecon Beacons or, sadly more likely, whilst on the train to London. Then when I do connect to the internet all my offline work will be synced and emails sent and received.

3. Stay connected and share docs and calendars with colleagues and clients

These days, whatever your business, one of the recurring themes will be collaboration.

That might be with colleagues, clients, virtual PA’s or other companies you work with on specific projects. To collaborate successfully you need to be able to share information with your co-collaborators. Because Gmail, Google Calendars and Google Docs are hosted ‘in the cloud’ everyone knows that the information is up to date and accurate.

Here are two little scenarios for you:

Before Google Apps

Day One – You prepare a tender document and send out as an attachment to 3 colleagues for their input.

Day Two – 2 of your colleagues have sent you their amends and you spend the day putting these together for version 2 which you send out last thing.

Day Three – First thing you open your email to find an email from colleague number 3 who’s only just got round to replying to your original email. There’s also a reply from one of the other colleagues who’s already responded to colleague 3’s email with some other suggestions for the tender.

Day Four – Now there’s four of you, each with several different versions of the document with numerous emails back and forth to refer too. Now you have to spend more time pulling your hair out putting this all together into version 4 or 5 or even 6!

With Google Apps

Day One – You prepare a tender document and share via Google Docs to 3 colleagues for their input.

Day’s Two and Three – you all work together on the one document making revisions and amends in your own time. With each collaborator able to see the whole revision history, who’s changed what and when and read each others notes and suggestions.

Day Four – Tender document sent out on time and correct.

4. Connect Google Apps to other Cloud Apps to streamline your business

Google Apps allows you to connect to many third party apps so that you can seamlessly share information and switch between them to create more efficient working processes.

Connect Google Apps to –

And many more.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

Visit the Google Apps Marketplace and explore the many different third party applications and solutions available to Google Apps users and think about how and which ones you can use to make your business more efficient and successful.

Tanya Jayne Park

Tanya Jayne Park is a cloud computing evangelist and all round girl geek. Constantly connected to the internet helping micro businesses and non-profits increase profitability whilst reducing IT headaches. If you need some guidance on setting up cloud based apps then Tanya is a Google Apps and Capsule reseller.

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Comments

  1. I looked into Google Apps but they needed a different log-in. I believe you can do multiple log-ins in the same browser now, but I have my social media set up in a way that having 2 Gmail accounts means content could easily be sent to the wrong account.

    I know lots of people who absolutely love it though and for a new business starting from scratch, it’s one of the major options.
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..One Man Band Accounting new website launching in September!My Profile

  2. A great post and I agree 101%…………. seeing a business card with a @yahoo, @btinternet or @hotmail makes me think “not serious” and rarely will I contact them again. This is doubly so for those handing out such cards at organised networking events.

    I know I’m in the IT business, but it really is simple to setup a domain name of your choice and relevant to your business. If you need assistance then ask a local IT provider, but it can be done online. At one of the UK’s largest hosting providers, I found this deal (http://buff.ly/OUFh9l) for just £1.70 per month !

    This is a tiny price to show you are serious and you’ll retain the domain name for ever !
    Craig Sharp recently posted..Why SME data is safer in the cloudMy Profile

  3. Beware google docs – they want copyright to what you produce with it. There is a lot of discussion about this in the blogosphere. Until they come out with a clear statement that they don’t want copyright of anything produced with their software (as many other companies, like Dropbox) have done, I won’t be using google docs for anything money making.

    And I’d beware of putting too much in the cloud – or at least not backing it up. An airline company went down for three days because their stuff was in the cloud. I won’t be trusting the cloud with my business anytime soon.
    Evan recently posted..The Sexiness of Happiness and Other Things TooMy Profile

    • Hi Evan,

      I couldn’t disagree more with your distrust of ‘The Cloud’ however with all suppliers you need to pick wisely that’s why Google has a triple A rating from me.

      I like to think of my data as I do my money, i.e. I prefer to give them both to experts to look after because they can always do a better job than i could myself.

      With money I put it in the bank (choosing carefully of course!) rather than stash it under the mattress! With my data I do the same, Google published uptime statistics for their Gmail product (with 425 million active users!) of 99.984% in 2010!

      Now to tackle the thorny question of copyright here is a great quote about this –

      “The correct quote is:

      ‘By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Google services which are intended to be available to the members of the public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, modify, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services.’

      The operative phrase is “…which are intended to be available to the members of the public…”

      For the scenario you ask about to apply, you would have to submit your password information AS CONTENT in a context where it is publicly viewable; IF you do that, THEN Google claims a license to reproduce that information WHICH YOU’VE ALREADY MADE PUBLICLY VISIBLE for its marketing purposes.

      Now, having clarified what the language means, to the narrower questions:

      No, Google doesn’t own your information; the sentence before the quoted passage clearly spells out that you keep ownership. Yes, it’s enforcable and legal. No, it doesn’t mean they can do whatever they want with anything you post in a google docs account.”
      Tanya-Jayne Park recently posted..The right IT solution – more than just functionalityMy Profile

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