Google nearly always does something well. And in the case of Google Apps they do them very well! It is amazing that they offer so many elements for free but for small business there is one service that is not free – Google Apps for Business.
If you’re using Hotmail or Yahoo or any other local email addresses to do business you’re harming your image. Gmail is a totally free cloud-based email programme that is free to use. You can sign up for a free Gmail account or you can sign up for the Apps programme which allows you to use your own domain name as an email address. For example I use gucu.org.uk as a domain and have an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
But what are the benefits. When was the last time Google crashed – never. You never have to delete anything. Setting up folders and storing emails into the folders is simple. Searching for invoices etc can be a breeze when they’re all in one folder!
Drive is more than just data storage (you get 30gb for free), it is also an office suite. It consists of Docs, Sheets and Slides. Each application can import MS Office docs and many other formats including OpenOffice. There are several extensions that can be installed to improve the office suite and enable elements such as drawing tools. At the end of the day you now have another way to create a paper trail. Set up folders for contracts, invoices, etc and it will be easy to do your tax return.
One final really cool feature with Google Docs is that it updates dynamically. It is exciting to watch your document updating as you talk on the phone with a colleague. Forget web conferencing you can now share a document with someone and edit it real time.
For me this is possibly the best reason for having Google Apps. If you’re in a team then using the calendar with your team is a cinch. Add an appointment and share it with the team, invite them to attend and you can all see what each other is doing. I even include dentist appointments, etc. It keeps everybody updated.
But wait there is more.
- Google Maps – Flawless integration. Put an address in a calendar appointment, share with your staff and each and every one can make the appointment with ease. On my phone I get a map showing up when the appointment is scheduled.
- Reminders – Add a reminder and share with a client to remind them to pay a bill or make a meeting!
- Gmail – it integrates with Gmail so if someone sends you an email with See me on Monday 5th. You can add that to the calendar with one click. Easy.
- And many more – integration with outside calendars, compatible with other apps including Outlook etc.
That is it but there is more. You have Voice and Hangout. Photo storage….
Sign up for a free one month trial and give it a whirl. Visit Google Apps for the signup.