007 STBS: Why Your Business Needs Google Apps

Transcript of episode:  Click here to read

Before I get started, I just want to say that I am a Google Apps reseller (but I've used it long before becoming one). However, Google Apps Standard Edition (the free version), is what I recommend to most people. That being said, I truly believe that all small businesses should be using Google Apps.  Yet, 90% of small business owners that I consult with have no idea what Google Apps is.  It's a shame that many don't take advantage of some of the powerful tools it has to offer. I explain more thoroughly in the podcast, but here's why I feel most small businesses are missing out!

It easy to use

Note, I didn't say it is easy to set up (it's not that bad), but once it's set up it is extremely easy to use.  Basically, it's like having your own version of Gmail, Google Docs, Google Calendar, and more.  In the past, to have your own domain name and email you needed to go through your web host's webmail application or connect your mail application to the host's email server.  Either way, it was a pain.  Not only that, you were usually doused with spam every day because of poor spam blocking.  Once set up, everything works just like the normal versions of Gmail and so on.  Pretty neat.

leveragerandom

It's more professional

What looks better "supersalon@gmail.com" or "Mary@supersalon.com"? I rest my case.

It's more collaborative

The ability to share documents and contacts is HUGE.  Not only internally, but with outside organizations as well.  Working real-time on documentation makes a huge difference when you want to get things done.

The new Google Apps Marketplace is ridiculously awesome

Not only do you get Google applications, now that Google opened up its marketplace, a whole host of third party apps are integrated as well.  That means that you have a one stop shop to all of the business web applications that you will ever need.  What do I use?  Well, I'm glad you've asked:

  • Aviary - a free Photoshop-like/Adobe Illustrator-ish web application.  Great for small graphic projects.
  • Freshbooks - Pretty sweet accounting software.  They recently changed their pricing model to allow for unlimited customers (thank goodness).
  • Gist - My favorite CRM software. (Had an issue with Gist today though.  You can hear about it in the podcast).
  • Mailchimp - A really good email marketing web application.  It's free until you get more than 500 users.
  • ManyMoon - a FREE project management web application similar to Basecamp.
  • Tripit - a traveler's best friend.  Helps organize everything you need for your next trip.
  • Tungle.me - a KILLER calendar scheduling app.

*Update* Not Everything Can Be Perfect

I decided to add some things to consider about Google Apps.

  1. It is not a complete solution, by any means. Although Google Docs works, it is not that great.  Don't get me wrong, they've improved it significantly, but there is still a lot missing.  Not only that, formatting issues are the bane of anyone trying to use it for complex documentation.
  2. If you want to use Google as a storage place for documentation for your business, I'd recommend against it.  It's too clunky of an interface.  I would recommend something like DropBox if you need real-time document sharing.
  3. Google sites, while very easy to use, is just like any other WYSIWYG website builder.  Don't get me wrong, you can do some amazing things with it.  But it's just not the same as making a BuddyPress community or WordPress site.

Feedback

All that being said, I'd love to hear your opinion of Google Apps, especially if you think it's not as great as I make it out to be.  I give some more cons in the podcast, but I'm sure there are many more of them.  Leave me a voicemail at any time, day or night,  at 714-643-5301.   Your comments are always welcome, too!

4 Comments

  • The Google Bee

    July 26, 2010

    I would love to disagree, but i dont :). Google Apps is a boon for quick collaboration.

  • Dean Soto

    July 26, 2010

    Thanks for the comment! I was *this close* to denying your comment because I thought it was spam. But I love your site! Love the Google Apps haven!

  • Daniel Kane

    July 27, 2010

    Nice post. Google Apps is a God-send for small business.
    One big selling point for Google Apps Premier Edition over Standard Edition is the inclusion of Google Message Security. This Anti-Virus & Anti-Spam solution, powered by Postini is worth the $50 alone.

    • Dean Soto

      July 27, 2010

      Ah, I always forget about Postini, but you are absolutely right. Gmail capability is great alone, but you are right that the Pro version's access to Postini makes it very much worthwhile.

      It takes a tiny bit more know how in order to set Postini up, though. But nothing really too difficult.