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.
It's more professional
What looks better "firstname.lastname@example.org" 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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!