Using Google Apps to streamline small business operations
It’s tough to go online these days without using a Google product. Most people regularly use Google for search and many for personal email. A good number of small businesspeople will also use Google to manage their professional email accounts and some, like me, have gone the whole hog and put 100% of my business related storage with them and use their office products as well.
While most people are well aware of their core offering, which is a full office suite and cloud storage service as well as a calendar and email. My team is distributed. Some of them are based here in Perth, some in other parts of the country and we have a few people operating overseas as well. Without Google Apps, none of this would be possible. Let’s talk through an example of a job booking for a swimming pool removal.
When a customer requests an automated quote from my website, Google Apps is involved from the very beginning. Once they’ve put in their details, my system immediately forwards them to Google Apps. Then the magic starts.
A custom script which my development team put together, which is hosted on our corporate Google Drive, receives the details then automatically calculates the quote based on a series of variables. It then automatically generates the quote in Google Docs, converts it to a PDF and sends an email to the customer which is cc’d to me and my admin team.
Everything apart from the initial input of the information by the customer takes place in Google Apps. When my team follow up on the quote and book the site visit. My office manager puts the job straight into my Google Calendar. That means that I get notified on all of my devices and it all has so far happened without me interacting with a customer.
Every staff member has a Google account, they need them, we use Google Mail to run our office email accounts (across over 15 separate domains). Each staff member has at least 5 different email addresses associated with different business units and their Google accounts play a huge role in their first few days when they’re starting out and learning the ropes.
We have a centralised master folder where we store all our major company documents. Different staff members have different levels of access to different parts of it. The first place that a new employee heads is the folder entitled Cross Business Unit.
They then go into the SOP folder. Here they find full instructions on how to do their job, a clearly laid out plan for their first five days and information on who to contact if they have any problems. Considering that I’ve got people working for me that I have never met in person, this makes a huge difference.
This setup doesn’t just make it easy if someone starts working with us, but if someone leaves too. The old staff member’s account simply becomes an alias of the new one and the password gets changed. All done.
Choosing to go with Google Apps has made a huge difference to my business and for $5 per staff member per month it saves me a lot more money than it costs me. I’d recommend it to any small business person.