Google Apps for your small business

Running a small business is difficult. You don’t have the spending power of larger corporations, and getting work done efficiently, and professionally can be a challenge. The basic tools you need to be able to work in today’s environment can be expensive and difficult to use.

Fortunately, Google has a fantastic solution. There’s a cheap, easy to use range of products that gives users the same functionality as enterprise grade software. The range is called G Suite and it includes all the Google Apps you’ll need to run a business.

Google Apps are a group of programs that were created to compete with traditional business software from Microsoft and Apple. The amazing thing is, Google offers them to private users for free. That being said, there are major benefits to using the professional subscription, for around $7 per user per month.

What exactly are Google Apps?

Each “App” is a program that you can run on any device that has a connection to the internet. All of your work is saved online as you work on a project, saving you from losing it if your computer crashes. It’s easier to understand the programs if you look at them separately.

Efficiency Tools

The first set of programs are designed to help you run the day to day operations of your business more smoothly.

Gmail for business

The major difference between this and your personal Gmail, is that you can use your company domain as the email address. This makes all of your emails look far more professional. It’s the same easy to use interface as Gmail, but now your emails will be seen as [email protected], rather than [email protected].

Google hangouts is a video conferencing program that competes with products like Skype. The wonderful thing about it, is that it’s not greedy. If you have a limited internet connection, Hangouts can automatically adjust video and sound quality depending on how you want it. Programs like Skype will simply draw as much bandwidth as they can.

Google Calendar is one of the best team productivity tools available. Because it is accessed through the internet, you can view and change it from any device. You can also create shared calendars that your entire team can access. This makes setting meetings or planning shifts much easier.

Google Drive was one of the first cloud storage services. You can easily store and manage massive amounts of data online, without worrying about losing it should something happen to your computer. Another benefit, is that you can share files easily with your colleagues and customers.

Productivity Tools

The next set of programs are used to create documents, presentations and all of the other outputs your company needs.

Google Docs is a direct competitor to Microsoft Word. It’s much easier to use and saves work as it’s written. You’ll never forget to save something again! Another feature is that multiple users can work on the same document at the same time.

Google Sheets is the Google version of Microsoft Excel. It works in the same way that other spreadsheet tools do, just online. As with Docs, all of your work is saved as you work, in real time.

Google Slides is a professional grade presentation program. It gives users the same functionality as Microsoft PowerPoint. Because Slides runs online, you could give ad hoc presentations anywhere in the world, without needing your own computer.

Google Sites is a program that lets you build professional intranet sites for project management and internal news and file sharing. You can build an intranet site without any coding knowledge at all.

Now that you know what the programs do, it would be a good idea to understand what the benefits and drawbacks are of actually using them.


Using them is cheaper than the alternatives. Pricing starts at $7.70 per user per month. You don’t need to pay for yearly licence fees or invest in expensive software.

All of your data can be stored on the cloud and on your computer. If you don’t have an internet connection, you can still work on a document or presentation. As soon as you connect again, the cloud version will be automatically updated.

Your data is secure. Cybersecurity is a serious problem, Google uses some of the most advanced security measures in the world to keep your information safe.

Collaboration is built into all of the programs. Gone are the days of having to bounce a document back and forth over email to have changes made. Google Apps let multiple users work on the same source document at the same time. You can also see who made what changes to a document and roll them back if needed.

You can still work with companies and clients that use other programs. When you create a document or spreadsheet in Google Apps, it’s easy to export them as files that programs like Excel and Word can read.

All of your work can be accessed from any device that’s connected. Any smartphone, tablet or computer can be used to make changes to documents, schedule meetings or share information.


There are two potential drawbacks to using Google Apps.

The first is that some people are trained to use traditional programs like Excel. They may find it difficult making the transition to the Apps counterpart, some of the formulas used are slightly different. Fortunately, there are hundreds of online resources that will help users learn the new methods.

The second potential issue, is that exporting things like documents and presentations from Apps to programs like Word or PowerPoint can change the formatting. This is normally a minor issue that can be fixed by changing the format on the Google version of the file.