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Small Business, Big Impression

The prospect of buying expensive software and establishing a slick corporate web presence can overwhelm the small business budget. A Google Apps account offers customizable email and access to common office software "in the cloud." A free Google Apps account gives you access to programs such as:

  • Calendar
  • Docs
  • Sites

Google Apps frees up space on your computer hard drive by storing data on Google servers, while giving you access to your documents from anywhere.

First impressions are frequently the only impressions that count, which is particularly true for small business. The question facing most small businesses is how to achieve a big business impression on a small business budget. Google has apps for that, in the form of a Google Apps account.

google apps - gmail Armed with your registered domain name and a Google Apps account, Google's Gmail allows you to set up your email using your domain name, eliminating the need for costly hosting fees, or having to maintain your own email server. An email address with your company domain gives credibility that a free generic account does not.

In addition to customized Gmail, Google Apps offers:

google apps - calendar Calendar: to help you get organized and stay on schedule.

google apps - docs Docs: for creating word processing, spreadsheet and slide presentations. You can share your documents within your domain with other members of your group.

google apps - sites Sites: use a template or design your own project site.

google apps - vault Vault: email and chat message archiving (fee service only). Vault includes features to help meet legal and litigation compliance.

The number of apps is growing and offering new opportunities to small businesses to compete with larger corporations.

The constant need to backup data is replaced by automatic backup of "in the cloud" data.

The documents you create using Google Apps are yours. You control access and usage to your data with administrator tools that allow you to track usage.

Google guarantees 99.9% uptime. Their customized data centers have only the hardware and software needed. Eliminating the extraneous reduces strain on a system and exploitable access points for hackers. Together with automatic backup, when something goes wrong, all is not lost.

The advantage for small business is clear, the low cost of Google Apps, along with no maintenance costs, and accessibility to your data "in the cloud" any where at any time, is a winning combination. There is no need for an IT specialist on staff, you can administer your accounts yourself using the Google Apps dashboard.

There is a limited free plan available for Google Apps with less storage and fewer services, but if you want tech support, larger storage capacity, or more features, then one of the pay accounts may suit you better without denting your budget.

Resources

Google. The tools your employees want - Google Apps for Business. Accessed 20 April 2012. http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/products.html

Google. Everything your business needs - Google Apps for Business. Accessed 20 April 2012. http://www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business/benefits.html

Trapani, Gina. How to Make Your Small Business Look Big. Harvard Business Review - Blog Network. March 13, 2009. Accessed 20 April 2012. http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2009/03/run_yourorganizationcom_with_g.html

Date: 04.23.2012

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