This is a guest post by Bret Philips, a web developer I recently met through Twitter. Today, Bret talks about how he uses Google Docs to run his business.
* * *
Running a small business takes a lot of time and resources. Each second of every day is precious, which is why it’s so vitally important to be
as possible in order to maximize the time you spend on your business.
Google Documents makes it easy to create, manage and share documents from anywhere, making your life simpler and giving you more time to focus on the big picture for your business. Here are just a handful of ways that you can use Google Documents for your small business:
- Single location to access all of your files from anywhere
- Documenting company info, systems and policies
- Producing slideshow presentations
- Creating PDFs
- Storing customer information
- Sharing files with your customers and employees.
There are too many uses to list here, so just know that you have the power to create any Documents, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Forms, and even Drawings that you can then share with others for their contributions.
One Location Accessible From Anywhere
As cloud computing grows more popular, many people have stopped trying to manage both storage and backups of their documents. With Google Docs, you can access all of your stored documents from anywhere with internet access, giving you more freedom than previously available. No longer do you need a VPN to log into a server at your business site–all you need now is a Google account.
Documenting Company Information
At this point, any company venturing online should compile a list of website profiles, usernames, and passwords. It’s important that you store this information somewhere that is easily accessible. Every company also has their own systems and policies internally, and these should be documented so that other employees can follow them. Using Google Docs gives you the opportunity to store and share those with anyone that has an email address.
Instead of purchasing Microsoft Office and using PowerPoint, you can use Google Docs to create presentations online. You can even use a full screen option and present a slideshow as you would with PowerPoint.
One of my favorite things about Google Docs is the ability to create PDFs quickly and easily. Whether I am sending out a statement of work, a proposal, or any number of other documents, I like to send them out in PDF format. This way, I know the person will be able to view the document regardless of his or her operating system or browser. With Google Docs, just create and populate the document and choose the option to save as PDF from the File menu.
Storing Customer Information
As a web developer, not only must I keep up with all of my personal credentials, but I also must keep with my clients’ credentials. To make this easier for me, I create a folder for each client inside of Google Docs to house all of their files.
- Client Account Information
- Proposals and Statement of Work
- Client Site Change Log
- Keyword Research Lists
Sharing Files With Your Customers and Employees
Not only do I have instant access to these documents from any computer with internet access, I can also quickly share this information with my clients or employees, making everyone’s life easier. I am able to share individual documents–such as my Client Account Information with my client–or share folders, such as my Policies, Clients, and Resources folders, with my employees.
Starting up a small business is not a cheap endeavor, but free software like Google Docs can lessen the financial burden. If you do not already have one, sign up for a Google account today for your business. It only takes a few minutes, and it will open up the ability to use many free applications that will help your small business. You will have access to Google’s entire suite of products, including Gmail, Docs, YouTube, Places, Analytics, and more.
Do you use Google Docs? What do you like about it?
* * *
Bret Phillips is a web consultant helping small businesses develop, optimize, and strategically use their entire web presence. When not working on the web, you can find him involved with music – laying, promoting, recording, throwing festivals, and more.