google appsLet’s face the facts; if Google decides to do something, they usually do it quite well. (Okay okay, except for those initial iPhone competitive attempts, but they are indeed making up ground. Or the whole Google+ being the “next big thing” – but hey! at least they’re trying).

Anyways, back to what Google is good at…just about everything else. Please allow me to take you on a little time-travel as we flash back to the mid 1990s. Do you remember the days of logging onto the internet with dial-up and printing off those generic MapQuest guides back then?

Wisconsin mapMany many years ago, circa 1997, my family took a road trip from Wisconsin to Yellowstone. During the days before the trip, I clearly remember my Dad printing off a 10-page MapQuest route and me thinking it was the coolest thing ever – that is until we actually had to use it.

Having been assigned the role of co-pilot, I was in charge of helping my Dad navigate the 16-hour journey. Let me tell you, those maps were horrible! Exits were mislabeled and we ended up using a vintage “1995 United States Road Atlas” and asking kind-looking strangers for directions along the way.

Flash forward to nowadays and that glorious app called Google Maps, a nearly flawless specimen of internet perfection if you ask me. It gives you directions to just about anywhere and even provides bike and walk-friendly roadways, locations where to expect traffic delays, road construction, and detours. How cool is that? However, I digress…

Being a small business owner myself, I can’t help but be amazed at all the cool services that Google offers to the public – for free! However, there is one service that isn’t free but IS well worth the price, and that’s Google Apps for Business. If you’re unfamiliar with this amazing suite of cloud-based software, no worries; I’ll fill you in along the way.

Today, we here at PaySimple are kicking off a 4-part blog series on how small businesses can and should use Google Apps for Business to increase revenue, scale their businesses, and honestly, make life easier. These aren’t just some generic statements about Google Apps. These are worthwhile tips from the front lines, from a small business owner who uses Google Apps for nearly 100% of my business tasks. On a side-note, if you’re looking for a way to collect payments for your small business, you might want to check out our company, PaySimple.

Upcoming posts will look at …

Part 2: Google Apps for Business – Drive: Online Cloud Storage Made Simple
Part 3: Google Apps for Business – Calendar: Organize Your Life & Business
Part 4: Google Apps for Business – Voice: The All-Powerful Phone Number
Part 5: Google Apps for Business – Hangouts: Connect with Your Team Online

Part 1: Gmail – The Best Small Business Email Provider

gmail-logoI’d have to say that one of my biggest annoyances when doing business with people is when they’re using a “local” email domain (read,, or an ancient email domain (,,

If you’re using a Hotmail email address for your business, you’re doing more harm than good! Hotmail is synonymous with teens chatting on MSN Messenger and AIM in the 90s, not the email provider of a successful business owner. If you want a good laugh, check out this hilarious cartoon about what your email address says about your business by The Oatmeal.

However, fear not, there’s still help for you: enter Gmail. If you haven’t heard about Gmail (I’m not sure that’s possible) it’s a totally free cloud-based email program that lets you check your email from anywhere you have an internet (or data) connection.

You have two options when it comes to using Google as your email provider. The first option is to sign up for a totally free Gmail account using a [email protected] format. When using as a business email, here are a couple tips:

  1. If you decide to use your name, keep it professional. No one wants to do business with [email protected], but [email protected] sounds like a standup guy.
  2. If you decide to use your business name, keep it concise. Which looks better to you? [email protected] or [email protected]

Own a website domain for your business? Even better!

Even if your website is still “in the works,” and whether you purchased it from GoDaddy,, or another domain service, you can set up email on that domain – no expensive IT guy (or gal) required. The setup is really simple and will take effect in just a day or two; after which, you’ll have your very own [email protected] email address. Cool, huh? Follow these simple instructions to set up Google Apps for Business email on your website’s domain.

Not convinced that Gmail is the best small business email provider? If you need more convincing, here are 3 big benefits that I’ve found:

  1. I never have to erase email archives…ever. I create folders and store away email invoices, receipts, signed PDF contracts, etc. This makes tax & audit time a breeze.
  2. I have 100% up-time. When was the last time Google crashed? You might have missed it when you blinked.
  3. Cloud-based accessibility. I can check my business email from any computer, anywhere in the world. Not to mention checking my email on my iPhone or tablet.

I know you’re going to ask, “How much does it cost?” The answer is $50 per email address, per year. That’s NOTHING when you think about the credibility you get when you have your own, personalized email address. For about $4.25 per month, you get a very professional [email protected] email rather than [email protected]. In today’s age where consumers are extremely scam-weary, small things like that can really matter.

So get on it! Sign up for Google Apps today. Don’t worry, none of the links in this blog are affiliate links. Google doesn’t even have affiliate links. I’m just a 100% Google Apps evangelist. It’s made my business run smoother since Day 1.

Come back next week for Part 2 of the series. I’ll be focusing on how small business owners can leverage Google Drive for Business.

This article was originally published on the PaySimple blog.

Image Credits:
Wisconsin map by katiebecck, on Flickr