google’s free applications can work for your business
By Rick Segel, CSP
Google is like no other business model in the world; it
has grown faster than any other business in its time, quickly ballooning
to a size that rivals old, established companies that have been around
for 100 years; and it has made more millionaires through its stock than
any other company in years. The truly amazing part is that 85 percent of
everything Google creates, distributes and supports is free.
Recently, I interviewed Deborah Chou, a Google
information officer, at her California office. We talked about Google’s
various tools and which ones every business should be using to help make
their business more profitable.
Before you begin, you need to open a Google Account,
which is as easy as supplying a name, password and e-mail address. An
account can be created through any of Google’s various offerings like
Gmail, AdWords or Google Calendar. So let’s get started!
Go to Google.com and then do a search for “Google
Tools.” Then click on the second item down, “More Google Products.”
Here are my top 10 recommendations for Google apps that every
businessperson should consider.
Google Alerts. Any time an
interest of yours is in the news, you can create an alert by word,
phrase, name or category and Google will send you an e-mail alert
with the link to articles, websites, blogs—you name it! Do this
right away by listing every competitor you have, trends in your
industry, your name, your company’s name or any other category,
phrase or keyword you can think of. You can customize your alerts to
be received hourly, daily, weekly or even monthly. I read mine
daily, as it’s an easy way to stay up-to-date with all of the
various industries I follow.
Google Calendar. I find this to
be an invaluable tool because I’m able to access my entire calendar
on my mobile phone or computer—appointments, dates, deadlines,
birthdays—anything that you would document on a calendar, you can
access anytime, anywhere. You can also customize each update to
automatically update your entire team’s calendars, or specific
people, on both their mobile devices and computers whenever you
Blogger.com. This is a division
of Google that allows you to create a free blog. If you have ever
been intimidated with the prospect of creating a blog, don’t be!
Blogger.com makes it simple and painless to create a blog customized
to your needs and specifications. In less than 15 minutes, you’ll be
up and running!
Google Sites. This is a free and
easy way to create a webpage. They even have dozens of prebuilt
templates for you to choose from, and some wonderful, easy-to-follow
videos that walk you through the entire process.
Google Checkout. This is a
complete online shopping cart and credit card processing service.
The benefit of using Google is the fact that there are no extra or
hidden charges. They supply you with an order management system,
fraud protection, a product search feature, and of course, the brand
recognition and good name of Google itself. Your customers will be
able to clearly see the Google graphics on your website, giving them
a greater feeling of transaction security.
Google Docs. This is a great
document management system that allows multiple people to work on
the same document and access each document at any time. The
application could work for mailers, ad copy and even store layout
Google Forms. This is actually
part of Google Docs. It is a collection of templates for any form
that you would need to run your business (a similar product is also
offered by Microsoft in Word). The benefit of using Google is that
it integrates seamlessly with Google Docs, which is accessible to
your entire team.
Google Business Image. This
collection of images is free to use with no copyright restrictions.
The benefit here is that it enables you to insert first-rate images
into all the different forms of communication you use to run your
Google Voice. This unique
service allows you to filter all of your calls and messages into one
phone number. It also has a feature that will transcribe voice
messages. On this one, be sure to review the video because the
possibilities are endless!
Google Business Channel. The
Google Business Channel is a collection of short videos on YouTube
that explain every product Google offers. Trust me, it is a must for
anyone in business today.
And one more thing: Make sure that your business is registered with
Google Local. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go to the
Business Channel and find out.
Segel, CSP, is a seasoned retailer of 25 years and the author of 12
books. As a Certified Speaking Professional, he offers keynotes,
seminars, training sessions and breakouts covering every aspect of
growing and running a business. Learn more at