Our family business is based in Houston and we decided to become an online only business about a year ago. No more calling phone numbers, getting voice mails and hoping to get a call back. The voicemail messages back and forth were a thing of the past. This made me communicate and make a final decision for an appointment take an eternity. Sometimes there were so many missed calls along the way that some customers would give up, or me.
Nothing is more frustrating for a business than lack of communication. This makes or breaks a deal and I was struggling with this for quite a while. In my business I am not allowed to make decisions on the types of appointments made so I always have to pass down messages. These messages usually got lost in translation. This was so frustrating and I had to make a change.
My life glued to a desk.Ever since I can remember I've been using Microsoft and all their software. I'm a big fan you could say. Word, Publisher, Excel and of course Outlook are used on the daily. When you run a business, these softwares are a must. While I still use the softwares for many things, I always felt a slave to my Outlook software, it had me glued to my desk all day. Why?! In the time of mobility and doing things on the go, there had to be a better way, there just had to.
There had to be a better way!I had to try something else and my first obvious choice was Microsoft 365. This was an on the cloud service where all my Office products would be available to me whenever I wanted. Simple, right? I tried it out and downloaded all their software in my home computer and also in my laptop, the place that was supposed to set me free. I thought I had it made, I was dreaming big of a day where I could reply to emails while sitting in the middle of a daisy field. Wrong-o!
It never worked! As in, what the point of the CLOUD when none of my work is updated?! What's the point if I am still having to sit in my desk all day trying to get this figured out and to work?! Frustrated as hell I felt a complete failure! I felt like I had wasted so much of my time on something that didn't work as smooth as I wanted it to. I gave up after a week or two and went back to the way things were, only now I couldn't because by downloading their Office 365 software it corrupted my old Office software that I had and caused it to not work anymore.
Now I was in trouble. A lot of trouble... as in worse than before trouble!
Enter Google Apps for Work.Then the heavens parted and the Online Gods heard my cry! I got an email from Google advertising their Google Apps for Business and as if it was the sign I was looking for, I click it. I won't go into how I set it all up, that's a whole other post (this is long enough as it is) but I do have to say it wasn't just a click or two.
While there is some technical work to be done on your website hosting provider page and a little customization, it's nothing that a bit of knowledge won't get you through. I've done our web development in our business page since the beginning of time, so this wasn't as painful as say, Office 365 where I tried everything and still didn't work. It was a steady flow of steps that were pretty easy to follow, a few videos and I was done before I knew it.
A small warning: I do want to mention there was a day or two of email interruption as the servers get re-routed to Google. I had GoDaddy handling my emails so they advice you to begin the transfer maybe at night or on the weekend where you won't have as much traffic. Also, make sure you contact your old website company (mine was GoDaddy) and have their hosting department reset and allow for external emails on your website. You will need to do this if you have a "contact" page on your website. This happened to me and I didn't get emails from my contact page for a couple of days! That was the only terrifying part of the whole ordeal but once I learned why I wasn't getting the emails, my whole process was complete. Yes, I felt like a badass!!!!
There is no better time to try it than now. Google is actually giving you a free 30 days trial to try their services and if you don't like it you can cancel and owe nothing. This is where I got hooked, I thought what do I have to lose? and there was no turning back.
Moving to Google Apps for Work was not a decision I took lightly. There was work to be done and sometimes these things don't go as smoothly as you usually would like. There is always something, some mess up and boy did I have a couple. But I knew I needed something better, faster and mobile and Google Apps has allowed me this freedom. Getting used to Gmail rather than Outlook was a task that took me a couple of weeks to get done. Labels instead of categories, one inbox instead of several email folders... but after tweaking Gmail I realized their method was a faster way to handle my business. With plenty of storage on our Google Drive now sharing will be a breeze, sharing our Calendar and with Google Hangouts keeping in touch will be easier than ever. There is so many possibilities for us in the future and with Google by our side, we feel our business is in a safe place.
I can't recommend Google Apps for Work enough! As always I will not recommend something I don't personally use, have tried and love. This is my personal experience and I'm sticking to it. I hope this helps somebody! :)