Celebrating small businesses and integrated, easy-to-use web tools

Monday, May 16, 2011 | 11:45 AM




In honor of National Small Business Week, we’d like to take time this week to share ways that Google Apps and the Google Apps Marketplace can help small businesses work more productively and efficiently.
Today, we’re highlighting a few of the Small Business Web apps in the Google Apps Marketplace, and how our customers run their businesses on them every day. Google shares the Small Business Web’s dedication to providing tools that have enterprise-grade functionality, as well as align with small businesses’ priorities.


Apps that work together
Particularly for companies without a dedicated IT team or person, the list of necessary business tools can quickly become unmanageable. Web apps that provide deep integrations with Google Apps and with each other are especially useful for growing businesses that don’t have time to manage multiple, distinct applications.


Olark lets customers live chat with website visitors directly from the Gmail interface through Google Talk, and provides easy access to chat transcripts. Peter Macaulay of KitchenwareDirect.com.au says, “The ability to live chat with customers without leaving the Google Apps interface is a huge productivity advantage. The simple and elegant implementation meant we were up and running in a matter of minutes. Staff members are easily able to set their availability for chat, enabling them to easily multi-task.”


WORKetc is another app that makes Gmail into the front end workspace, but for CRM, project management, and customer support. It let’s you easily share emails related to particular projects with relevant team members without forwarding or copying other email addresses. D. Hogan of Varis Energy says, “Any emails that need to be shared with my team get tagged in the WORKetc gadget that is built right into Gmail. This immediately lets everyone else who is assigned to a project or lead have access to the new information from the received email.”


Access all the time
As compared to larger businesses, small businesses are even less suited to managing servers, and tend to have many employees on the road or in non-office locations. Accessing their data and documents from anywhere, on any Internet-connected device is a core benefit of using web-based tools like Google Docs. OfficeDrop digitizes paper documents to make them text-searchable in Google Docs.
Greg Skidmore of Belpointe Asset Management says, “Each month we send a box of paper files to OfficeDrop and have them scanned directly into Google Docs. If I have a document that I need scanned right away, I use OfficeDrop’s scanning software, ScanDrop, and upload it immediately.”


Easy to Use
Small business owners and employees often wear a lot of hats and they’ve asked for solutions that are easy to learn and use. Michael Bower of Michael Bower Digital says, “I always need to know where my money is, without wasting time organizing my paperwork. As my business grew, I was losing control of my cashflow. Both Google Apps and FreshBooks have just enough features to keep my workflow and invoicing organized, allowing me to focus on my work.”

These are just a few examples of the many Small Business Web app vendors in the Google Apps Marketplace who provide the functionality and integrations a small business needs. Over 30 Google Apps Marketplace apps have already joined the Small Business Web and declared their commitment to helping small businesses focus on what they do best. They include:


Finance
Bill.com
billFLO
EchoSign

Expensify
FreeAgent
Freshbooks
Harvest
Kashoo
Outright
Shoeboxed

CRM
Assistly
Batchbook
CRM

Capsule
CRM

Connect2Field
Disqourse CRM
Get
Satisfaction

PipelineDeals
SAManage
Solve360
CRM

Tactile
CRM

WorkETC

Doc Management
Box.net
FormLizard
OfficeDrop

Collaboration
MindMeister
Teambox
uberVU
YoolinkPro

Sales and Marketing
Mailchimp
Olark
SiteKreator
VerticalResponse
zferral


We celebrate National Small Business Week to recognize the importance of small businesses for promoting a healthy economy, and we’re excited to help them continue to grow and succeed through the smart use of technology.