Google+ Hangouts: A Smart, Free Small Business Tool - Page 3

By Jamie Bsales
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10 Small Businesses Tips for Google Apps and Google+

-- Compiled and provided by Rich Rao, director of Google Apps for small business.

Want to get the most out of your Google login? Check out these tips just for business users.

1. Keep a smart calendar

Need to discuss time-sensitive projects, hold team check-ins or just hang out? Use the find-a-time or suggest-time feature in Google Calendar to book times that work for all your colleagues' schedules. You can also easily convert time zones while booking team meetings across the globe.

2. Share with your team

Create a Google+ circle for your marketing, sales and IT teams and start sharing articles, videos and posts with just them.

3. Stay on top of email, files and conversations while on-the-go

Sync your email with your phone's email client, view and edit docs and sheets using Google Drive for Android and iOS. Or you can reach your teammates while on the go with Google+ Hangouts on your mobile device.

4. Face-to-face-to-face collaboration in real time

Collaboration is more than just editing a document. With Google Docs in Google+ Hangouts, you can talk face-to-face-to-face with your team -- regardless of where they are or what device they're using -- while making revisions to your business proposal.

5. Convert scanned files into editable documents

Uploading files to Google Drive offers a handy optical character recognition (OCR) feature, converting high-resolution image files containing typewritten/printed text (like scanned letters and faxes or even a photo of expenses that you take with your phone's camera) into editable text.

6. Connect with customers

Keep your customers and partners in the know by sharing product news, tips and event information on your Google+ page. Page owners can post, comment, and interact with their followers directly from their mobile device.

7. Create a collaborative inbox for support

Does your team use email to process support tickets, sales inquiries, or other requests from colleagues or customers? With the collaborative inbox feature in Google Groups, members of your support team can receive and respond to email requests using a common address, as well as assign incoming messages to group members, track status, categorize posts so they're easy to find later.

8. Keep events organized…before, during and after

Whether you are having an office party or planning a networking event for your business, you can invite everyone with Google+ Events. You can even share photos with other attendees during and after the event using Party Mode.

9. Gather and visualize data with forms

Create a form in Google Drive to gather sales targets, headcount allocations and product feedback. Simply email the form to your colleagues or customers and keep track of their answers in one spreadsheet. Check the response summary to see how many people filled out a form and what their responses are, as well as display graphs and charts summarizing their responses.

10. Simplify business processes with Google Apps Script

Google Apps Script provides the capability to automate a variety of features in Google Apps, such as reading and changing values in Google Sheets, sending email and much more. Some examples of what you can do with Apps Script include:

  • Mail Merge: Use Google Forms and Sheets to deliver personalized emails. An upcoming integration with Google Maps lets you send out customized emails with driving directions.
  • Expense Report Approval: Build simple workflow applications via Google Sheets and Forms.
  • Leverage Google App Engine services from scripts: Google Apps Script can communicate with a Web service built on Google App Engine.

Jamie Bsales is an award-winning technology writer and editor with more than 18 years of experience covering the latest hardware, software and Internet products and services.

Do you have a comment or question about this article or other small business topics in general? Speak out in the SmallBusinessComputing.com Forums. Join the discussion today!

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This article was originally published on December 18, 2012
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