Google G Suite – Setup advice for small business

Many of us have used Gmail for years, Google Docs helped us create and share documents, Google Drive provided an easy way to sync and store important files. Now you’ve started a new business and purchased a great new domain name. Part of looking professional is emailing from @yourdomain.com.au, not @gmail.com.

This doesn’t mean you have to ditch Gmail, or other Google Apps that you already use. With Google’s G Suite, you can continue using your favourite Google Apps with your own custom domain. It’s $5/month per team member with additional features and team management controls.

Google’s G Suite is a leading platform, designed to improve productivity and streamline business operations. Once you’ve created an account and connected your domain, you’ll never look back.

Let’s run through some tips and advice for setup and key apps.

G Suite – Creating an account

Google G Suite Welcome Screen
Google offers 3 levels of accounts  – basic, business and enterprise. The more expensive options offer additional storage and archiving options for each user. Basic suits most requirements – it includes 24/7 online and phone support, plus key sharing and user management controls. You’ll also get Gmail using your custom domain and 30GB of storage per user.

You can create an account here.

NOTE: One of the more technical tasks of account setup is connecting your own domain. This is done by editing your domain name’s DNS records via your domain name host. If you’d like some help creating your account, connecting your domain and optimising setup, get in touch.

Managing settings – Admin console

Google G Suite Admin Console
The admin console is where you manage settings group level settings and permissions. You’ll find tutorials, videos and support available 24/7 via chat or phone from Google. The search function at the top of the console also offers a handy search function, taking you directly to settings and information.

The master admin has access to the admin console, and can assign levels of permission to users. Apart from more obvious settings like billing details, you can control and enforce various settings for apps and security at a group or individual level. You may for example choose to enforce 2-factor security for all users in your team.

It’s possible to just keep things simple, or get very controlled and technical depending on business requirements.

G Suite offers a series of helpful tutorials for configuring and managing your setup.

TIP: Email aliases can be created within the console (e.g. [email protected]). These addresses don’t add any additional cost, you can basically set up as many as you require and control who they forward to.

We’ll dive into some of the key apps below…

Gmail, Contacts and Calendars

Google Gmail Information
Gmail works great on the go, across multiple devices. It’s a leading email client and default service for millions of users for a good reason – it just works, and it works well. The G Suite variety shares many similarities with the standard version so you shouldn’t have any trouble with familiarity.
Contacts and Calendars can both be managed individually and at group level. Getting these items cleaned up and working effectively can really help with overall business management.

In the words of Google, they offer integrated online calendars designed for teams. Seamless integration with Gmail, Contacts, Drive and Hangouts makes it it easy to stay on top of things. It’s also possible to create meeting rooms, and other resources that can be booked and easy managed. The expected functions such as smart team scheduling, shared calendars and access from any device can all be found. You can learn more here.

The G Suite Contact Manager also offers some great functionality. Individuals can manage their own contacts, and there’s also control at admin level for group directories.

TIP: Tagging contacts provides great group management within your full list of contacts. You can create email lists based on tags and also choose to only show specific contacts on your phone.

Drive

Google Drive Folder Structure Tips
Drive is your online storage location. With the basic G Suite product, you get 30GB of cloud storage per user. You can also choose to sync your Drive to multiple devices such as your computer and phone. G-Suite offers 2 options for Sync – ‘Backup and Sync’ and ‘Drive File Stream’. They both offer slightly different capabilities and are controlled at admin level. Backup and Sync allows users to sync their Drive folder and also choose various folders elsewhere on their computer to sync. Drive file stream is catered more towards team environments and streams files on demand.

Google also offers their own versions of Word, Excel, Powerpoint etc. They have great, clean browser-based interfaces with automatic saving and ability to export out to multiple formats. Additionally, you can pull in various data-sources and easily share these documents with various users. Multiple users can also work within the same document concurrently.

TIP: Consider your Google Drive folder setup to begin with. Create a set of folders that make sense and allow you to store files in locations that are easily recognisable and allow users to find items easily.
Apart from the additional security of having your files backed up to the cloud, syncing folders and files between devices also removes having to manage multiple versions of the same file across different devices. Trying to work out which is the latest can be a headache and waste of time.

When you’re on the fly you can easily attach or create a link to a Drive file straight out of Gmail. This avoids needing to wait to get back to the computer to email an important file.

Forms and Quizzes

Google Forms

Often flying under the radar, Forms is an amazing tool that allows you to develop customised forms for any purpose. Customer feedback, job applications, job training – there’s many possibilities. They’re relatively easy to create and responses are easily accessed and managed within the app.

There’s also a powerful quiz function – which is perfect for staff training modules. Create your quiz, then include a set of questions to check that the information has been digested. You can easily insert text, images, videos and questions. When quiz mode is enabled, you can assign point scores to various answers. On completion, the system can then return a result to the user instantly or you can set it to wait you’ve reviewed the results.

Account Security – getting hacked isn’t relaxing

A secure login makes relaxing easier

Having your account hacked is a major threat that can be very damaging for business. It’s important to take precautions to secure business related (and personal) accounts using available tools. It’s a little more work to sign in on new devices, but it’s well worth the effort.

2-factor authentication is the most common method, new and untrusted devices signing into your account require a 2nd code or approval to be granted access. The 2nd code is normally sent to your mobile phone, or generated within an app on your phone such as Google Authenticator. You can enforce 2-factor at organisational level through the admin console. That’s a business level decision, but it is well worth enabling it up for sensitive logins such as admin access. You can find more information here.

Google G Suite offers a set of enterprise-level tools for small businesses to take advantage of. With this power comes responsibilities that are normally  handled by an IT department within larger organisations. Managing your own digital systems for a small business has been made more accessible, cheaper and easier through products such as G Suite. It’s not too difficult and well worth the effort to train up a little in key areas such as those in this article.

Hope you’ve gained some valuable insight into utilising Google G Suite. Not only will a solid setup streamline your operations and improve time management, it will make your business more valuable if you choose to sell.

Cheers, Mike

Like to hit the ground running? Get in touch to discuss your digital setup.

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