Google Services for Entrepreneurs
If you're launching a new business and you want to keep your software costs down, while maintaining a basic level of functionality, look no further than the ubiquitous Google for your enterprise needs.
Using Google's handy suite of office applications which includes a robust email program, an online office software suite, internal and external web development apps, website statistics tracking, interactive calendar, advertising and ad revenue sharing programs, and a nifty RSS reader, you can get your business up and running quickly without the headache of setting up your own internal IT department.
Google Mail / Gmail
If you're migrating from the likes of Microsoft Entourage or Yahoo Mail, the Google Mail interface takes a bit of getting used to.
Rather than folders, Gmail uses labels and archiving to organize emails. Unique to Gmail is its method of denoting messages as "conversations,"; very handy when you're going back and forth in speaking to collegues or friends. Your account space allotment increases every day in relation to the space already used; so unless you are sending and receiving gigantic files every day, you will never hit your usage limit. Google actually brags about this, citing, "never delete files again." But probably the biggest advantage to Google Mail is that you never have to lose e-mails and contacts when you switch to a new computer; and because it is web-based, you can check your messages from anywhere in the world.
Google Drive / Drive
While it doesn't have all the advanced functionality of the leading office software suites, Drive allows users to create and save basic documents online. Write legal procedures or business documents using Google's word processor. Use the database, mathematical, and sorting functionality in Google's spreadsheet application. Create a presentation on projected sales of the company's flagship product. The collaborative aspect of Google Documents allows for multiple users to work on the same project at the same time, anywhere in the world.
Google offers a way to quickly and easily establish a Web presence through its service called Google Apps (google.com/a).
Google Sites (sites.google.com) is a Google Web design tool that allows you to create a group-specific website. Group websites are handy for keeping up with projects, family, and events within a specific group of people; however, you cannot map a custom domain to the application, and thus Google Sites cannot be used as an external company website.
Use Google Calendar (calendar.google.com) to keep up with your coworkers' comings and goings. Set up important events such as meetings and doctor's appointments. Share your calendar with your colleagues. Set up reminders with popups and/or e-mails. Embed your calendar in your blog or website. Encourage colleagues to subscribe to your calendar feed RSS.
Google Adwords and Adsense
So you've finally got your website off the ground and you're considering how to advertise your business to drive traffic to your site. Google Adwords (adwords.google.com) is a pay-per-click ad program that allows you to quickly and easily create an online ad campaign designed to meet your budget. Simply tell Adwords how much you are willing to spend per month on your campaign, and you will pay only up to that amount. Create a simple, eye-grabbing ad, choose keywords, and you're ready to go. You are charged only when someone clicks your ad.
Adsense (adsense.google.com) is a sort of reverse advertising. You place Google ads on your site and get a share of the revenue every time a user clicks an ad. You may not get rich, but at least it's something.