One of the hardest things small business people need to do is create from a blank slate. If you’ve started your own business, then you’re probably pretty good at it. But, you’re also probably smart enough to know that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. And when it comes to standard business documents, starting from a template is typically a great shortcut, provided you do enough customization to turn the template into a document that meets your exact business needs.

There are many websites offering templates for everything from business letters to video themes, and the content is of varying quality so it can be hard to know where to go first. A good place to start is the Template Gallery for Google Docs. (Yes, it is Google’s way of getting you to use its Docs suite, but you don’t need to use Docs to use the templates, as after they open in Docs they can be downloaded in a form compatible with your desktop software.)

There are 15 template categories including Business, Presentations, Calculators and Legal. You can filter each by type of document – spreadsheet, document, presentation, form and drawing. You should also use the language filter to narrow the results for your language (i.e. US English). Within any set of category filters, you can also use a keyword search to get to the exact type of template you need (i.e. cash flow statement). The filtered results can be sorted by star rating, most used, and “hottest.”

The Template Gallery is a collaborative environment to which anyone with a Google Account can post—so the content is uneven, and may contain sales pitches or links from a company trying to sell you something. However if you can ignore the noise, and know the type of document you’re looking for, you’re likely to find a template that will meet your needs.

So the next time you’re tempted to start a spreadsheet, form or presentation from scratch, check out the Template Gallery on Google Docs first.

Lisa Hephner

Lisa Hephner

My name is Lisa, and I’m the Vice President of Knowledge, responsible for the management of corporate, product, competitor, marketplace, legal, and regulatory knowledge, and creation and dissemination of knowledge tools using these assets to PaySimple prospects, customers, employees, and partners.

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