Welcome back for part two of PaySimple’s 5-part series; Why Every Small Business Should Use Google Apps. In last week’s post I talked about using Google as your email provider. This week I’ll be focusing on Google Drive, the cloud storage and document management aspect of Google Apps. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Drive, have no fear, I’ll have you drinking the proverbial Google Drive Kool-Aid in no time.
Anyways, back go Google Drive. Following the same format as last week’s post, let’s stroll down my personal memory lane and take a peek at how computer storage as evolved these past years.
1995 – I remember like it was yesterday. The UPS truck pulled into our driveway and unloaded 3 massive boxes with cow print on them. My family had just purchased a Gateway 2000. Complete with a 50 pound CRT monitor, never-would-function printer and a “high capacity” Zip drive. We didn’t get dial-up for another year or so. If you need a laugh, check out this funny Gateway 2000 commercial from 1994.
It was purely a word processing machine. I wrote many A+ 5th grade papers on that mighty machine; be it “History of the American Indians” or “Little Women: Then and Now”. I think it cost something like $3000. Yup, my Dad has confirmed this via text message. Jeez! I can’t believe we paid that much for such a generic computer. Back then, that was top-shelf home computing.
2000 – I purchased my first ever digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 3700. It came with a massive 64MB SD storage card and a whopping 3.2MP resolution. Who could possibly need more than 64MB of data storage or a sharper image? No one. Ever. I was positive of this.
On a side-note, when was the last time you actually saw someone carrying a point-and-shoot camera? I remember girls having them in college all the time. Talk about an industry that disappeared with the advent of the cellphone camera.
2005 – During my final year of high school, USB pen drives were just becoming popular. I clearly remember buying a 125MB pen drive and thinking it would last me the entirety of college.
2008 – I stumbled upon the University of Minnesota’s famous P2P network, The Hub. It could transfer at rates of over 100MB per second. Entire movies downloaded in seconds. It was amazing. That 125MB pen drive didn’t stand a chance against a 1GB movie file. So, I purchased an external hard drive. 250GB of storage and it only weighed…5 pounds. It even needed an external power cord to function. This was the real deal my friends.
2010 – There I was, sitting in a lecture at the Carlson Business School and someone whipped out a 1 terabyte, USB-powered, external hard drive – the size of my wallet! My 250GB external hard drive would serve me better as a paperweight. In tech terms, it was archaic.
2012 – I started my side-business(PaySimple is my 9-5 employer), bought a URL, and signed up for Google Apps for Business. Once I had my email set up, I stumbled upon this unique little thing called Google Drive. Little did I know, but I had officially entered the world of cloud storage.
Google Drive gives you the ability to securely save almost anything (computer-wise) in the cloud. For you non-techy-savvy business owners, this means that your document isn’t physically stored on any one device, but rather, it’s stored on a secure internet server and is accessible from any internet or data-enabled device.
As a small business owner, there are quite a few documents that you need to keep on hand. Seeing as paper documents are both risky (easy to lose or destroy), expensive to print, and kill trees, I decided to go entirely paperless. Instead of having a metal filing cabinet in my home office, I have a virtual filing cabinet in Google Drive. And let me tell you, it can store a heck of a lot more.
Here’s how I label and organize the folders of my business documents in Google Drive. Feel free to follow my lead and set your Google Drive folders up the same way:
Business Organization Documents
- EIN Form
- State Tax ID
- Articles of Incorporation
- Merchant Account setup forms
Sales & Revenue Documents
- Recurring billing invoices
- Monthly billing statements (from payment processor)
- Credit card processing statements
- All business purchase receipts (send the email receipt directly from Gmail to Drive)
- Smartphone snapshots of your odometer (if you drive or travel for work)
- All other digital receipts for incurred business expenses (legal, tax, marketing, etc)
- Website logo and other important Photoshop files
- Client-prospecting email templates
- WordPress backups in case of a website crash
Last but not least, Google Drive is also the home of Google Docs, the cloud-based suite of business productivity tools – better known as Google’s online versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. No need to buy expensive business software. Just log in to Google Drive and you can instantly start creating word documents, crunching numbers in spreadsheets, or creating boardroom presentations.
I’m a big fan of keeping my profit and loss spreadsheet saved in Google Drive so I can constantly update it with new clients or lost clients. Add to that the “client pipeline” spreadsheet and you’re golden. The best part is; Drive continually saves your files, so you never have to worry about losing another document again.
One last REALLY cool feature about using Google Docs – it dynamically updates as you’re viewing and editing with other people. Forget costly web conferencing software, you can share a doc with someone else and view and even edit it in real-time. This is great for reviewing proposals and reports with folks not in the same room (or city or state) as you. It’s basically like watching track changes happen in real time – super useful.
That’s it for this week’s post on Google Drive for Business. Come back next week when we dive into Google Voice, the one-stop-shop for small business time management.
Also, I wanted to make it clear that PaySimple is neither financially connected to Google Apps nor are we a Google Apps implementation company. PaySimple is a cloud-based payment processing solution for small businesses. After Part 1 of this series was published, we received some emails asking us if we did implementations of Apps. Nope, sorry. However, I’m sure there’s a popular search engine you could use to find someone who does.