We are inundated by a deluge of online business management and office tools these days and it seems like a new product appears every month. The choices are overwhelming. Which, if any, might be useful to meet your business or personal needs? Or maybe you say the heck with it and continue to use whatever you’ve been using if it works well enough?
But eventually, one must update. I decided to give the laggards a nudge and take a look at some Google products. Google Office Tools have several cloud-based options and the standard versions are free. Premier versions, which give greater data storage and unlimited customer support, are $50.00/year. Here are a few online tools to consider:
Google Calendar App is a platform to schedule meetings and other group events. Calendar can be employed by multiple users in real-time, since it functions in the cloud, directly from the internet. When a meeting or other event is scheduled, Calendar will automatically generate confirmation emails for those who RSVP that they will attend and add the meeting to their calendars. It’s also possible to merge the groups’ calendars with your own and thus manage a team’s schedule. If you’re working with a team on a project or sit on a board, Google Calendar is an excellent way to get everyone on the same page about scheduling and attending important meetings.
I’ve been part of team projects that used Google Docs and can vouch for its usefulness. If a group is creating and editing a report, proposal, or other document, there’s nothing better. Multiple parties can make additions / revisions simultaneously and real-time chats and comments that provide feedback are possible. Changes are saved automatically and often, another desirable feature. The downside is that your documents, when printed out, may not look as slick and professional as those created in Microsoft Word.
Technically not an app, AdWords (and WonderWheel) are nevertheless fundamental to the basic marketing strategy of every business. Good AdWords steer the marketing team (that would be you, Freelancer) to distill the business value proposition down to a concise phrase that prospective clients will understand immediately. From there, you integrate that and other key phrases into text that is used on your website, Facebook and LinkedIn pages, advertising and in your elevator pitch. One can pay for Google AdSense and get wonderful long-tail key words, but why not start with the free versions http://adwords.google.com and http://googlewonderwheel.com
Because the presentation is stored in the cloud, it’s possible to create and update presentation slides from any computer and that can be a real convenience. Presentations also makes it easy to insert images and video into your slide show. Moreover, the template library allows you to collect and save whatever images or video you might want to weave into future presentations. Best of all, it’s easy to publish the completed presentation onto YouTube, your website, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other sites of choice.
Alas, Presentations is not Power Point. Those for whom esthetics is important will find Presentation design features lacking. Worse still, Presentation text boxes don’t work well and as a result the layout can become skewed, unless you are very proficient at navigating the system.
If a team must develop a spreadsheet, the availability of cloud-based access is crucial. Real-time updates are included in the basic spreadsheet functions and there is even automatic compatibility with Excel. The auto-fill function allows you to avoid the necessity of re-typing the same terms over and over. The ability to drag columns to new locations and a stream-lined copy feature that makes duplicates in one click are very useful and ease the drudgery of producing spreadsheets. The unfortunate part is that the Spreadsheet App is clunky when compared to the gold standard that is Excel. For example, the system is known to freeze up as you’re working–ugh!
Thanks for reading,