How Mynd uses G Suite to manage a flurry of acquisitions

Editor’s note:Today’s post is by Gordon Thomas, IT Architect for Mynd Property Management, based in Oakland, California and operating in 16 U.S. markets. Mynd uses G Suite Enterprise to manage acquisitions and keep its staff of 400 workers productive.

In the past six months, Mynd Property Management has doubled in size—in part by hiring, but also through acquisitions that help build our business. It’s an exciting time to be at Mynd—every week brings new people who need to be set up with email and network access, which can also be a bit hectic. To speed onboarding, we use G Suite Enterprise to get our new people working as soon as they walk through the door.

Streamlined onboarding
We started using G Suite when we launched the business because it fit our overall approach to technology—that is, deploying cloud tools that are flexible for our employees and easy for IT to manage. Good thing we picked G Suite, because given the pace of our acquisitions—13 at last count—we have our hands full with combining business systems and keeping people productive. Onboarding is literally 80 percent of our daily work! 

Some people on our team don’t have technical backgrounds, so we are careful to only introduce new software tools once people are prepared to use them. With G Suite, people need very little ramp-up time because it is an intuitive, integrated solution. In one of our in-person training sessions, we showed an accountant how to open up a Microsoft Excel file in Google Sheets, and he started working on it right away, without much help.

We’re a remote-first company, so working in the cloud is second nature to us. About 75 percent of our total workforce are remote full-timers. G Suite tools are optimized for mobile, so they’re especially useful for the 50 full-time property managers who work solely on mobile devices in the field. 

Better meetings, easier file storage
In Mynd’s early days, we used G Suite Basic, but upgraded to G Suite Enterprise after Google Cloud Premier Partner Suitebriar showed us the benefits of using tools like Hangouts Meet and shared drives in Google Drive. They’ve really helped us scale the business, so we can stay productive even in the midst of acquisitions—and of course, onboard people more quickly. 

Many G Suite tools have become things we can’t live without. Our executives got first crack at using Hangouts Meet Hardware, and loved it so much—especially the recording feature—that now all of our conference rooms have it. 

Google Drive got the same love from everyone. It’s all we need for file sharing and storage, which means we don’t have to pay for another storage solution. Drive also helps with onboarding; as soon we assign an employee a Google Account, she or he automatically gets access to the shared drives (in Drive) that they need to do their jobs. 

Customizing the tech stack
As much as we love G Suite, we still like to use some non-G Suite tools. It helps that we can tailor G Suite to fit in our technology stack any way we want. We’d never get that control and customization from other vendors in the productivity space.

For example, we love using Slack for internal chat and messaging, so we turned off Hangouts Chat. We like that we can control these channels, and that G Suite is not an all-or-nothing product. That means we’re not afraid to try out new G Suite features, since we can roll them back if they’re not right for us. 

The result of our day-to-day G Suite use is that we don’t suffer much down time even during acquisitions. We can pull relevant data from users’ old systems and easily automate user creation from start to finish. When we merge with companies that already use G Suite, we can move their data over to the business in less than a week.

When we recently moved over 80 new employees and 50 different web domains to G Suite, it was much less challenging than we expected. Since we don’t plan to slow down on acquisitions, we breathe easier knowing that G Suite keeps everyone working in the middle of so much change.

NomNomNow customers get their paws on personalized pet food with help from Chrome Enterprise and G Suite

Editor’s note: NomNomNow delivers millions of fresh, personalized meals each month for pets in the United States. Today, we hear from Lynn Hubbard and Dan Massey, who run operations and data, product and engineering for NomNomNow, respectively. Together, they discuss how cloud-based tools, like Chromebooks and G Suite, help speed up their manufacturing process to create pet-tastic meals more efficiently.

While hungry cats and dogs are waiting for fresh NomNomNow meals, we’re working hard at our California and Tennessee plants to fill orders for recipes like “Heartland Beef Mash” or “Flavorful Fish Feast.” Because we make pet meals fresh all day and ship them out as quickly as we can, the success of our business rests on the quality and speed of our manufacturing process. 

At every step in our production line, we rely on Google Cloud tools to help us push out information to our frontline workers so they can do their best work. Without tools like Acer Chromebooks, G Suite or Google Cloud Platform (GCP), the barrier to entry for our company would have been much higher: our manufacturing processes would require more investment in hardware and software, we’d need more worker training, and we’d spend more time developing custom applications. Here is a glimpse at how the cloud helps us throughout our manufacturing process.

IT and operation teams: collaborating to personalize pet cuisine
Before customers ever receive their pet food selection, we ask them to fill out a profile online with their pet’s name, age, weight, and breed, so we can customize meal portions. Based on these details, we’re able to make NomNomNow’s personalized customer experience possible. 

Personalizing pet orders requires a constant stream of information between our kitchen, packing and inventory teams. Our IT and operations teams partner closely to provide info, like flavors or portion requirements, to workers during every phase of meal prep and packing. To do this, we tested Chromebooks and G Suite, a web-based productivity system. This helped us develop a scalable process to serve our growing customer base. It also helped us pivot our technology on the production floor from paper to digital.

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The plant management team: recording and predicting inventory
Next up, actual pet food production. The production process all starts with plant managers who confirm that we have enough ingredients for our coming week’s orders. We use Google Sheets to collect back-end order information—and since Sheets are saved automatically in the cloud, we all work off of the same spreadsheet data, no matter which department or location we’re in. 

This data informs exactly how much food and packaging material is needed for an order. It also helps us compare the amount of inventory we have in our kitchens to the predicted sales inventory, so that we can plan properly for customers. Thanks to Sheets, we can skip building specialized apps to track production—one less expense.

The kitchen team: making tasty meals
After calculating the orders needed, we can create the meals. In our two plant kitchens, our staff of 75 don’t need to use individual computers. They can log in to any available Chromebook to look up recipes stored in Google Drive and figure out the correct ratio of, say, sweet potatoes to chicken in the Chicken Chow-Wow recipe. Employees also add data to production spreadsheets in real-time right from the kitchen floor using a shareable Chromebook, like how many batches they make and how quickly they complete a job. This helps us keep track of inventory more accurately and optimize production. 

Chromebooks are a scalable and cost-effective solution to help our teams collaborate. We don’t have to worry that we’re looking at old recipes or spreadsheets because shared files stay up to date within the cloud. Plus, Chrome OS updates automatically so we’re never operating with outdated software—we can cross antivirus checks and admin permissions off IT’s to-do list because it’s secure by design. It’s just a smarter way for us to work.

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The packing and inventory teams: food’s on the way
With the recipes completed, next up is packaging and delivering to customers. Our packers use Google Drive on Chromebooks to match customer orders to the list of our 75 product SKUs, and reduce batches to appropriate proportions based on each pet’s age, weight, and breed. Then our inventory teams jump on the Chromebooks to record every food package going out for delivery in Sheets. Those records tell us how much raw material we used to get the orders out, so our plant managers can order more for the next round of batches and orders. It’s a perfect loop. And for an extra personal touch, every NomNomNow shipment gets a packing slip with the pet’s name and food details. We generate these with custom software in GCP and print them via USB and Chromebooks.

Filling orders fast to feed hungry pets
With Chromebooks and G Suite, we can manage our business at the rate that our orders come in, which is quite frequent these days. We’ve even built a custom app using Google Cloud Platform to help people curb their pets’ cravings right away. 

Delivering healthy, fresh pet food at scale to our customers is our number-one priority, and cloud-based tools help us do it efficiently. Across the country, pets and their empty bowls are counting on us.

Modernize your business phone systems—migrate to the cloud with Voice for G Suite

For a lot of businesses, a missed call can mean a disappointed customer or potentially losing a sale. Because of this, phone systems are as critical today as they were before the Internet. And while most businesses recognize advances brought on by the internet—like email, the advent of online ordering and improved customer support—they often overlook an obvious one: phones. Business phone systems are now smarter, simpler to use and easier to scale, which is why companies are using Google Voice for G Suite, one of the latest add-ons to our productivity and collaboration solution.

Since its launch in April, Voice for G Suite has helped customers like Nielsen and Dow Jones start to migrate their phone systems to the cloud, offering their employees more flexibility in how they place and receive calls across all devices. When your business phone number is smart enough to know your schedule and block spam callers, you have the ability to better manage your most valuable resource at work: time. 

Voice’s functionality and availability continues to grow with new features and more countries. Here’s a snapshot of some of the latest additions:

  • Auto-attendant lets admins set up automated menus to route callers without having to record a message. Using Google’s natural-sounding Wavenet text-to-speech artificial intelligence, Voice can help read typed menus in up to nine languages. Plus, these menus can be set up or modified in just a few minutes.
  • In 9 countries and growing. Voice continues to expand with fully-compliant services in new markets with new countries to come very soon. See the full list here
  • Advanced audio controls let employees choose which microphone and speaker/headset they use during calls, and the device they want to hear ringing. For example, if you want to use a headset for your call audio and microphone, but aren’t always wearing it, you can select your laptop to ring so you don’t miss calls. Learn more.

If you haven’t looked into Voice for G Suite yet, now is a great time to get started. We’re making work calls feel less like work by bringing the simplicity, ease of use and smarts of Google Voice to business phone system. Reach out to your G Suite sales representative, reseller, or visit the Voice for G Suite website to buy online.

6 ways to save time when business keeps you on the go

Those of you managing your own business know all too well that work doesn’t stop when you leave the office—which could be your storefront, a warehouse, a spare desk in your living room, or a laptop at a café. And whether you’re sellingfashion, food or furniture, creating the next killer app orimproving patient care, you don’t want business to slow down when you’re working on the run.

With G Suite, you can save time and shift focus to the most important tasks, like hitting project deadlines or keeping customers happy. Use these six work hacks to stay productive from anywhere.

1. Work offline in Gmail, Google Docs and Drive. 
We’ve come to expect 24/7 Wi-Fi these days, but sometimes that’s not always the case. If you find yourself without Wi-Fi access, you can still work offline in Gmail, Docs and Drive when you’re working in Chrome browser. Whatever emails you write and files you update will get synced with Google once you get back on Wi-Fi.

Setting up offline access in Gmail is easy. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings in the top right of your Gmail.

  2. Under the Offline tab in the far right, select the “Enable offline mail” box. Note: you can even choose how many days of emails you want to store. 

  3. Make sure to click Save changes when you’re done.

  4. Now you can access Gmail offline by visiting mail.google.com. Just remember, offline features will only work within the Chrome browser. 

To work offline in Drive, Docs, Sheets or Slides, install the Google Docs Offline Google Docs Offline extension for Chrome. Follow these instructions

2. Write emails in less time.
Emails may only take a few minutes to write, but multiply that time by the number of messages you send in a day, and you’ll see what a big job email is. Gmail has features, Smart Compose and Smart Reply, that are powered by artificial intelligence to help you get through your inbox quicker. Smart Compose can help you write emails faster by suggesting common phrases, or even personalized suggestions, as you type an email. When they appear, simply accept the suggestions and get going by clicking the “Tab” button on the web (or swiping right on mobile). On the other hand, Smart Reply can help you reply to emails quickly with pre-suggested responses in your inbox. A few seconds saved here and there with predictive text can really add up.

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3. Set up and join meetings from anywhere—no PIN codes required.
Don’t glue yourself to a desk just because you have a conference call.  When you use Calendar toschedule a meeting in Hangouts Meet, the Hangout link and a dial-in number are added automatically to the invitation, so you can jump right into a meeting from your browser in one click

This means that you won’t need to send complicated PIN codes to attendees, unless they want to dial in from the phone. But don’t worry, you’re covered there too. Dial-in numbers are automatically populated in the calendar invite too, just in case!

Also, if you add the Meet app to tablets and phones, you can jump on Hangouts from just about anywhere (or work offline, like we mentioned).

If you have a larger office and several employees, Calendar’sautomatic room bookingfeature finds and suggests the most convenient rooms for you to book, as well as equipment available in each room like monitors or A/V tools . It’s handy if you’re trying to schedule a meeting quickly. To use this feature, your IT admin first needs to register meeting room details

4. Snap a photo to take notes (instead of typing them).
A picture doesn’t have to be worth a thousand words to save you valuable time on the go. UsingKeep, you can take pictures and add them to notes and lists of to-do’s. Taking a picture is much faster than writing out long notes—and the image can tell you much more than text can.

5. Prioritize files automatically. 
Moving files from paper to online storage can reduce clutter—but you still need some know-how and tools to help you find your files once they’re saved in the cloud. In Drive, there’s an option in the left-hand navigation called “Priority” that uses machine learning to predict and surface important files for you quickly. It can also suggest “workspaces,” which clusters relevant documents together to help you stay focused on certain projects. This way, your most important files appear as soon as you open Drive. 

Another option for finding files quickly is to download the Chrome extension, “Quick Search for Google Drive.” Use this extension to search for Drive files right within your Chrome browser search bar.

6. Create documents faster. 
Still typing out letterheads, headers, and footers within your document? Save time by using Docs templates. Or, usevoice typing, to put “pen to paper” quicker. Go to the “Tools” menu within your Doc (if you’re using Chrome browser), then click on “Voice typing” to speak and see text on-screen. You can even usevoice commands to change font styles, add tables, and insert links.

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It’s worth taking a few minutes to learn about how G Suite can help you power through your work in half the time. With any luck, you’ll save enough precious minutes to relax at the end of a productive workday.

How we scaled our sports apparel company using G Suite

Editor’s note:Today’s post is by Paul Serra, Co-Founder and CEO of the sweatband and sports apparel e-commerce businesses Suddoraand CustomOnIt. Paul and co-founder Adam Topping started the businesses in 2008 in their apartment. Today, they sell to major sports teams, retailers, and colleges, and recently expanded to the United Kingdom. Below, Paul shares his advice on starting a business from nothing but a good idea and help from G Suite.

There were several reasons why Suddora and CustomOnIt shouldn’t have been successes. My friend Adam and I were working in a Michigan video store, and knew next to nothing about running a business. We started with an idea to sell sweatbands, like the ones I used to wear in my band, and over several months managed to launch it legitimately. This led us to bail on the video store and move to Vegas—smack in the middle of the 2008 financial crisis. We lived on ramen noodles and little else for two years while we got the company going. Our friends took bets on how long we’d stay in business. 

But 11 years later, we have not one but several successful sports apparel businesses, I’m running a bunch of other e-commerce companies (including SweatBands.com), and we’re selling in the United Kingdom and soon in Asia Pacific. 

How did two broke-but-determined guys working in a video store get this far? We always believed in moving ahead, no matter what obstacles came our way—and we learned a lot about how technology like G Suite can make a small business look and operate like a bigger one, and how searching Google for business resources can pay off.

Starting with an idea, a domain and…ramen noodles
In my band days in Michigan, we tried to think of ways to get our name out there. Instead of the usual T-shirts or stickers, I pitched the idea of custom sweatbands since I wore sweatbands when I played guitar. I figured other people might like sweatbands with names of their bands.

We knew we needed a web domain and email addresses so we could sell online. We found out about G Suite during a Google search, and it seemed like the most pain-free way to get started by buying the domains Customonit.com and Suddora.com (Adam made up that name. “Sudor” is spanish for “sweat,” which is what the businesses were about, and we added the “d” and the “a” to make the name stand out.).

Even though the company was just me and Adam, we needed to look professional (and also a bit bigger than we actually were). With G Suite, we set up email aliases for various business functions, like [email protected] and [email protected], and arranged to route email from these addresses into our regular Gmail inboxes; that way, customers could easily reach us.

Scaling our business in the Las Vegas heat
Next, we decided to move to Las Vegas because, in the aftermath of the recession, we could live cheaply there. When we got our first big sweatband order from a major NCAA football team,  the momentum started. Now we had to scale up the business so we could handle more orders and deal with suppliers, even though we were still working out of our living room.

We grew to a five-person team, including a customer service person and a designer, and G Suite made it easy to onboard everyone quickly. In addition to giving new employees their own email addresses with the Suddora.com or STbands.com domain names, we routed emails to various people from the “help” and “sales” email aliases we had set up. We also made sure that all of our employees were set up on G Suite, too.

Once orders started to roll in from major fast-food restaurants, football teams, and sports apparel companies, our roles constantly changed. G Suite helped us shave off precious time by helping us manage email less manually—we automatically re-routed emails depending on who’s working on what. If I wanted to take on more sales work, I forwarded emails from [email protected] to my inbox with one click. Same thing with customer service: We never want to lose track of customer service inquiries, which are a high priority.

In 2009, a year after starting the business, Adam and I left our part-time jobs at a local department store to run the business full-time. We promised ourselves that when we hit a revenue target of $15,000 in one month that’d we’d buy a TV for the apartment—and we got that TV!

Going international (without leaving our office)
The business was taking off. We decided to split STbands.com into two websites: Suddora.com for sports sweatbands and CustomOnIt.com for custom apparel and party goods. We recognized that half our customers wanted athletic wear and accessories, while the other half wanted custom items like T-shirts and wristbands. It was a move that would allow each business to thrive.

Creating products and managing suppliers was getting more complicated. Once again, G Suite helped us move our business forward. We used Google search to find suppliers in China, and were able to set up supplier relationships and talk one on one with the people making our products—without extensive and time-consuming travel to China. You can accomplish so much with video meetings and chat.

With more suppliers and more customers, we needed to constantly up our game in terms of product design. When we create new designs it generates a ton of files and iterations, which get shared back and forth between pattern designers, photo editors, writers, and marketing professionals. To help centralize these files, we store everything in Google Drive so they can be shared and accessed anytime, from anywhere. For example, we use Sheets to house updated data on our products across all of our e-commerce platforms. 

Lessons learned
Eleven years on, I’m still learning every day about what it takes to run and grow a business. I think what helps is finding tools like G Suite that are so easy to use, you don’t need much ramp-up time to get started—nor do your employees. That means we’re all productive much faster. 

Also, you might be thinking about a million ideas for starting a business. But the truth is, you only need one—an opportunity that makes you think, “Okay, this is going to be big.” So go for it. You can’t afford not to.

How to start using G Suite in 5 easy steps

You’ve chosen G Suite for your business, and now it’s your job to get it up and running for you and your employees. It’s a big step, but one that will make it easier for employees to work together and go mobile. The step-by-step guide below will walk you through everything from setting up your account to training workers on the finer points of G Suite.

1) Sign in to your G Suite administrator account and set up your first users.
This is where you can manage all of the G Suite services for your business, including mobile device management, data migration, setting password requirements, and much more. This guide walks you through the admin sign-in process. 

After you sign in, you will need to set up your G Suite account by 1.) verifying you own your domain, 2.) adding user accounts for your employees, and 3.) when all employees have been added, setting up Gmail as your email client by updating your MX records. Don’t worry, none of these changes will affect your website, if you have one.


Insider tip: Changing MX records can take anywhere between five minutes and a couple of hours to take effect. In order to reduce disruptions, change your MX records at night or over the weekend when employees are less likely to be sending and receiving email.


2) Start a G Suite pilot program. 
Before you roll out G Suite to everyone, you may want to do a test run with a small group. That way you can collect helpful feedback about Gmail, experiment with migrating old emails and calendar events to G Suite, and configure G Suite for mobile devices. Your pilot group can test Gmail without changing their current addresses. 

Follow this five-step planto start your pilot program. 

3) Spread the word about G Suite and start training. 
Workers are understandably nervous when businesses introduce new technology. Reassure them with helpful emails to make the changeover go smoothly. Think about providing details to them about what to expect when data migration happens, or send welcome emails to new users with helpful tips on getting started with G Suite—you can find sample emails to help you get started here.

In addition, consider setting up internal training resources tailored to the G Suite tools that your users rely on the most. For example, if your users use a particular app frequently, consider providing them with a specific how-to guide on how to use that app. This will save you with support questions in the long-term. 


Insider tip: Once you have these support materials, consider making a quick, internal website for your team using Google Sites. You can add links from the G Suite Learning Center that relate to commonly-used tools, as well as house onboarding or training documents. Don’t forget to include contact info for IT team members who are available to help.


4) Migrate data such as mail, calendars, and contacts. 
This is a crucial part of the rollout, but Google has tools that can help make the migration go smoothly.  You’ll be able to migrate data from other cloud services including Gmail, or from enterprise servers housing your data. Choose one of the data sources from this list to get started.  

5) Set up G Suite on mobile devices. 
Securing endpoints like mobile devices is one of the best ways for businesses to keep data safe—and G Suite’s mobile management already covers more than 40 million devices. Basic device management is automatically enabled for your mobile devices that access G Suite. This means employees don’t have to install profiles on iOS and Android devices. Admins can also choose to opt for advanced mobile management from within the Admin Console to get even more security management controls to help them.

Got more questions about running G Suite like a pro? We have resourceson rolling out G Suite to employees, migrating and synchronizing data, and helping workers get familiar with G Suite. You can also check out our quick start guides that are customized to match the size of your company.

5 tips for onboarding your first employees using G Suite

Hiring your business’s first employees is a big step—but it can also be a bit scary. There’s the time you spend on training and orientation, not to mention setting people up to be productive right away. On top of all that, you still need to run your business and keep customers happy. 

If you’re worried about adding “human resources manager” to the many hats you wear, don’t be. From employee 1 to 1,000, G Suite’s easy-to-use tools can help you quickly hire and onboard new employees without adding too many more tasks to your already busy schedule. 

Here’s your to-do list for onboarding new employees—once you’re done, find more onboarding tips here.

1. Create a business email address. 
You’ll want your new hires to start emailing right away—but using their work email accounts, not their personal ones. It’s important to avoid having employees work from their personal accounts since it will be challenging to recover files. It also makes it harder to keep track of who has access to your company’s information.

When you’re ready, create email addresses in Gmail with a custom domain in order to project a professional image and show that you and your new hires are a team. It’s easy to do this using G Suite’s Admin console.

2. Share calendars. 
Of course, you’ll need to coordinate schedules with your employees. Instead of sending emails back and forth to book meetings or to log out-of-office times, add the employees to a shared Google Calendar. In a shared Google Calendar, you can keep track of the entire team’s schedule, not just an individual. Since calendar changes and additions are instantly displayed to all employees, it’s an easy way to make sure that you and your new hires are on the same page right from the start.

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3. Reduce paperwork clutter by creating shared folders online. 
Keeping track of paper forms is a headache. Try moving routine forms and employee handbooks to a template in a digital document and storing those forms in a shared Drive folder for access by your new hires. Also, create online checklists in Google Keep or Docs so that your new team members can get up to speed on their jobs quickly. Your checklists could include orientation meetings for new employees or a list of forms to fill out for health coverage.

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4. Create a training hub. 
Your first hires are hopefully just the initial step in building out a bigger (potentially global) team. To prepare for the future, begin building orientation materials and storing them in your shared Drive. For example, you can use Slides tocreate a slide presentation on policies for handling cash or how to process customer orders.

As you build out your orientation materials, think about creating a mini-onboarding portal in Google Sites to store them. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a coding expert to build a website in Sites—you’ll find tips herefor getting started.

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5. Chat about business even when you’re on the go. 
If you aren’t working in the same space as your new colleagues all day—maybe you both work from home, or you’re on the road a lot—chat and video meetings can help you quickly solve problems.  It’s also a great way to keep your Gmail from filling up with low-priority emails. 

You can set up Hangouts Chat on desktop computers, tablets, and phones so you’re always ready to send and receive messages. It’s also possible to search previous conversations for information, and start video meetings directly from chats.

If you’re considering adding more employees, you may be ready to take your human resources up a notch. Check out this article on the G Suite Learning Center for advice on how to create job descriptions, keep track of candidates, and interview by video.

How to start your small business online in three simple steps

You have your business plan and you have your idea, and now you need to get your business out of your head and onto the web. The thing is, as a small business owner, we’re guessing you wear many hats. You may not have a web designer or marketing manager to help you get your business up-and-running online—because that’s your job, too.

This is why we’ve created cloud-first tools that can help you manage your business, whether you need to get a website, create a business email, or collaborate on-the-go with employees.

If you want to get your small business online using G Suite, here are three simple steps to guide you through the process.

1. Buy a domain.
To establish your identity on the web, you’ll need to register a domain (the URL address you use to view a website and send emails). There are a number of companies you can use to secure a domain for your business, including Google Domains.

How to get a domain with Google:

  • First, pick a name.The email domain that you pick can tell a lot about your company and what it stands for. A good rule of thumb is to buy an email domain that’s unique, but that also quickly illustrates what your business can provide.
  • Second, figure out what type of domain you need. As you pick a name, you should also consider the type of domain you might need, like .com, .org, .photography or more. This can help you illustrate, or differentiate, your company’s mission right away (example: .org signifies a nonprofit cause). Check out alist of different domain options, as well as pricing details.
  • Lastly, sign up. Now that you’ve done your research and picked your domain, you’re ready to purchase your domain.

You can also buy domains and create websites through other companies, like Squarespace or Wix, and easily attach them to G Suite if you still need a business email.

Insider tip: A part of picking out the right domain for your business, is making sure someone else doesn’t already use it. Be sure to search if your domain already exists, and then check on social media to see if the social handles for that name are also available. If they are, sign up as soon as you can for social accounts using the same name as your domain. This will help round out your presence on the web and maximize exposure of your business.

2. Make a business website.
When starting a business online, you’ll want to stake your claim on some digital real estate. Websites are often time-consuming to create if you don’t have a plan in place first. Here’s our advice to help you set up your site:

Tips for building a business website:

  • Define a clear goal for web visitors. Think about what you want people to do when they come to your website. Do you want them to purchase your product or sign up for your newsletter? Then build your site layout and content with that specific goal in mind. It’s important to avoid spreading yourself thin with multiple goals—keep it simple with just one or two key goals and optimize your site to reach them.
  • Plan your page hierarchy. Create an outline of what pages you want to include on your website, such as a “home” page, “about” page, or “pricing” page. Thinking through your page hierarchy upfront will help your customers navigate through your site easier and find the information they need quickly. This can also help you avoid having to update web pages later.
  • Build a budget you can stick to. Take a look at your budget and your schedule and see how much you can dedicate to this website. Your website is like a product, so you can consider the first iteration of your site as the minimum viable product that you need to create. Do you need a shopping cart? Do you need a blog? Make sure to check the boxes for the minimum website features that your business needs to run first. Once you have your requirements, you can make your money work for you and either DIY-it or hire a designer to support you with more complicated elements.

Insider tip: Take your website up a notch and think about the mobile experience of your site. You only have a few seconds to catch people’s attention on their phones.  

You can use Think with Google’s tool, Test My Site, an easy way to measure your website’s performance on mobile. Enter your web address into Test My Site, and you’ll receive a report with your site score and a list of specific fixes that can help your business connect more quickly with people online.

3. Set up a business email.
A key part of your business is the relationships you’ll build. Relationships are built on communication, so you’ll want to set up an email address at your own domain so you can be contacted easily. More than 5 million paying businesses rely on Gmail for their professional email address to keep their companies running smoothly, particularly because of built-in security protections that block 99.9 percent of phishy emails.

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When you create a custom email using your new domain, people outside of your business will know where they can reach you professionally (for example, “[email protected]”). With Gmail, it’s easy to collaborate and stay productive—both online or offline and on any device. If you’re ready to set your company up with a business email, start here.

Insider tip: At this point, it’s also a good idea to consider which email aliases you want to use for your business, like “[email protected]” for sales inquiries or “[email protected]” for support issues. When you’re first starting out with G Suite, emails sent to your aliases will be automatically forwarded straight to your inbox. Later you can change it to other inboxes once you add more team members to your G Suite account.

Building your business’ future
Now that you’ve set your business up online, it’s time to take it one step further by using productivity tools to house your documents, plans, and presentations. As you add new members to your team and grow your business, you can use G Suite apps to store all of your files and to collaborate in real-time. Build project proposals in Docs, crunch business data in Sheets—and have it all automatically saved in Drive. You can even set up video conferencing in Hangouts Meet to help your team stay connected no matter their location.

G Suite includes all the applications you need to get work done, and to get it done fast. Try it out for yourself, or reach out to our experts if you have questions in our G Suite community.

3 reasons to consider G Suite for your growing business

As your business scales, what were once relatively simple tasks like onboarding new employees, maintaining data security, or organizing your files become increasingly complicated. Customers often tell us that their move to G Suite helped ease these growing pains by allowing them to grow seamlessly,  stay secure, and be as efficient as possible.

1. Growing businesses use G Suite to grow.
Collaborating with coworkers despite distance, maintaining a corporate culture, and onboarding employees are just three examples of core business activities that don’t traditionally scale well. However, cloud-based tools like G Suite can help alleviate some of this complication by allowing you to scale your teams faster, and more efficiently, around the world.

Take onboarding for instance. With G Suite, getting new team members up and running is as simple as a few clicks in the Admin console.

Twinkl Educational Publishing saw these benefits firsthand as they grew their team from 100 people in one country to more than 500 people in 14 countries (in just three years!). Pete Casson, Twinkl’s Chief Technology Office, remarks that “G Suite enables us to grow without barriers.” The now global and highly-remote Twinkl team relies on G Suite to collaborate, using Hangouts Meet to power daily standup meetings, Google Drive to ensure documents are always available and secure, and Hangouts Chat to help teams communicate quickly and move work forward. G Suite is central to Twinkl’s global growth strategy and their goal to be a geo-independent company.  

2. Growing businesses use G Suite to stay secure.
Cyber attacks on growing companies can be detrimental, as one breach is often the difference between success or failure. In fact, according to AppRiver, nearly half of small and medium businesses say a major data breach would likely shut down their business permanently.

The risks are serious, they are also often preventable. While the vast majority of cyber attacks start with a phishing email, Gmail prevents more than 99.9 percent of spam, BEC threats, and phishing emails from ever reaching your inbox. Administrators can also set rules to stop sensitive data like social security numbers or specific medical information from being maliciously—or, more often, accidentally—shared externally.

Zenconnect, a small cloud service provider based in France without a dedicated security team, chose G Suite because it makes it simple to configure, manage and ensure security for their company. As a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) customer as well, Zenconnect takes advantages of the close integration between G Suite and GCP to manage access and identity all within the same console, greatly simplifying setup.  G Suite is also equipped for the toughest security and privacy standards, including GDPR, an important consideration for Zenconnect and many other companies.

3. Growing businesses use G Suite to be as efficient as possible.
Finally, if you’re trying to scale your business, you’re likely operating full-steam under resource constraints. This means being efficient isn’t a luxury for you—it’s a necessity.

G Suite is infused with Google’s artificial intelligence, which means it can help companies get work done faster than ever before. For example, assistive technology in Drive can help surface relevant content quickly so users don’t have to dig to find information, and in Gmail, AI can help you draft emails faster or even remind you to take action.

The nature of G Suite’s cloud-based tools also means there is no waiting for systems to update and minimal downtime. Even if an employee spills coffee on their computer, they can quickly get back up and running from any device with a web browser. And close integrations with other apps like Salesforce, SAP, and DocuSign can quicken workflows.

A recent report commissioned by Google and Forrester estimates that companies that adopt G Suite realized a 3X ROI in cost savings in just three years—reflected by increased employee efficiency, reduced tech support, retired on-premise hardware and consolidated software licenses. We hear from customers everyday about these types of efficiencies, like global retailer GANT, which was able to open their new flagship store 75 percent faster than usual—just 3 months, instead of the typical 12.

Getting started
If you want to set your business up for success, it’s time to consider investing in truly cloud-native tools, which can open up opportunities for growth, increase security for your company data, and, most importantly, save you time and money. To learn more about G Suite, visit gsuite.google.com.

Google partner Promevo helps customers move to the cloud by sharing its own Chrome Enterprise and G Suite story

Editor’s note: Today’s post is by Aaron Gumz, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Promevo, one of the largest Premier G Suite, Google Cloud Platform, and Chrome Enterprise resellers in North America. Promevo, based in Burlington, Kentucky, has three offices, and uses Chrome Enterprise, G Suite, Google Cloud Platform, and Hangouts Meet hardware to run every aspect of the business.

We’re a small organization, with 50 employees that work with companies of all sizes. That used to mean a lot of time-consuming and expensive business travel, and major upkeep of computers to keep people productive. In our startup days, we used to spend thousands of dollars to restore data every time a Windows desktop or laptop hard drive failed. We were previously standardized on Windows Exchange Servers that needed constant maintenance. At any company, device failures are a major event, costing money as well as employee down time.

Once we went all-in on Google Cloud, we were able to cut down on travel, minimize IT maintenance, and scale our small business so we could operate like a large one. That’s why we speak from experience when we tell customers about the value of Google Cloud. We’re in the perfect position to solve customer problems like helping remote employees work together, moving away from legacy systems, and reducing IT headaches.

Promevo uses every Chrome Enterprise and G Suite: from Chromebooks, Google Docs, and Google Drive in offices and on the road, to Hangouts Meet hardware to stay in touch with sales teams, and Google Cloud Platform to build new apps. We like to say that we don’t just talk about use cases—we live them. Our competitors may have more employees, yet enterprise customers like Uber, Mailchimp, and Shopify constantly want to work with us.

Because we are a certified Premier Google Partner and use Google Cloud tools all day, we know what works for businesses of every size and in every industry. Every quarter we rotate out our employees’ Chrome devices so they can test all screen sizes and features. We use their feedback when we suggest Chromebook and Chromebox models to customers based on their budgets and five-year plans.

Since we are a Chrome-first business, we advise customers that Chrome OS is the foundation for their cloud journey, especially with virtual desktop tools like Citrix added in. Many customers want to move beyond on-premise software and high-maintenance hardware, even though they rely on legacy applications. For example, we helped a new hospital customer adopt Chromebase desktop computers with Citrix so employees can access clinical applications, while benefiting from cloud flexibility.

A big frustration for our customers is connecting employees to each other, and to customers. With three offices, we can relate. We have Hangouts Meet hardware in every conference room, which helps us meet with sales prospects to have real conversations. It’s more cost-effective than sending salespeople out on the road. For internal meetings, Hangouts Meet makes us feel like a unified team in a way that phone calls and emails can’t do—for example, while in a Meet meeting, we use a shared Google Doc to take notes while we talk and use Jamboard to bring our ideas to life.

We also use Hangouts Meet for customer support. Instead of sending emails back and forth, customers can see and hear us talking through their challenges in real time. Once we started using Hangouts Meet for support, our customer satisfaction ratings improved significantly; today, 80 percent of our customers say they’re happy with our services overall.

When our customers struggle to maintain workplace devices, we share our story. Switching to G Suite, Chromebooks, and Chromeboxes saved not only repair costs, but helped us reduce our dependence on internal IT services. Our IT team, which used to help us recover from hard-drive disasters, can now focus solely on assisting our customers.

For customers that need productivity solutions to grow their businesses, we advise them to do what we did: build the tools in-house on Google Cloud Platform (GCP). We can quickly spin up apps to solve our business problems. We created a purchasing system that makes it easy for our customers to buy products online, and a sales intelligence tool to continue to improve our customer relationship management systems.

Every day, we find ways to use Chrome devices, G Suite and Hangouts Meet to work smarter instead of harder—and to help our business operate like a large enterprise. These tools fueled our own growth, so when customers ask us to help them move to the cloud, we’re their best example of success.