Our Favorite Google Apps Add-ons for Your Business

We are getting back to our review of our favorite Google Apps add-ons.  Last week, we were a little distracted, by the role big data and data mining played the election.  A couple posts back we discussed our favorite add-ons for Google Mail – this week our focus is on the business apps found in Google Marketplace.

YouCanBook.Me

This app is great for anyone that sets up regularly scheduled appointments, such as accountants, hair stylists, professors or therapists.  It provides you with a dedicated web page that allows your clients, students or colleagues to book appointments directly to your google calendar.  They will be able to view which time slots are available and with a click of the mouse and a few short questions later – their appointment is booked.  The event will appear in your calendar and you will also receive an email alert.

You control the aspects of your bookings:  the start/end of your workday and the appointment length.  You will be given the option of adding a logo to the top of your schedule as well as instructions.  YouCanBook.me can also be embedded in your blog or on your website.

Click here to learn more about YouCanBook.me

RapidTASK

RapidTASK is a powerful tool that makes it easy to collaborate with, and delegates tasks to, your employees and your peers.

Features include the ability to:

  • create unlimited to-do lists for yourself;
  • share lists to let anyone collaborate on a project;
  • delegate tasks to anyone’s email address;
  • track progress with email alerts; and,
  • sync with Google Calendar, Contacts, and Documents.

Click here to learn more about RapidTASK.

TripIt

Have you ever returned from a business trip only to discover that you and a colleague, that works out of a satellite office, were just in the same city, at the same time?  With TripIt groups, your business will allow your employees to see where and when their coworkers are traveling.  It makes it easy to coordinate travel plans, schedule meetings and events, and share rides to and from the airport.

It allows users to collaborate on shared itineraries.  It is also integrated with LinkedIn and Facebook so you can see how your travel plans overlap with the folks in your social networks.

Click here to learn more about TripIt.

What Google Apps add-ons do you think benefit your business the most?  Please share!

To explore all that Google Marketplace has to offer, click here.

Rich and The Water Cooler Effect

The Water Cooler Effect  n. The effect created by two or more employees having an informal, face-to-face conversation, as though at a water cooler.

This phrase was always synonymous with whatever was newsy and/or buzzworthy.  That pop culture or political event that you couldn’t wait to get to the office and talk about.   If this photo had been taken back in 1980, this group might be gathered around the water cooler to debate “Who shot JR?”

In this digital age, we go online to interact with each other.  We tweet what we find newsworthy.  I remember watching the presidential debates 4 years ago.  I had my laptop on my lap opened to my Facebook page.  I watched and participated in many conversations and debates that unfolded on Facebook through status updates and comments on statuses.   The Internet provides us with an opportunity to gather around the “water cooler” with our friends and family that live many, many miles away.

Here at Telovations, we don’t gather around the water cooler.  But we do have one spot that brings us together.

Rich’s White Board.

Every day we stop by Rich’s Corner of Telovations to check out his white board. He provides us with a fun little distraction – an excuse to step away from our desks for a second.  We have to know what the day has in store:

It may be an opportunity to celebrate a national holiday….

To welcome a new employee….

Sometimes, we all get in on the fun….

It’s a reminder that sometimes, it’s the little things that bring us together.

You can keep up with Rich’s White Board by clicking here and liking us on Facebook.  It is updated most days…we do have to let him do his job sometimes.

What about you?  Does your business have a unique way that brings your team together?  If so, please share!

How the cloud prevents lost data from turning into lost business

When I was a kid, there was one way to connect with my friends after school… through a telephone that was hard-wired to our kitchen wall.  You remember the kind, with a super long stretchy cord that just barely reached into the pantry where I could sit for some privacy (or am I dating myself here).   It could be so frustrating trying to get in touch with someone.  If they weren’t home, the phone would just ring and ring.  If they were home and on the line…the dreaded busy signal. I remember being amazed when call waiting and voice mail became available.  Suddenly, I knew who was trying to reach me.

In those days, you were very limited by how you could connect with people.  You had two choices:  via the phone or face-to-face.  The method of conducting business was one big paper trail.  Every contract, every correspondence, every note you took, you made a hard copy and stuck in a file folder.  When a client or prospect called, you would open your big metal file cabinet, pull out their folder, and all the information you needed was right in front of you.

Today, you can keep connected with your clients and prospects in so many different ways.  Now you can text, IM, post on Facebook, tweet on twitter, post and comment on blogs and even video chat through a host of different devices….cell phones, iPads, iPods, and computers.  Instead of a hard paper trail, most correspondences occur electronically.  Every contract, proposal, and email is stored on your computer.  You even save your notes on your computer.  It allows you to work more effectively and efficiently than you were ever able to do in the past.

But what happens if your computer crashes and you lose all your data?

Imagine, a large prospect is calling with questions about the proposal you sent them.   You sent it 3 weeks ago, so the details aren’t fresh in your mind.  Your computer has crashed and you lost all your notes on the prospect, on the contract and on the negotiation process.  This deal means a lot to you and your business and you can’t afford to trust your memory.

So what do you do?  Do you pick up the call and try to scramble your way through it?  Do you explain that you are having computer problems and let them know you will call them back once they are resolved?

It’s just like the old busy signal.  In the end, when your computer crashes and your data is not readily accessible – then from a customer perspective – they aren’t able to truly connect with you.  Most likely you were not the only business they received a proposal from, but you may have been the only business who didn’t address their questions immediately.  That could be all it takes to lose a deal.

There are an estimated 76.2 billions PCs are used in businesses throughout the United States.  That’s just in businesses.  Most data losses are caused by hardware failures.  Imagine 30.5 billion of those computers, laptops and desktops, failing and causing employers and employees to stop what they are doing to try and recover what is lost.  In most cases recovery occurs slowly and in some cases, not at all.

What can you do to prevent this?

If you trust in a cloud-based online file storage service, such as Google Docs or Dropbox, everything you need is stored securely and is easily accessible in the cloud.  You will not have to worry about losing business while you are working to rebuild your lost data, lost contacts, and lost client information.  The cloud ensures that you and your business keep your lines of communication open.  It’s like call waiting and voice mail for your computer – and no more busy signals between you and your customers!