colombo design studio logo

We design great products

Product design is what we do. We take an idea, some functionality, a brand identity and a lot of creativity and we bring it all together to make real products that have real purpose.

November 8, 2012 By adminCDS

Why I use Google Apps for my New Business

As everybody knows email is a crucial communication tool for any business, and these days it seems to be necessary to carry that information with you wherever you go. When starting a new business it’s important to start off on the right track with your email solution as complications down the line can prove a real headache. I know from personal experience how *fun* it can be to try and maintain and recover backups of a Microsoft Exchange server, while people are clamouring “That email I sent last week, I cant find it, WHERE IS IT??!!”.

Luckily, Google allows you to let them handle all of the back-end drama, whilst providing a fantastic cloud-based email solution based on their Gmail system. What’s even better is that for up to ten users it’s absolutely free, with a generous 10Gb storage per user. Furthermore, you also get the other cloud-based applications such as a calendar system (including the ability to have multiple and shared calendars), Google Docs (which is like an online Office suite), Google+ if you want to get all social, Sites and much more. Because all your data is in the cloud on Google’s servers, you can let them handle back-ups, security, maintenance etc and get on with running your business. Similarly, you can access your data anywhere you have an internet connection, and on pretty much any device, including your documents and presentations, spreadsheets, contacts and everything else.

“But I need to have my business domain for my email” I hear you cry, “ is simply not professional enough.”  Well, this is taken care of too as Google Apps for business works with your registered domain name.  And if you’re with one of the major domain registrars the process is fairly well automated, which means you can be up and running on the Gmail system in a matter of hours.

So if you want to give it a go, here are a few pointers:

  1. First you need to register your chosen business domain name. There are literally hundreds of places to do this, but a few I’ve used include, and I’m not endorsing anyof them… I tend to just look for the best deal I can get. Watch out for GoDaddy as they up-sell like crazy and their interface is designed to lead you into buying more things, many of which you dont need! Remember that you dont need website hosting for your email to run as it will be hosted by Google, you only need that if you want to publish a website.
  2. Once you have your domain registered then head to this page and choose your pricing plan. As you can see, the first one is free for ‘individuals and small teams’ (which is the one I use). You are then lead through the registration process, including inputing your domain name and business details. You’ll need at least one other email address before you start, such as your regular Gmail address.
  3. You’ll need to verify ownership of the domain and transfer the MX records for the email pointers. This is a little bit techy and can get confusing, but if you’ve registered your domain through one of the major suppliers, such as GoDaddy, then there is an automated service that does it all for you. Otherwise Google provide very good instructions on how to do it so you just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with it!
  4. You’re then led to an administration panel for your new Google Apps system, which allows you to set up users and their email addresses, which applications you want running, mobile device services and so on. This is a step-by-step walk through, but you can return to the administration panel at any time to make changes (From the ‘tool’ menu in the Gmail interface there is a link to ‘Manage this domain’, but only from the administrator account, which should be your one if you’re setting it up!).
  5. If you use a regular Gmail account as well then you’ll want to switch on the multiple account sign-in setting otherwise you’ll only be able to view one at a time. Alternatively, you can use different browsers to sign-in to your different accounts without needing the multiple account sign in.
  6. One useful tip is to set a different logo for your business email so that if you also have a regular Gmail account you dont get confused as to which one you’re using. This can be found under Domain Settings > Appearance from within the administration dashboard.
  7. That should be it! Now you can visit the sign in page, use as your sign in credentials and off you go : Gmail for your business! Now you can get on with getting your big idea onto the market without worrying about missing or losing an email along the way.