Its been nine years since I have been working with G Suite. In the year 2009 I ventured into the world of entrepreneurship and started my first company. It was food tech business. We had a website to take orders but the entire backend operations was manual. We were heavily dependent on emails and spreadsheets. All the customer and sales data was on spreadsheets. Things were going until one fine day my laptop crashed. I lost all my data including the spreadsheets on which we had the customer information, sales data and receivables. I felt like the entire world came crashing down on me.
This is when one of my friends told me about G Suite (it was Google Apps back then). I signed up for the trial and loved in instantly. It was similar to my personal Gmail inbox but I could get an email address in the form [email protected] It came along with Google Drive, Google Calendar and Google Videos (deprecated now).
With Gmail I did not have to worry about my mailbox storage getting exhausted. I could send and receive any number of emails and the SPAM protection was much better compared to my old mailbox which was with GoDaddy. I could move all my spreadsheets and invoice templates to Google Drive instead of keeping it on my hard disk. I did not have a laptop back then, but as the data was on the cloud I could access it from an internet connected device.
Powerful email for all
Getting a powerful email at an affordable cost was a distant dream for freelancers and many small and medium sized businesses. G Suite changed all this in one stroke. Unlike Microsoft Exchange, G Suite does not require setting up complex servers and did not require paying huge license fees. This meant that anyone who wanted a robust email service could visit the G Suite website and register for an account. With few changes in the DNS G Suite was up and running in less than a day.
Managing my email with Gmail
Gmail forms the integral part of G Suite. It is similar to the consumer version but enabled for your domain minus the advertisement. The storage space was 30GB unlike the consumer version which had 15GB.
When I started using G Suite the first thing that I noticed was the lack of spam emails landing in my Inbox. It was the same email address that I earlier had with another service provider but since I migrated to G Suite spam emails just stopped. G Suite’s anti-spam was intelligent (powered by machine learning). As I started using Gmail the anti-spam algorithm became more and more efficient. It started identifying emails that could be spam only for me. This ensured that over a period of time there was literally no spam emails landing in my mailbox.
Manage emails with labels and filters
With my spam problem being taken care off, the next requirement was to manage emails effectively. This is were the labels and filters in Gmail came in handy. Labels could be roughly equated to folders in outlook and filters to rules.
Google refers to labels as folders on steroid. It is functionally different from Outlook folders but offer more flexibility and ease of use. For starters if I delete a folder in Outlook, I loose all my emails inside the deleted folder. On the contrary if I deleted my label in Gmail, I will not loose all the emails inside the label.
In addition to that emails can be filed under multiple labels in Gmail. For example, an email about sales targets from my boss could be filed under both “Sales” label and “Boss” label. To people who are new to the Gmail world this might sound confusing. But this could come in very handy at the time of search and retrieval.
Filing emails manually to the respective labels is time consuming and highly inefficient. Filters come in handy here. I can create filters for the most common emails in my mailbox and forget about manually filing them to respective labels. This would negate the need to manually file the emails to the respective label.
Email from any device
Google has been a pioneer in adopting a mobile first policy. All of the G Suite products have mobile apps, which makes it easy to access from any device. I access my emails through the Gmail app, schedule my meetings with the calendar app and work with my documents on the go with the Drive app.
G Suite also comes with a built in mobile device management which makes it easy for organisations to manage various mobile devices and encourage BYOD (bring your own device) instead providing company owned devices to everyone.
Powerful search for retrieving emails
Search is Google’s home turf and Gmail has a powerful search box to search and retrieve emails. I can either type search keywords into the search box or use one of the many search operators.
In the above screenshot I’m trying to retrieve email from or to altostrat technologies that has mention of invoice. I can use this to search the entire mailbox and filter it down to search inside a particular label or inbox or sent items.
On the other hand I can also use gmail search operators to to retrieve emails.
Some of the most common operators that I use are from, to, has:attachment. I can use multiple operators along with keywords at the same time. For example, I can use
from:[email protected] has:attachment invoices
to get emails from Nick that has attachment and has mention of the word invoices. As mentioned before I can use the operators to search the entire mailbox or respective labels or inbox or sent items.
Working with documents
Google Drive in my opinion one of the most underestimated apps inside G Suite. It is a potent tool to replace MS Office from your everyday work life. My macbook does not have MS Office or Openoffice installed. I last used MS Office in 2008 and ever since have migrated completely to google drive.
Google drive has web based word processor (Google Docs), a web based spreadsheet (Google Sheets) and web based presentation application (Google Slides). This means, that there is absolutely no need for you to have MS Office installed on your machine. You can create word documents, spreadsheets and presentations online.
Google drive also lets you create and edit documents offline. The moment your computer gets a live internet connection the data gets synced with the cloud. Being on the cloud does not stop you from working with your documents offline.
You can also upload all your existing documents (word, spreadsheets and presentations) to your google drive. You can convert these uploaded files into google docs format. Files in google docs format don’t consume storage space. This means if you convert your MS Office files into Google Docs format, then you can have unlimited files stored in your Google Drive.
Collaborate with team members
Internet has brought everyone close to one another and often there is a requirement for people to collaborate on the same document at the same time. In the Microsoft world this would have meant sending files with version numbers back and forth and then manually integrating all the changes into one final document. This is a time consuming and tedious process.
With google docs I can now share the documents with multiple people and we all can work on the document at the same time. Everyone’s changes are recorded and I can go back and forth to restore any version of choice. I can also make suggestions for changes (leave comments) for my collaborators (people with whom I have shared the document).
I do not have to send attachments anymore and as I’m the owner of the document I can revoke the access any time or I can also restrict people from making further changes to the document.
Scheduling with Google Calendar
I spend a lot of time in sales and most of the times I have a huge list of followups and meetings. I manage them using Google Calendar. For example if a prospective customer wants me to call him on the 1oth at 9am I create a reminder for myself on my calendar. I have the Google Calendar app on my smartphone and hence could receive alerts on my phone no matter where I’m.
Every Monday afternoon I open my sales pipe and start calling people. All the meetings and alerts I create on the calendar and no matter where I’m I get notified about my appointments.
My favourite feature in google calendar is the calendar sharing. If I have to organise a meeting with colleagues, I do not have to email them about availability. I can see their google calendar and invite them to a meeting if they are available.
Looking forward to hearing from you
I hope you found this post useful. You can reach out to me at info [at] asmallmango.com and I will be more than happy to answer your questions. Looking forward for your emails.