Yesterday, I talked in a post about Todoist, and what a great tool it is for entrepreneurs (or anyone else) who are looking for great tools that help them get their work done and are to be free, fast and simple. These three tenets more than any others are really the core attributes of what makes a compelling value proposition for entrepreneurs like me looking for a tools and software to help them get stuff done. I use these things everyday at Moonshoot.
Today, as much as it pains me given my strong and positive feelings towards Microsoft, my past employer, I’ve got to give up props to Google for a several things of theirs that’s free, fast, simple and very useful.
First, Google Apps deserves a shout-out. Here any start-up can get their hands on email, calendaring, and the equivalent to a front-end web portal (i use all this stuff) as well as a hosted home page (i don’t use this). This stuff is all easy to use, it’s free, and it looks great to customers and anyone else. My email comes through as firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can send calendar requests / S+’s to anyone.
The mail not only looks professional, it’s snappy performance-wise, and you can access it from any PC. The calendaring feature is also well done. One of the very nice touches that I find very useful is how smart the Google apps are at taking context from my mail and pre-filling event details.
The screenshot below shows how this works. I write a mail saying “How about meeting at Starbucks tomorrow at 9am?” When the recipient looks at the mail, there’s the part on the right side, which suggests adding it to the calendar. I can merely click, and pow! it’s added to my calendar. Saves time, and very useful. Eerily accurate too!
All this being free is a no brainer, relative to Hosted Exchange. (Again, sorry Microsoft.)
Second, GrandCentral, now part of Google, is another great free tool for start-ups. It basically gives you one phone number that will ring on any phone you designate. It’s got a ton of other features (call screening, call blocking, call recording, etc.), but to me the thing I love is having one number that can ring anywhere. This simple feature gives me a big company PBX like presence, with a free, no money down cost. Very useful if you’re moving from the home office to the garage to a temporary office, or if you’re traveling. Awesome.
Third, Google Analytics for web site information. This free tool to track and analyze your web site traffic boggles my mind at its usefulness and simplicity. I’m not a technology guy, but I was able to get this integrated in my homespun web site in less than 3 minutes. The level of data and information it provides is outstanding.
So those are 3 free things that I recommend for any entrepreneur or start-up person from Goog.