World class athletes stretch their muscles all the time. It's super time-consuming, sometimes painful, and always annoying, but stretching is not just for show, it's for incredibly important maintenance, recovery and injury prevention.

I always maintain that sports and business have unlimited parallels. The small business parallel to stretching for athletes, is for small business owners to get their basic cloud based business tools straight.

I can't tell you how many times I've seen small business owners fumble around with email problems, ask for help with storage, deal with file sharing issues, and not really understand how well different aspects of their marketing and branding efforts are helping them grow their business.

Just like a runner or basketball player gets annoyed with stretching, small business owners HATE this stuff.

But they don't realize how much time their spending on fixing issues with it, rather than just streamlining to a few key tools, learning how to use those tools, then just KILLING IT at everything else.

First up...

Email - It's absolutely beyond me why any small business owner wouldn't use gmail for business email. It's part of GSuite. With it comes cloud storage, Google My Business accounts, Hangouts/Chat, and a very solid shared Calendar.

For $5/month per user, you get all of this.

For $10/month per user, each user also gets 1TB cloud storage. That's all of the cloud based storage any of your employees will EVER NEED. No need to also have Dropbox, etc.

There's just never been any problems with this email set up. My favorite thing is the unlimited storage and search-ability. You'll NEVER lose an email, and never have to delete an email. It's the most reliable storage / organizational situation I've used. And trust me, I've used them all.

Next up...

File sharing - G Drive, part of G Suite, allows for not only organized file sharing, but live collaboration between team members. Work in the same documents together. It's amazingly time saving and increases productivity like no other. You don't need Microsoft Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, as Docs, Sheets and Slides are all equipped with the tools you need to work, stay organized and collaborate with your team members.

No need to have anything stored on a server or a computer. The Google Cloud is reliable as hell.

G Drive also offers Google Forms and Google Sites, for those of you Small Business Owners who want to send surveys to employees or customers and gather / aggregate responses.

Lastly, for now - Google Analytics. My favorite thing in the world, besides WordPress, of course. Google Analytics allows you to place a snippet of code on your website and learn everything you'd ever want to know about your web visitors - how many there are, who they are, how they find you, and what they do on your website after they find you.

Google Analytics allows you to make strategic business decisions based on data, for free.

I've written about and spoken at length on several occasions about how everyone with a website needs to spend 30 minutes per month in Google Analytics.

Much like NOT stretching will increase injuries for athletes and cause their bodies to break down faster, NOT using these tools to make your business more efficient and cost effective will help you spend less time fumbling around with other horribly clunky tools and focus on things that matter, like giving your clients and customers the best possible experience.

Prevent business injuries and get stronger and more productive by using these Google Tools.

Thanks for reading - and have a great day!

Paul Hickey has created and grown businesses via digital strategy and internet marketing for more than 10 years. His sweet spot is using analytics to design and build websites and grow the audience and revenue of businesses via SEO/Blogging, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook and Instagram Ads, Social Media Content Marketing and Email Marketing. The part that he’s most passionate about is quantifying next marketing actions based on real data.

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