Google Spreadsheets As A Management Scorecard

Managing the performance of your team or partners can be challenging if the debates are around qualitative information. Yet, we often base our judgments on subjective criteria such as likability or appearance. This leads to ambiguity around success.

It can be difficult to get true metrics from a sophisticated database on sales performance, support responsiveness or customer satisfaction. One of the ways to keep control and transparency in a business relationship is to create a scorecard. This can be done between individuals or organizations as a way to measure success towards a mutual goal.

Google Spreadsheets is a great way to keep a management scorecard to measure and track metrics. We all know about the flexibility and power of creating spreadsheets based on the computations and data relationships custom for a situation. Thus, in Google Spreadsheets, your ability to create rows and columns of data makes for a way to record what counts in your business relationships. Here is what you can do to create better agreements and accountability:

  • Agree on what success means.  Whether it is a revenue number by a certain date, customer conversions or a response time, be sure that there is agreement between you and your customer, employee or partner. If they are not bought in, then there will not be a relationship between the desired actions and what you are tracking.
  • Create the template.  Lay out your Google Spreadsheet with columns and rows for where the data will go. Create areas for equations that summarize the information. Be sure to test the tool to ensure that everything works.
  • Use charts and graphs. Now integrate a chart or graph with the data to show progress and visual indicators of the data. This is powerful for communicating what is happening in a snapshot. Be sure that any goals are also reflected to show the gap between today and the goal.

After your spreadsheet is set up, share it out. It is secure in Google Apps and is now a place for private communications and accountability between you and any others that need to be on the same page.

Have regular meetings around the scorecard and data to review how to get to the goal. You may have multiple spreadsheets to manage your vital business relationships. It removes the ambiguity and focuses everyone on the facts.

What kind of scorecards would be valuable for your work?


Google Sites Blogging With Announcements Page

Within Google Sites, you can create a type of page which is called Announcements.  This is a powerful tool for helping to align your internal team or a select external team.  It is secure, private and integrated into your organization.

While public blogs can be accessible by everyone, a blog within your Google Site can be a way to nurture, inform and inspire a team.  A login is required by your team member for access.  Here is how some of our consulting clients have implemented strategies for business growth:

  • President’s Thoughts.  Leadership is key to business.  Aligning your team around your thoughts helps everyone get on board with vision and strategy from the top. Having your CEO or President share their thoughts on the business with transparency opens the dialogue. Comments can be left by readers for collaboration.
  • Product Blog. As projects around products are ongoing, the context and progress can be documented by a team sharing their wins and struggles.  This helps to keep everyone anticipating and in tune with what is happening for an impending launch. Post-launch content can shift to customer reactions and user requests for improvement.
  • Customer Stories. To help everyone in your organization see the context of a product or service, the various use cases can be documented and published as a separate blog. Various functions within your company can use this as a resource to improve how they serve the customer.
  • Teamwork Highlights. Creating heroes from your team is another way to drive recognition within your organization. Capturing the concrete accomplishments of various team members within a blog dedicated to your teamwork helps to reinforce positive behaviors and results.

Your Google Sites are part of a larger way of coordinating a growing organization. Using internal blogging is a form of leadership via a convenient and accessible communication channel. Consider how your company would benefit from getting on the same page.

What do you think?  Feel free to comment below.


Google Plus Integrated With Google Apps

Google Apps users can work seamlessly with social media in Google Plus.  It is now a Google App within the navigation bar.  As Google continues to make headway into the marketplace and the thaw of Facebook and Twitter occurs over time, this is a valuable app for business users.

Here are some strategies to make this system work for you:

  • Set up a thorough profile.  You are searchable within the Google Plus social media system.  Be sure you have keywords in your profile and a close picture of yourself that is professional.  If you have already set up a previous profile, be on the lookout for the migration tool.
  • Create circles.  These are controlled layers of relationships which have varying access to your information.  It is an easy way to group people with different securities.
  • Plus 1.  This is one of the most powerful aspects of this new social network.  SEO value can be increased from weighted values of Plus 1 votes, similar to a Facebook Like.  Click this for articles and web pages you encounter via search.  Page rankings are affected positively for search.
  • Create remarkable content.  Use the forum for posting your ideas.  Ideas are larger than a Twitter tweet and can delve into what you stand for.  Being in a social network, this enables a deeper level of collaboration around professional topics.
  • Provide value.  Follow various conversations and get the hang of what your circles are talking about.  When you feel like you can add value, jump in and do so.  It is a place to connect and bring value to others.

Explore this powerful app.  Make connections and business happen.

It is still early to see how far Plus will work to help you grow your business.  However, being integrated with the suite of Google’s offerings gives real advantage to this system compared to competitors.

Feel free to connect with me on my Plus account and let me know what you think.


Google Sites For Analysis And Reporting

The beauty of Google Sites is that it is secure and collaborative.  That balance allows for opportunities to work and present your services in an experiential fashion with your customers.

One of the areas where Google Sites can work to provide a personal and customized branded experience for your customers is with proposals and reporting.  This format traditionally is sent in an email with a pdf or Microsoft Word format.  However, you can do more with a Google site in the way of presentation and working with your prospective customers.  Here is how you can set this up as a process and system for your team:

  • Customize a site.  Make a specific site for your customer.  Provide their branding, especially their logo, in the header information.  Use domain mapping to provide a unique and memorable subdomain to their site.
  • Record journal entries.  Use the Announcements type page on your site to record reverse chronological documentation of your engagement with a customer.  Insert graphical images and make each post a comment which invites collaboration.  They can leave a comment for each post.
  • Measure visits and responses.  Subscribe to any site changes to be notified of any comments to the content you post.  Also, use Google Analytics to measure your visitors, especially if several people are beneficiaries of the information.
  • Integrate Google Spreadsheets.  Anything which requires calculations and graphs should be done within a Google Spreadsheet.  Insert these as custom pages and allow the data to be navigated in the context of your presentation.
  • Provide checklists.  Checklists can help your customer see what you are going to do with the data.  Maintain a checklist of items of actions you will take to improve on the metrics.

Over time, your Google Site becomes a hub to track and interpret information on projects or systems you may be measuring.  It is valuable because it has your advice and interpretation of the data.  It is more than a sterile report from a system.

What are some ways you can use Google Sites to serve your customers using these strategies?  Feel free to comment.


Google Docs Templates

Reinventing your documents is both tedious and unnecessary. Use Google Docs templates to be able to systematize your business workflows and process.  This increases productivity and collaboration for your team as well as drives predictability.

Creating a Google Docs template for Google Spreadsheets, Docs and Presentations is done within the respective Google Doc. Lay it out and simply save it as a template file.  It will be stored within your template library and users within your organization can then use it after you share it out with them.

Make It Easy And Predictable

Your Google Docs templates should do the following:

  • Preserve brand consistency
  • Present your work professionally
  • Make getting things done faster
  • Build an information asset

Each template provides an item in your library which is accessible for your team wherever they may be.  Furthermore, it provides a suggestive database of the kinds of documents to push forward sales, service and marketing.

Some Google Docs Template Ideas

In our Google Apps consulting work, here are some template ideas which you can develop in the course of doing business:

  •  Sales proposals.  Lay out the flow of the document.  Who you are, terms and conditions and a scope of work can all be included as part of the template and sections can be left blank for filling in later for each proposal your sales team generates.
  • Spreadsheet invoices.  With calculated field values, you can enter in line items for your products and services.  Send the invoices as a PDF straight from Google Docs or share them securely for your recipients.
  • Training presentations.  Provide a format within a Google Presentation document and allow your team to create multiple training documents.  Store these within a Google site for a specific customer to help them have a living resource of information.
  • Marketing product brochures.  These can be laid out in a Google Doc or Presentation.  Provide updated and fresh information which is shared with a folder for the sales team to use and share with prospects.
  • Project management schedule.  For planning and resource management, create a Google spreadsheet with calculated values to set up a project and schedule out milestones and deliverables.

Keep your Google Docs organized within folders and monitor the sharing to ensure there is full sharing with the right groups in your organization.  As your library of templates grow, customizations and automation can be further implemented for more specific types of documents.

What are some templates that you have benefitted from?


Google Voice Rocks

Your Google Apps organization can take another step towards organization, productivity and automation using Google Voice.  Google Voice has a variety of ways to be customized for each user’s workflow.  I personally use Google Voice as a strategic cloud computing app in the midst of my business day.  Here are some things I do that can help your users:

  • Keep a tab open.  Along with my Gmail, Calendar and project management system, I have Google Voice opened.  I can quickly look up a Google Contact and dial from the interface.  The caller ID will be from our AscendWorks Austin area code regardless of where I am.
  • Manage your inbox.  I manage voice as an inbox much the same way I do with Gmail.  You can use stars, archiving and search to find past voicemails.
  • Leave messages for yourself.  This can convert your messages into text for archiving and search.  This is very powerful for managing your thoughts and actions.
  • Account for your activities.  You can work through a call list quickly from a sales or customer service role.  The work is documented and useful for accountability and reference later.
  • Text from your keyboard.  This is a lot easier than using your thumbs on your mobile device.  It is also documented in your system.
  • Make it easy.  I have an embedded Google Voice widget on my site at  A person can click and talk to me instantly wherever.  It makes it easy to tell them to go to my site and give me a call.
  • Control of my incoming calls.  I can instantly change rules for how inbound calls are handled.  This comes in handy depending on what I am working on or what meetings I am in.  I can change the customer experience whether it is a new greeting or an unwanted solicitor.

From an organizational standpoint, Google Voice enables effective management of call activities.  They are documented and the workflow is integrated within the Google Apps system of your organization.  It’s a powerful tool that is part of the overall suite of cloud applications.

Want to learn how to implement this for your organization?  Call me.

What can such a solution do for your productivity?


Google Apps And Building A Virtual Organization

Google Apps allows you to grow an organization in the cloud.  Your team can work in a virtual manner apart from the IT headaches of traditional email, calendaring and document management systems.  This is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and visionaries that understand how the new economy for talent works.

In our Google Apps consulting, we help businesses create the infrastructure and strategies for growth.  Here are some ways you can limit your overhead and drive growth with a virtual organization structure.

  • Recruit and try out new talent.  Set up their Google Apps user account and have prepared documents and access to your knowledge base in Google Sites.  If they work out, share more.  If they don’t then turn off their access.  It is simple to set up and restrict access.
  • Keep connected using Google Chat.  Ensure your Google chat is set up for each new user to connect with relevant people on the team.  It allows for questions to be asked spontaneously and quickly.  Furthermore, you can use video and voice to connect across the globe for meetings and getting to know new team members.  It is also an excellent way to monitor working patterns online.
  • Integrate Mobile devices.  Keep the inbox for new users as well as Chat and Calendar entries in real-time.  As your new team members are mobile, they can keep within reach for important messages.
  • Create an internal blog.  Using your Google Site, you can set up notifications around an internal blog.  Post articles which keep everyone on the same page and builds your culture.  Help communicate priorities and keep everyone on the same page wherever they are located.

Before Google Apps, it was difficult to integrate new team members into your organization.  Physical location was important.  Using the cloud computing platform Google Apps offers enables you to look beyond your four walls and work with talent wherever they may be.  Use these strategies to make collaboration easy around your brand.

Are you using Google Apps for a virtual organization?  How is it working?

Google Sites For Customer Collaboration

Google Sites is a ready-made environment for an intranet to store your knowledge base.  Anyone on your team can collaborate with others in a secure area around files, process, content and numerous other internal pieces of information that helps your team get things done.

There is also great opportunity to enhance your customer experience by using Google Sites to create a secure or public access site for your service delivery.  In our Google Apps consulting, we have implemented many different types of strategies and solutions.  Here are a few which can help you leverage Google Sites for increasing customer loyalty and revenue:

  1. Project management.  You can set up a Google Site with specific external user access to track items related to a project.  A checklist of outstanding action items, a blog for ongoing communications and a file storage area can all be pages within the site.  You can build individual pages as necessary.  Keep the design simple and easy so that everyone adopts the tool.  Your customer can set up notifications to see what work has been done.  Every project may require different combinations of pages depending on what you are delivering.  Customize the look and feel to create a rich experience for your customer.
  2. Reporting and dashboards.  If you are managing any type of metrics for your customers, you can create a Google Site which acts as a home base for ongoing reporting.  Use this to give your analysis.  Combine it with Google Spreadsheets as well.  This becomes a historical ledger for the value you created.  The collaboration can be a strong point of partnering with your customers.
  3. Requirements and scoping.  If you are engaged in defining a problem or bringing together multiple groups of people to explore an issue, then creating a securely accessed Google Site that shares your findings and thoughts consolidates the group’s thinking.  They can add their thoughts to a stream of messages and help build the picture you may be seeking to define.  This can work for consulting work or sales.
  4. Sharing private value.  You may have some marquis customers that you want to share value with over time.  Keeping your information consolidated and using Google Docs in conjunction with your Google Sites, you can design an extranet for special customers.  They can find special white papers in a file manager, executive briefs, analysis and special news content.  Think about how information can be consolidated and used to bring heightened and precise value to your specific customer or set of customers.

As you can see, Google Sites can be extended to collaborate with customers in a way that increases your value perception.  By building secure access sites that are custom designed, it shows great care and design.  The value of this asset can grow between you and your specific customer or exclusive audiences.

What do you think of using such strategies for your customers?

Growing Your Business With Google Apps

If you have more than one person and have customers, then growing your business with Google Apps is one of the most strategic systems you can use.  It is a cloud-based software system which allows you to interact with your team wherever they are in the world instantly.  Google Apps also allows you to provide real-time interaction with your customers to provide a high level of service to them.

If you are getting started, here are some strategies to allow your business to grow with Google Apps:

  1. Hire anywhere and everywhere.  Free yourself from geography.  Look for talent where it is found and trust your system to help you manage the projects and communications of your business.  Setting up a new person is secure and takes minutes to do.  It is not like the old days of having an IT setup of a computer with image software for someone far off and ensuring their VPN is connected.  Today, you can set up a username and let them be part of your team.
  2. Use Google Sites for a powerful intranet.  Your knowledge base and knowledge sharing should be captured in Google Sites.  Without a username, others are not able to access your information.  Store what is important, accessible and searchable for your team.  Anticipate that people will come and go.  However, your data and processes should be in one place.  If you ever sell your company, it is a valuable asset which allows you to extend your business and grow it continually.
  3. Connect everyone on Google Chat.  Part of each user’s setup should be their Google Chat within their Gmail setup as well as on their mobile devices.  Regardless of where people are located, they can connect instantly for answers.  Set rules for avoiding interruption by changing user statuses.  You can see when your team is online and get access to the people you need quickly.
  4. Share Google Docs.  Drive collaboration by using Google Docs to share and work on documents, spreadsheets and presentations together.  This will drive a culture where everyone works together.  Furthermore, knowledge sharing will be promoted by allowing access to documents online.  Salespeople can use past presentations and gain access to tools.  Support staff can find answers and resources to solve customer problems.  Make strategic use of how your documents are accessed.

There are many other strategies to help you grow your business with this vital asset.  You can continue discovering and stretching the capabilities of Google Apps as you grow your team.  You have agility and ease-of-use built into the way the system works.  Collaboration and productivity without obstacles is the key focus.


How are you using Google Apps to grow your business?

Google Apps As Part Of Your Website

Google Apps is a powerful suite of web-based applications.  Unlike desktop applications, the documents are web pages.  Thus, they can become strategic in your way to market or service your customers via your organization’s website.

Typically, your website is controlled in a centralized fashion.  This makes change and driving real-time connection difficult.

However, you can partition how your website works from a design and functionality standpoint.  If your CSS is set up to keep a consistent look and feel, you can designate public navbar pages or private pages to contain embedded or linked Google Docs, Sites or Calendars.

Here are some ways to empower your team to update information using Google Apps with your website:

  1. Embed a public calendar of events. Whether you have seminars to promote or key dates for your company, you can have someone manage a Google Calendar from their Google Apps interface.  Embed this on a page and allow this to be bookmarked by your customers and fans.
  2. Sharing Google Spreadsheets. Take a Google Spreadsheet and have a team manage it via collaboration and sharing rules.  Publish this on a site where it is updated.  Keeping a count towards a financial donation goal with a real-time chart or a list of attendees for an upcoming event are a few ideas to use this for.
  3. Embedding Google Presentations. Make your sales presentation or marketing materials self-service and updated.  Your sales and marketing team can manage the content, look and feel of company presentations.  Your website can keep the most up to date copy available on a page.  Customers can access this easily.
  4. Sign up or registrations. These can be managed via the Forms function inside of Google Spreadsheets and embedded on a page on your site.  Your respective Google Spreadsheet will collect any incoming form information creating an easily managed database of registrants.
  5. Share white papers or case studies. Have a hidden page accessible from a form registration.  Allow the hidden page to provide a managed Google Doc with your white papers, case studies or ebooks.  As content is modified or added, it will be consumed as current by your website visitors.

Your website is your touchpoint with the world.  If there are barriers to changing the data, it becomes difficult to keep a fresh connection.  Structure your systems to take advantage of Google Apps intrinsic web platform.  It will allow your team to actively participate in serving your partners and customers.

What are some ways you could use Google Apps for your website?