Email is so very important to business. And yet working with a lot of different small businesses, I am regularly amazed at how much of a problem it can be.

Recently Deryck, MD of Boshack (one of our OM4Tourism clients) migrated his business to Google Apps – he paid $45 (that is $42 in USD) to make it happen. With Google Apps, he now has his Gmail running from consolidated email addresses at his own domain, calendaring, docs and other applications to run his business from Google – all with a single login for each person and at zero ongoing cost.

I decided to interview Deryck about his experience because it is a great example of how easy the move can be. Even where a small business doesn’t have its own technical expert. Note we have an article providing guidance on email hosting called Simplify Your Email Life, so if you want to do what Deryck did, all the information you need is there.

Boshack OutbackDeryck Brockhurst is the Managing Director of Boshack, a unique tourist experience one and a half hours drive from Perth, Western Australia. Boshack has been featured on Getaway, and is a popular destination for travellers wanting to experience the Australian outback, see a working wheat/sheep farm, eat bush tucker, see native Australian wildlife and learn about the Aboriginal dreamtime.

Glenn: Hi Deryck, I’ve got a few questions for you about your recent move to Google Apps. Many small businesses find email difficult and expensive, and don’t have tech experts on hand to manage it. On a scale of 1 to 10, how good are your technical skills?

Deryck: Two – what an embarrassing question.

Glenn: Why did you shift your email to Google Apps?

Deryck: I had 4 different email addresses and 2 of these with Gmail. Passwords alone were sending me crazy. Also on our main booking Gmail account (jointly monitored by my daughter and myself for bookings), I was always deleting stuff I shouldn’t have been. Since we have swapped over she now talks to me.

Glenn: What is different about using Google Apps?

Deryck: Very simply, consolidation. Easy access to my email from any computer.

Glenn: What are the best/worst aspects of it compared to what you did before?

Deryck: The best – consolidation. A time saver definitely, I can see it will be an easy way to gradually delete an email address of mine. And with Gmail the storage/filing system.
The worst, a little slower.

Glenn: You started using Gmail for a bit before going to Google Apps. Did you experience problems with email before moving to Google, and have they been resolved?

Deryck: I guess the systems we were using were getting antiquated as we had used for years. Spam wasn’t controlled or monitored as well as in Gmail. I am now very happy and more importantly so is my daughter/business partner. Spam is a lot better controlled.

Glenn: You used one of Google’s services partners (based in India) to do the setup for you – what was it like?

Deryck: I can’t speak highly enough of him. To help someone like me (with a technical ranking of 2 out of 10) he had to be very patient. This he was and very direct with very simple answers. Sunil was the man, although I think they pick a name and others answer on his behalf. But all very good.

Ed. Link to Sunil in Google Apps Solution Marketplace: Dhruvsoft

Glenn: What are the costs involved in moving to Google Apps and then running email with them??

Deryck: Setup $45 and no other costs.

Glenn: Were there any unexpected costs?

Deryck: Nothing extra was asked for or charged.

Glenn: Other than Mail, do you use any of the other parts of Google Apps?

Deryck: We moved to Google Docs about 6 months ago and this is also an amazing program as we run our business from 4 different locations with 3 different people needing to access emails and spreadsheets. We now have one log in each for all of this with our email included.

Glenn: Any tips for small business operators regarding Google Apps?

Deryck: Definitely the way to go for simplicty, accessibility and especially if you need to share docos or emails.

Glenn: Any further comments on Google Apps?

Deryck: One about sending addresses. I want people to know that using Google Apps your email is sent using whichever of your email addresses that you choose. There is a default address it sends from (initially the address you received the email at). But the option is there to change it to another address. For me I can now consolidate two email addresses over a period.

And another about the Personalized Start Page you get with Google Apps. I have just started on mine.
It is once again a consolidation of everything you want plus extra if you require. With the one login, you simply design your Start Web Page – here is what I put on mine: first 10 emails, special folders, Weather, Aussie News, World News, Calendar, The Frog, Facebook. You can put pretty well anything you want on the one page.

Glenn: Any concerns?

Deryck: I just wonder how we should back ourselves up as we have an awful lot of info on there, although there is less chance of a virus getting to it on Google than if I was keeping myself.
I guess the scary part is such a big company has so much info, and not only mine.

Glenn: So what back up procedures do you use.

Deryck: None.

Glenn: I’ll look into writing up some options for backing up Gmail. Thanks Deryck.

For the record, OM4 uses Google Apps. Neither OM4 or Boshack get any payment for promoting any of the products or services referred to in this interview.