Friday, March 11, 2011

Going Google across the 50 States: Arizona partners make their dream business a reality with help from Google Apps

[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]

Editor's note
: Over 3 million businesses have adopted Google Apps. Today we’ll hear from David Marsh, co-Founder of The Standard Agency, a talent management and creative agency in Arizona. To learn more about other organizations that have gone Google and share your story, visit our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

Our dream business started at the kitchen counter, literally. My partner and I had been involved in the music industry for a decade and knew the framework for managing talent was broken – people are at extremes either bringing in tons of money or making close to nothing. So, we took a business idea that we developed at the kitchen counter and founded The Standard Agency to manage musicians, models, actors, athletes and other talent who need representation. We offer a one-stop shop that includes everything from design and online promotion to booking gigs. In working and collaborating on so many different projects we also found there was a demand to provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of how design and social media impact businesses. This caused us to expand to offer related marketing services to small businesses who need help establishing themselves online and offline.

Our business quickly went from an idea to a reality and to be able to immediately have professional email and other business tools through Google Apps was key. Knowing Gmail was part of Google Apps was a huge selling point for me as I consider it the best solution to keep email organized. Set up of Google Apps was quick and flawless and all the applications are easy to access from any device. I’ve worked with other companies that have had to jump through hoops to get email on their mobile phones. For me, Gmail automatically worked on my phone and it’s the primary way I access email. Plus, we don’t have constant downtime and servers to maintain as I’ve experienced elsewhere.

Google Calendar has been essential for scheduling and tracking timelines for various marketing projects. I don’t think my partner would have been able to use any other calendar out there. He’s far more efficient and productive because his calendar is easy to use and it syncs across his phone, laptop, and tablet.

When it comes to our extensive network of contractors and employees, most of whom live out-of-state, Google Docs is the cornerstone of how we work. We use Google forms extensively for everything from fan surveys to elicit feedback after events, to online resumes to collect information from new job applicants. We also create Google docs for almost everything including legal contracts which are common in our business. Contracts often go through multiple rounds of revisions and with a Google doc, the right people can access and collaborate on the most up to date version, no matter where they are.

If it wasn’t for the ease of use and low cost of Google Apps, I don’t think my partner and I would have taken off running as fast as we did. It created a strong sense of confidence and familiarity that we needed to start up our business. Two years later, we all use Google Apps daily and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Posted by David Marsh, co-Founder, The Standard Agency

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