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Google Apps helps CustomMade operate at the speed of small business

Posted by Mike Salguero, CEO and Co-Founder of CustomMade

Editor's note: Today's guest blogger is Mike Salguero, CEO and Co-Founder of CustomMade, an online platform for buying custom goods from local Makers. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

CustomMade is built on quality craftsmanship. We’re an online marketplace that matches our customers with a network of nearly 11,000 of the world’s best craftspeople - we call them Makers - to give them access to high-quality, custom-made goods. My co-founder, Seth Rosen, and I started CustomMade because we love working directly with Makers to build things that matter to people. We’ve been able to make it successful because we have tools that let us maintain the high metabolism that small companies require.

We started in 2009 as a two-person company working out of my one-bedroom apartment, and by being nimble and operating quickly, we’ve grown to 45 full-time employees working out of our headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Google Apps for Business is the agility engine that helped us get there. It’s been the backbone of our communication and collaboration, letting us focus on getting work done rather than how we get it done - a crucial distinction for a small business.

Google Apps helps us smooth out the rough edges of running a small business, like onboarding employees. Teaching new hires about the business and culture is inherently difficult, but since most of our hires use Gmail on a daily basis, we don’t have to spend as much time teaching them how to use our technology. By giving them the tools they’re already familiar with, they’re able to adapt quickly and jump right into their jobs without worrying about how to set up a meeting with Calendar or share a Doc with their teammates.

With thousands of Makers selling tens of thousands of different products, we’re a very numbers-focused company. Google Apps makes tracking goals across all of our teams incredibly simple. Our sales, concierge, and product teams all work towards weekly goals, such as site traffic and requests for custom items, which they update constantly in a shared Google Sheet. This gives me visibility into each team’s performance and metrics, and I know the data I’m looking at is always up-to-date. We also use Docs and Sheets for operational tasks, like storing creative briefs and tracking licenses, contractors, addresses and funnel conversions.

Google+ Hangouts are our secret productivity weapon. We work with 15 freelancers and consultants, including 10 in India, one in the UK and the rest across the US. Hangouts make it feel like they’re right here in the office with us. Our team hosts five to 10 Hangouts each day - they’ve become an integral part of our day-to-day routine.

Moving fast and staying nimble is essential to CustomMade’s success, and Google Apps keeps us on our toes and forging ahead. Instead of spending time worrying about IT problems or outdated Excel worksheets, we focus on connecting Makers like Marv Beloff with bow tie enthusiasts and helping bring dreams of custom wood tables to life.