Outlook vs Gmail for
for Small Businesses (2020)
8 Reasons to Choose Microsoft 365's Outlook over Gmail for Your Small Business
When it comes to e-mail, like many startups, you may have started out using Gmail. It’s free, easy and an overall great email. But there comes a point when you need your email address to have your company name in it. After all, email@example.com looks much more like a legitimate business than firstname.lastname@example.org.
What are your options for switching over to a more professional email and how much does it cost?
Reaching a Crossroad: Outlook or Gmail?
Two of the most popular options for a business email are G Suite and Microsoft Business 365 (formerly Office 365). Basically, Gmail and Outlook. Both offer a business email address, are built for productivity and have a monthly fee.
Microsoft 365 is desktop and browser-based, while Gsuite is 100% browser-based. They both look familiar because Microsoft 365 uses the same programs we know and love (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.), while Gsuite has the same user design as the free gmail account that we also know and love.
Like most things in life, there is no one-size-fits-all. There are a ton of articles that compare G Suite and Microsoft 365’s functionality so you can do a quick good search for that. This blog focuses on instances where Microsoft 365 would be the better pick for you, if they apply to your business.
For purpose of this article, we are comparing only the Gsuite Business Plan ($12) vs. Microsoft 365 Business Standard ($12.50). They are the plans that offer enough storage for businesses, yet don't overload a small business with features it doesn't need.
Go with Microsoft 365 Business (Outlook) if:
1. Your industry mainly uses Windows
If your industry is mainly sending Word, Excel or other Windows files back and forth, you’ll want to go with Microsoft 365. This is a more important consideration than functionality or personal preference. Traditional industries like law or finance stick to Windows, while some industries like tech might use Gsuite. What are your suppliers, vendors, employees, partners, customers, and competitors using?
Microsoft 365 is used by 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies, so if your small company is going to be doing business with these networks, go with Microsoft 365 and take advantage of amazing benefits of communicating on the same platform – it will save you a ton of time.
More about this in #2.
2. You need to collaborate outside your organization
G Suite is known for being a leader in collaborative tools, but there’s a caveat to this. It’s important to consider what kind of collaboration your company does. If you’re sharing documents with people outside your company, Microsoft 365’s familiarity and prevalence in the business world generally makes it better for collaboration. G Suite cannot open macro files so when customers or vendors send Microsoft files to you, they don’t open in G Suite's web browser. In fact, most people start out using Gsuite (because maybe that’s all they needed in college), and then finally get the Microsoft suite when they start to share documents with people in their industry.
3. You send a lot of attachments
(quotes, invoices, sales/ purchase orders, etc).
Microsoft 365 has built-in features that makes productivity much faster. For example, if you go into Outlook and click on “attach,” you can automatically see a list of the last 10 files you worked on and select from there. Small shortcuts like this save a lot of time. Gmail doesn’t remember what you worked on last, so you need to find the file in your folders and attach it each time.
Also, if you’re planning for growth, Microsoft 365 sets you up for a perfect integration with an accounting software such as Business Central. Once you experience how this integration works, you won’t regret going with Microsoft 365. Gsuite simply doesn’t offer this level of integration.
4. You need a good search function to find past emails
Outlook’s search function in email is much better that Gsuite. In gmail, as a conversation goes back and forth, the email thread get so small and nested, that it can become impossible to read or find a particular email.
Instead, Outlook shows multiple emails, but you can easily find your particular one because they show individually, rather than nested and buried into a thread. Its archiving options make your inbox organized and easily accessible.
If you need to find documents over multiple years of customer, vendor or employee communication, it will be a nightmare with Gmail. Most businesses need to attach or refer back to old emails. Outlook’s advanced design for search shows that it’s built with professionals in mind.
5. You have a Shopify store
If your Shopify store is growing in sales, you can integrate your Shopify store with an accounting software like Business Central. This will let you synchronize all your data (orders, customers, billing, inventory, etc.) in real time between your ecommerce and accounting system. No need to enter data or export manually.
(Sometimes these integrations can sound technical and complicated, so you can work with us or any other Microsoft partner to help you. We can integrate them and make it simple for you to use.)
If this sounds like it could be in the cards for your small business, go with Microsoft 365. Your email will work together with these systems for maximum productivity and efficiency.
6. You are outgrowing Quickbooks
If you’re realizing that you’ve outgrown your accounting software, that means you'll likely be upgrading to a better software, possibly an ERP. Since Gsuite doesn’t have strong integration capabilities, it sets you up for disjointed, disparate systems – which is the #1 headache of almost all growing businesses.
Microsoft 365’s integration results in serious dollars saved in your operational costs.
With all the affordable, cutting-edge technology available in 2020 for small businesses, G Suite is not the best way to set yourself up to take advantage of what's on the market. Going with Microsoft 365’s Outlook means you are ready at any time for a fully integrated system that hums with efficiency and power.
7. You could benefit from an all-in-one collaboration tool with video, phone, meetings, and file-sharing.
Remote collaboration is more important than ever before during COVID-19. The Microsoft 365 Business Suite includes Teams, an all-in-one collaboration app where you can easily set up meetings, create teams and share files. G-suite simply does not include the equivalent app of Teams, so users need to open multiple applications. Microsoft rolls it all into one with Teams, which is fully integrated with Outlook Exchange.
8. You would use any of these additional features:
While G Suite is known for collaboration, Microsoft 365 is known for its applications. M365’s suite includes a few other applications that aren’t available in G Suite.
o More robust video conferencing capabilities (Google Hangouts is limited compared to Teams).
o Bookings, an app for scheduling appointments online. Synced with your Outlook Calendar, it shows your customers the latest, most accurate availability. It also sends automated reminder to reduce no-shows.
o Microsoft Planner, which has the potential to replace dedicated project management software like Asana or Trello.
o Stream is a video service where your employees can upload, view, and share videos securely (i.e meeting recordings). It has cool options like tagging, search and automated transcription, which could take the place of meeting minutes.