Editor’s Note: Recently, we announced the state of Colorado has gone Google and we’re excited that businesses throughout the state are also using Google Apps. Today’s guest blogger is Matthew Kelley, founder and president of Gold Medal Waters, a private wealth management firm located in Boulder, Colorado.
Gold Medal Waters is a fee only financial advisor and independent wealth management firm based in Boulder, Colorado, with clients located across the country. Structurally, we’re somewhat unusual for a financial services firm: close to 90 percent of our work is conducted by a virtual team on flex time, so everyone can choose when they work. This allows us to work close to our clients geographically, while keeping our costs down. Since we don’t have corporate offices, making sure employees can work from any location has always been a top priority for me.
When we first started the business, everyone was tied to their own personal computers with different software and operating systems. Even though we had a remote server in place for our employees to access, the system was a nightmare to manage. It constantly needed upgrading, and when the server went down, business was disrupted. I spent significant hours trying to solve IT issues when I could have been managing the business. We needed one central, secure platform that could help us work together as a virtual team. That’s when we decided to transition to Google Apps for Business and provide Chromebooks to all our employees.
Moving to Google Apps has been one of the best business decisions we’ve made. Not only has it helped reduce IT management time, it’s also given us a whole new level of collaboration. With Google Docs, we can store and share documents and spreadsheets in one place and access them from anywhere. We’re constantly brainstorming new investment portfolios, creating new marketing concepts or updating financial planning checklists. Now we can work on these documents simultaneously, using the chat and comment features to discuss as we go. This type of teamwork is critical, giving us the flexibility we need as a virtual company.
Even though we work across many locations, our new morning ritual is to use Google Hangouts to meet face-to-face and run through priorities, ask questions, and review files prior to client meetings. We’ve found that the ability to see each other and meet virtually has not only made us a closer team, but has also inspired us to work together more frequently.
Google Apps has given us the built-in collaboration we need to work better as a team and focus on the most important part of our business: our clients.