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The people who designed the tools that make the internet run had their own ideas for the future. ~Tim Berners-Lee

This is the time of year when I’m putting the finishing touches on revisions to the 5-year strategic plan for SMARTSTART. It’s a part of the work on the business I most enjoy — especially researching industry direction, cultural shifts, and revisiting my due diligence with respect to competitor activities.

I thought I had a fairly good handle on things, especially the tech inventory review, until I came upon this wonderful piece published on Mashable: 14 Google Tools You Didn’t Know Existed.  It was humbling to realize I only knew 3 of these tools and wasn’t using any of them to full advantage to move the business forward even though they are free!

It was also astounding to see how many of the 14 tools could be used by all of us on the road to online business success! Check them out for yourself and see how your business might benefit from them.

With one important caveat of course! Google can and does remove tools from its offerings from time to time. Remember Google Reader? So, while I support using free tools if they make sense for you, never let your business activities become totally reliant on their existence. Free tools aren’t if their withdrawal cripples your business in future.