Office suites for small businesses

Hello, I wonder if any of you can help?

I am in the process of starting a small one-man-band business. Part of my process is to decide on which office suite to use. I wondered if anybody here has been through a similar decision and can offer valuable insights.

My needs are pretty simple. Microsoft seems to be the obvious way to go - but it does feel complicated for my needs, and I’m not too fond of teams.

My options seem to be
Office 365
Google Works
Apple Suite

Any experiences or thoughts would be great.

Microsoft Office is by far the most used office suite, and I’ve used Excel since the early '90s. But I and most of my users, (up to 2018) didn’t need it and instead used LibreOffice/OpenOffice. My employer was in the process of moving to Google Workspace when I retired.

I’ve been a Gmail user since the beta and a Google Workspace user for many years. It is very reliable, AFAIK I’ve never lost a single message or file. OTOH to take full advantage of the product it is best used in a browser. I use GW on my Mac and iPad Pro for everything these days, email, tasks, docs, notes, and spreadsheets. It would be all I need to run a small business. YMMV


My wife runs an art business as her full time job. I set her up with Google Suite for $6/month, and it works great for email and spreadsheets. The only downside is that Google Docs and Sheets iPad apps are just trash compared to Office or iWork. Something to consider if you really like working on iPad.


The office suite you choose will very much depend on your requirements. If you’re going to be doing a lot of complex spreadsheets, you probably want to go with MS 365. If it’s going to be light work, and collaboration with others is key, then Google workspace may be the best option. As others have said, the devices you (and potential collaborators) use will also influence your choice.


True. I normally use the apps to review information and Safari to create it.

Here are two YouTube channels that normally have a lot of good information for GW users. And the Google Workspace YT channel is a good way to keep up with new features.

Gmail Appointment Setting - Another New Function! - YouTube

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One thing to keep in mind: the macOS versions of the MS Office apps don’t have all of the features that the Windows versions do. The macOS version of Excel is creeping towards parity, but it’s still missing some powerful query tools. They also aren’t “Mac assed” in some very frustrating ways. And, the macOS version of Office 365 doesn’t offer Access (a database app).

If your needs are straightforward, you don’t need a database, and you don’t need to collaborate with a team, the Apple suite might be all you need, frankly.

If you do need a database, the free LibreOffice suite offers one. But … there are no LibreOffice iOS apps. If you need to work on a mobile device, you’ll need to use Collabora Office for Android & iOS. (It costs about $20 per user per year.) After I switched from a Windows PC to a Mac, I used LibreOffice for a time because it came with a database, and I needed one.

Since I prefer working offline on local-only files, I’m not particularly enthusiastic about using Google’s suite of office apps for my own personal use, although I do use them from time to time when I’m collaborating with someone or some organization that does use them. They’re fine.


We’re a small charity and have just moved from O365 to Google Workspace for one simple reason: O365 is a nightmare to administrate.

If you don’t have a fulltime admin I’d pick Google Workspace every time. Even with a small number of users (10) O365 became a time sink every time I needed to configure something. You need to Admin the normal O365 system, then the Exchange Admin and then the Azure Admin.


Not sure what everyone else’s experience has been, but I started my business in M365 and ended up transitioning to the G-Suite mid-tier business plan early on. M365 was just too clunky and cumbersome. I have a copy of Office and Google’s support for Office documents is much better than it once was. A lot I could write about this, but as a small shop I have to be agile and automate wherever possible. Doing that with the M365 product line was tedious at times.

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Thank you all for your experience and wisdom.

I think I will go with Google Workspace, although disappointingly, the lower tier doesn’t allow the recording of meetings. Nevertheless, it does feel like the better option, given my needs are pretty simple.

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