Using Dropbox for Small Business

B2B Bandits
18 Sep 2013

Preach What We Practice

The second installment of our new blog series, “Preach what we Practice” where we’ll give fellow small business owners a back-stage pass to how we do business. This week I’m digging into our file management practices.

– Nate –

Package / Cost / Setup

Dropbox Pro 100GB Account. Because we always share project folders with our clients, we’ve earned over 74GB of additional storage in referral bonuses.

It costs a whopping $9.99 / month.

Seth (my business partner) and I share a Dropbox account between our two laptops. We used to have separate accounts, but we are only @ 26% capacity and have no need for a personal folder.


What our business uses Dropbox for:

Dropbox-share-linkRaw storage of files such as images, website backups, plugins, contracts, PDFs, etc… 

Instead of attaching documents to an email, we use the “Share Dropbox Link” feature (right mouse click on the file, select “Share Dropbox Link” then paste the URL into the email. Very handy for maintaining version control, and sending large files such as video clips or high resolution photos (though we’ll usually ZIP those up first, and share the one file).


What we *DON’T* use Dropbox for:

We don’t use Dropbox for any document that will require extensive internal or external collaboration. Especially not for ‘living documents’ that are designed to be updated regularly like Editorial Calendars or documents that will go through a ton of editing (such as a press release, or internal financial document). All of this file management is handled in our Google Drive account.


Our file structure:

Easier to show than tell on this one. Take a look: 

Dropbox - Parent Directories

Dropbox – Parent Directories


Dropbox - Children Directories

Dropbox – Children Directories


Naming Files

Our rule regardless of tool or platform: No Numbers. No Dates. Descriptive Titles.

In the age of search, and sorting by file property (i.e. sorting files by date modified) the need for a complicated file naming system is massive overkill.  I will append the client name on files as necessary, i.e. CLIENT NAME’s – Editorial Calendar. The only exception is naming website backup files from WordPress … I’ll drop an integer only date format for that, i.e.


Uncommon Uses:

  • WooThemes membership now offers “save to Dropbox” option for downloading WordPress themes and plugins directly to the appropriate folder. 
  • Instead of using a scanner, I take a photo of the document with my smartphone, and drag the saved images (default folder is Dropbox > Camera Uploads) to the appropriate folders. Especially handy for receipts.
  • CloudHQ offers a really cool cloud service that syncs Dropbox and Google Drive (among a bunch of other tools such as Evernote and Basecamp. We didn’t end up using it long-term, since we would have to purchase a premium Google Drive account to ensure proper syncing – that and our sheer volume of client folders made it a poor fit for us, but likely a good fit for other type of small businesses. I highly recommend them – slick tool, and their customer service is to-notch.


Starting this Fall, we’ll be sharing our favorite templates, check-lists, tutorials, etc… to our email subscribers. That includes everything from marketing checklists to finance spreadsheets to sales funnels.

Launches officially October 2013. Sign-up here for early access.