About Meera Sapra

Meera is social media ambassador at Zoho. She loves working remotely and can only sometimes be seen at an actual physical office location. She also subscribes to the 'you are what you read, blog and tweet' theory.

Meet our Busiest Customer this Holiday Season: Santa Claus

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He wears a red suit, sports a long white beard, lives (and works!) at the north pole with a bunch of elves and eight tiny reindeer. That’s right, our busiest customer this season, is none other than Mr. Santa Claus himself!

While the rest of us are happy holidaying, Mr Claus is busy trying to make sure that the holiday is just perfect for everyone.

With a long list of demanding customers to satisfy, very little time to deliver gifts and an office that’s not only remotely located, but also freezing cold all year around, running the holiday business just can’t be easy.

And yet, despite all these challenges, Santa manages to get everything right for the big day. We asked him to tell us how he does this, and here’s our exclusive story of what goes on ‘behind-the-scenes’ at the North Pole office, in his own words…

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Happy Small Business Saturday : Cheers to the Contest Winners and all the Inspiring Stories!

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2 weeks ago, we announced the #MyBizStory contest to celebrate small businesses and the stories behind them. We received hundreds of stories that amazed and inspired us, from a variety of businesses from all across the continent!

We felt like we were a part of these stories and meeting people behind-the-scenes of each business. We knew it would be tough to pick the best entries among so many great stories. So, we tried to judge stories on the basis of what they were about and how they were told. And of course, bonus points for stories with pictures!

First off, here are the 3 stories that won the iPad Air prizes (and the ones that didn’t, don’t worry, you still won a place in our hearts!)

Alexandria’s story touched our hearts. The story combined with the lovely painting, sends out a great message about compassion for life, art and humanity.

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Small Business and Thanksgiving: It’s time to be thankful for doing what you love!

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It’s Thanksgiving week, and you’re probably looking forward to spend the weekend feasting with family and friends!

But before we get to the weekend, let’s remember to spend some time saying ‘thank you’ to all those who’ve helped make your business what it is. If it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t be so happy and successful doing what we love!

Say thanks to your team, all those people who work hard all year around to help you manage your business. You could hand out personalized thank-you notes to each team member appreciating his or her contribution to your business.  Read more

Bottom line is, I love the new UI and I don’t want to go back…

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With any software, even the smallest of changes can greatly improve the experience of users who have been using it regularly. And when there’s a whole bunch of such small, thoughtfully crafted changes packaged into a completely new interface, the result can be instant delight.

That’s exactly the kind of result we’d hoped to get, when we recently shared a sneak peek of our upcoming new UI for Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books. So, ever since the beta-release, we’ve been eagerly waiting to see reactions from customers who had early access to this new version. We had worked really hard on this new, re-imagined UI, and we wanted to see what difference it made to those for whom it mattered the most – our customers. This was quite a nail-biting period, especially for the teams who had worked for months to make the new UI a reality. They now waited patiently to see the results of their efforts.

Once the feedback started flowing in, we were really thrilled to see so much happy, positive receptivity for the new UI and the changes that came with it!

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Celebrating the Big Stories behind Small Businesses: Share Yours and Win!

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mybizstory announcementWe love small businesses – they’re the reason why we build apps and host events aimed at helping small business owners all-year-around. But special days call for a little more!

And that’s why we’re celebrating Small Business Saturday, with a special contest for small businesses this month.

It’s called the #MyBizStory contest and it’s really fun and simple. All you need to do is, tell us a story. Tell us what makes your business unique – it could be a different way of doing things, something you’ve created or something you’ve believed in and followed for your business – anything that you think makes your business stand out. Read more

When Invoicing becomes child’s play. Literally.

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At Zoho, we’re constantly trying to build and rebuild our apps to make them easy for our customers to use.

That’s why we LOVE tweets like these, that make us feel like we’re closer to our goal:

Thanks to @zoyrosa for sharing this video of her kids using Zoho Invoice. It sure made our day :)

Tricks, Treats and Halloween: A time to let go of fear!

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Gearing up your business for Halloween? Most business-owners use this time to carve out pumpkins, stock up on holiday goodies and treats, create Halloween deals and offers to lure customers – all in the ‘spirit’ of the season.

But Halloween can be more than just that.

It can be about learning to overcome fears – especially those that keep us from building a better business. If you’re living with such fears: Halloween is a good time to treat yourself, by tricking the worst fears out of your mind.

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Networking and connecting with people. Businesses are about people doing business with other people. If you’re afraid to go out and meet new people or to talk to existing customers and get to know them better, you might be losing out on opportunities to build and nurture business relationships.

We now live in a connected age where in-person meetings are only one of the ways to connect with people. There’s also email, chat, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and… well, you get the drift. Communicating online can be much less intimidating, so don’t be afraid to connect and interact with everyone who matters for your business. Unless of course, you happen to be afraid of such communication tools. In which case, my next point is for you.

1.2Trying new tools and technology. Because we fear drastic changes that may come with new tools, some of us continue to stick to archaic methods that may have long outlived their utility. However, if you’re already a Zoho customer, then you probably don’t live with such a fear or may have overcome it already. Congratulations, and you may skip the next two paragraphs!

It’s time to break out of that safety net and try some new business tools. You really have nothing to lose. Except maybe, the inefficiencies that come from resisting new tech. So, Once you get used to these tools and their benefits, you’ll wonder how you managed without them in the first place.

And hey, shameless plug: If you’re wondering where to begin, check out some of our apps: business emailCRM, online invoicingemail marketing and an online office suite are the basics to start with!

1.3Managing business finances. Managing the accounting process for your business can give you a lot of control over your finances and help you in making informed business decisions. If lack of accounting knowledge or fear of dealing with numbers sends shivers down your spine, try overcoming this fear by using an online accounting tool that simplifies the process and lets you learn as you go along. (shameless plug #2: Zoho Books!)

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Competition. Some of us live in perpetual fear of the competition, constantly worrying about what their next move might be. We end up spending so much time worrying that we forget to focus on the one thing that can help us stay ahead of them – building a better product or service for customers. The best way to get this fear out of your head is by channelizing your energies back to areas that can help improve your product or service offering.

Now, If you’re still reading this post, it’s likely that you can identify with at least one of the fears I listed. Remember, it’s up to you to choose not to be haunted by them any more. All you have to do is understand your fears better and then you can fight them.

Oh and Happy trick-or-treating!