About Austin Ries

Austin is the Small Business Correspondent at Zoho Corp. He writes about various topics concerning your small business from current events to helpful tips as well as how Zoho products can benefit you.

Why Major League Baseball’s Opening Day Matters to Your Sales Team

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I revel in the days of old when baseball was truly, “America’s Pastime.”

opening-day-baseball-2014It’s not anymore. Hasn’t been for years. That’s become exponentially evident thanks to a slew of problems ranging from a decrease in game attendance to the lack of national stars like there are in the NBA and NFL. People say the games are too slow, the season is too long and the games are, well…boring.

I’ve heard every complaint and statistic to no avail. It doesn’t matter to me. I anticipate Opening Day every spring the way a child anticipates summer vacation. Baseball season is my paradise.

So here we are once again. March 31, 2014. Opening day for the 2014 Major League Baseball season. My beloved Texas Rangers start their season at 1:05 CT against the Philadelphia Phillies, and soon, all will be right with the world.

So why am I talking about baseball here? I believe there are a number of lessons sales teams can learn from the game of baseball. So before I go on about the greatest sport around for too much longer, let’s look at some fundamental concepts sales teams, sales managers and even entrepreneurs can take from the baseball diamond.

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Get the Most Out of Your SXSW Interactive Experience

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sxswi-2104Every year it’s the same. You spend months looking at the schedule, planning your every move and RSVPing to dozens of parties; then, like footsteps in sand at high tide, SXSW Interactive is gone, and with it, your chance at networking with some of the most influential people in the world.

Where did the time go? Did you make the most of your week? Are you coming home with relevant connections that will move you and your business forward in the coming months and years?

If you’ve been to SXSW Interactive in the past, you know the pandemonium that is about to ensue starting today and lasting through next week. If this is your first SXSW, get ready for one of the most unique, exciting and physically draining experiences of your life.

In its 27 years, SXSW has gone from a music conference with roughly 300 badge holders to a music, film and interactive festival with over 50,000 attendees. There are movie stars, rock stars and technology stars who have launched some of the most celebrated works of art and creative ideas of the last decade.

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5 Sales Lessons from The Wolf of Wall Street

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wolf-of-wall-street1

I’m the antithesis of a movie snob. For me, movies are a source of entertainment. A chance to disappear from the real world and lose yourself in the characters and the plot for a couple hours. I don’t analyze every last detail. I don’t look for deeper meaning in every scene or scrutinize the cinematography. If I’m entertained, it’s a good movie in my book.

So when it comes to the Academy Awards — airing this Sunday night — I’m on the outside looking in for most nominees in the coveted, “Best Picture,” category.

Not this year.

For this first time ever, I made it a point to see as many of the nominees as possible. One of those was Martin Scorsese’s latest project “The Wolf of Wall Street.” If you haven’t seen or heard anything about this movie, it is the story of the rise and fall of stockbroker Jordan Belfort (played by Leonardo DiCaprio).

The picture received both critical acclaim as well as scrutiny due to its language and graphic content. I enjoyed the movie, but I do understand that it is not for everyone. The lives portrayed by DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and other actors are larger than life. At one point DiCaprio is sitting on his yacht and literally throwing $100 bills into the ocean calling them “fun coupons.” It’s the ultimate tale of excess and greed and the characters pay for it in the end.

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Work Smart and Play Smart with Zoho at SXSW Interactive 2014

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sxswblog (1)I’ve lived in Austin for eight years now, and every March it’s the same. Our city morphs into the epicenter of everything that is “cool.” From entrepreneurs and start up giants, to world-class musicians and actors, all eyes are on Austin for 10 days.

And we Austinites embrace it. So at Zoho, we decided to finally get out there and join the festivities. We want to meet as many of you as possible. We want to hear your stories. Most of all, we want to provide you with a place to relax, recharge and get your much-deserved share of free drinks (a must for SXSW goers).

Consider this your invitation to our first annual Zoho SXSW Interactive party. Look, we understand parties during SXSW are about as common as twentysomething festival attendees in tank tops and sunglasses, but think of this one as a cut above the rest.

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Lessons from a Coffee Mill for All Small Business Owners

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Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetCoffee touches everyone differently. For some, coffee is essential to functioning the way motor oil is essential to a combustion engine or oxygen to fire.

Some drink coffee because it’s become part of their daily routine alongside showering and getting dressed. It’s a habit.

Others — my roommate for example — drink coffee through their nostrils and are perfectly content with never letting it touch their lips. It is an aroma of comfort. An aroma of home.

Coffee has a sense of nostalgia and urgency. Of past memories and of days ahead. John Steinbeck may have said it best when he wrote, “coffee has a special taste of a frosty morning, and the third cup is as good as the first.”

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New Year, New You: Best Recruiting Tips for 2014

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96397119Yesterday marked the beginning of a new year, and subsequently, a fresh start on all things related to your life and your business. Go ahead and look out your window. It’s 2014 and anything is possible.

January 1 is more than just a day on the calendar. It is a time to reflect on the past year, and more importantly, focus on the one ahead. How can you become a better recruiter? How can you become a better you?

And while it’s true that New Year’s resolutions fizzle out quicker than fireworks across a New Year’s Eve night sky, creating a list of goals and new recruiting techniques for 2014 can significantly increase your success as a recruiter, if you put them to practice!

Statistically, sales teams and businesses that make the fewest hiring errors are the most successful. Why? Because they have the best employees who were a perfect fit for the job from day one, and therefore, didn’t waste time with other candidates.

So, how can you improve your recruiting game in 2014? Here are a few helpful tips to get you going!

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Tips for Interviewing Different Types of Candidates

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Photo courtesy of theCampusCareerCoach.com

Photo courtesy of theCampusCareerCoach.com

Back in August, we discussed different candidate types one might encounter during both the recruitment and interview process. Like I said then, there is no ideal candidate personality perfect for every position across the board. Each job requires someone different and each company should look for personality diversity in its employees.

A common misconception many small businesses or companies have is the desire to hire like-minded employees who act and perform similarly to the owner or other employees. However, CEO and founder of Steven Step Recruiting, Beth Gilfeather, warns against this saying, “while it might seem like a good thing…it can hamper growth.”

With that in mind, a recruiter and potential interviewer not only needs to be aware of different candidate types, but also techniques and strategies to use for these different types of people during the interview process.

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