For Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

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Aviva Directory has a very good post listing the Top 25 web services that small businesses can benefit from. Delighted to find Zoho in the list. From the article :

If you are running a small business, you know that to be successful you need to be a jack-of-all-trades. The smart way to manage everything from company finances, to client relations, to marketing, is to use the right tools – tools that are simple enough that they won’t require you to spend a lot of time and money you don’t have setting them up.

The 25 applications selected were chosen both on the basis of their usefulness for the individual small business manager as well as their effectiveness in providing community support and networking opportunities for users.

Zoho has one of the most well-rounded offerings of web-based tools for the entrepreneur/ business person, including an Office Suite (Writer, Sheet, Show, Wiki, Virtual Office), Productivity Tools (Projects, CRM, Creator, Planner, Chat), Polls, and website monitoring. One of the most useful applications, however, is Zoho Challenge, which lets you test and evaluate job candidates using a combination of multiple choice and descriptive questions. Candidates can then be emailed results for one or more tests. Perhaps the best feature is Zoho Writer, a superb web-based replacement for Microsoft Word. Zoho Writer’s only limitation is its own popularity, which has been known to cause slow server response times. By using a web-based writing program, your employees and clients will be able to access their work at any time without the need for email attachments.

Thanks to Aviva Directory for featuring Zoho. About Zoho Writer being slow sometimes – users of Zoho and regular readers of this blog might know that we are working on the performance front. Some work has already been done and you should be seeing much difference in performance across many of Zoho’s services than before. This will continue for the next few weeks and performance will get enhanced further.

Zoho CRM:Finalist for 2007 Steppin’ Out Award

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Maybe some of you haven’t heard of this award, but its a real honor for us. Its Paul Greenberg’s brain child, best selling author of CRM at the Speed of Light: Essential Customer Strategies for the 21st Century, we are in pretty good company competing for the honor with Microsoft, Salesforce.com, Netsuite, Neighborhood America and Reardon Commerce.

The finalists were distilled from a list of over 100 vendors, further refined to about 40 before six were selected. While Paul’s focus is on CRM, the most interesting aspect of the award is his sweeping view of the marketplace focusing on companies that have or could have a disruptive impact on the industry this year.

According to Paul: “They (Zoho) get the 2.0 world that we’re dealing with now so they get how to handle the new generations of customers and business people – which puts them ahead of most of the companies that vie for the small business space. They are constantly innovating with new ideas for products and services. In other words, they may be at the Sundance Festival right now, but they have a serious shot at an Oscar. Watch these guys closely. Real closely”.

While Zoho CRM is not as well known as some of our competitors it gets top marks from a growing customer base and will continue to build momentum. Stay tuned for alot more coverage on this dynamic product.

For a recent CRM roundup and review, check out Ismael’s ITRedux
Here’s a link to the full Steppin’ Out finalist award post.

Zoho Projects Update : Performance tuning and printing

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Zoho Projects had an update yesterday and the focus was on performance. You should find Zoho Projects much faster than before. We are working further on the performance front and you should be seeing much more improvement over the next few weeks.

Print functionality has now been added. You can use your browser’s ‘Print’ menu and print any of your Zoho Projects pages. The update also fixed a few bugs.

Zoho and SAP

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When I met Craig Cmehil at the Office 2.0 conference, he mentioned that he did some cool integration between Zoho and SAP, but I didn’t get a chance to look at what he did. Today he started writing about this in his blog and SDN. I am no SAP expert, but I am glad to know that these business apps can be integrated.

Check out Craig’s Blog and SDN on this.

Please note that there is nothing official between Zoho and SAP.

Zoho on Wii

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With nothing much to do this weekend due to rain, I decided to play with my Wii. After enabling wireless access on Wii, I installed ‘Internet Channel (Trail Version)’ as another channel (This basically is a customized Opera Browser for Wii). What surprised me is that this is a fully functional web browser (unlike other mini versions). Why do I say this?

Well, you know that the Zoho applications are JavaScript/AJAX intensive. These Zoho apps (I tested Writer, Sheet & Show) worked perfect including dragging and dropping of charts in Sheet.

Zoho Notebook is another JavaScript intensive application. When I try Notebook in Opera on WinXP, I cant draw lines or move content around. But surprisingly, even drawing lines (and dragging objects) worked perfectly on Opera for Wii. Below are some screenshots.

DSC00438.JPG DSC00443.JPG DSC00445.JPG

Of course, I do not expect people using Zoho or other web apps on their TV/Wii or iPods…but as I said earlier, this is fun.

What’s Virtual Office

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The idea of writing this blog post is to allow the users increase the efficiency and overall effectiveness of their business by using Zoho Virtual Office effectively.

Zoho Virtual Office is a web-based collaboration groupware that provides a virtual collaboration platform using which individuals and groups can communicate, collaborate, organize and share information seamlessly using number of useful applications like E-mail Client, Virtual storage for Documents, Personal and Group Calendar, Task Scheduler, Contacts Manager, Instant Messaging, Discussions board, etc.

Zoho Virtual Office allows users to create multiple groups, and use all of these components within groups unleashing the real power of collaboration. This helps you increase the efficiency and overall effectiveness of your business.

With Zoho Virtual Office, time and distance no longer an issue to work with your team together. It harnesses the power of the Internet to provide a unique and exciting approach for the effective collaboration. Be it your office, home, or anywhere on the road, you can access all your data and collaborate with your group/team from any computer that has an Internet connection and a web browser as it provides independence with respect to location, platform, machine and browser*.

Using Zoho Virtual Office, you can:

  • Have easy access to information from anywhere
  • Bring together virtual team members
  • Share, review and edit information securely
  • Create, Store and Share Documents online
  • Communicate through instant messaging, discussion forums
  • Know which team members are online and offline
  • Track, manage and organize meeting and projects
  • Set task reminders and notifications
  • Create Notes to collect important information
  • Plan, schedule and track all appointments, events, etc.
  • Access all your important data from Zoho VO through WAP enabled devices
  • Integrate e-mail, task, calendar and notes to form a seamless collaboration platform
  • and much more…

Try Zoho VO and put comments below.

Tip : Post to your blog from Zoho Writer

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Since many new Zoho Writer users continue to have questions regarding how one can post to blog from Zoho Writer, here’s a step-by-step procedure of doing it.

First, to post to blogs hosted by blogger.com, WordPress.com etc.

  1. Click on the ‘Publish’ link on the Zoho Writer toolbar and choose the ‘Post to Blog’ option in the drop-down
  2. In the ‘Blog Settings’ dialog box that opens, choose your blog platform – Blogger, WordPress, TypePad or LiveJournal
  3. Give your user name and password of your blog account and hit the ‘Get my blogs’ button. If you want, you can tick the ‘Remember my blog settings’ checkbox. This will allow you to directly fetch your blogs everytime you use the ‘Post to Blog’ option
  4. Your blog will get fetched. Say you have multiple blogs at blogger or WordPress associated with your user name and password, choose the blog where you would like to post
  5. You can specify which ‘Category’ you would like the post to be posted in (in case you have categories). Also, if you have added tags to your Zoho Writer document and if you like these tags to be made as Technorati tags in your blog post, just check the ‘With tags’ checkbox
  6. Hit the ‘Publish’ button and your blog post will get published

The above steps as a slide show in Zoho Show :

(Note : Make sure you have set the correct time zone under Options -> Time Zone in your Zoho Writer account)

Now consider a blog like of this site’s. This is a WordPress.org blog hosted in our own servers. Here’s how to do it in this case :

  1. Click on the ‘Publish’ link & choose the ‘Post to Blog’ option in the drop-down.
  2. In ‘Blog Settings’ dialog box that opens, click the ‘Add Blog’ link
  3. Give some name (Zoho Blog, for example) for the ‘Custom Blog Name’ field
  4. For the ‘URL’, give http://your_blog_domain_name.com.xmlrpc.php
  5. For the ‘API’, choose metaWeblog
  6. Click ‘Save’ & you are done with adding your WordPress.org blog.
  7. Now, in the ‘Blog Settings’, your blog would have got added & so choose ‘Zoho Blog’.
  8. Give Username/password credentials & click ‘Publish’.

Again, a Zoho Show slide show showing the above steps.

If you haven’t tried posting to your blog from Zoho Writer yet, do give it a try.