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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Don’t Call It Guerrilla Marketing: How Zoho Helped Salesforce.com Customers At Dreamforce

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Dreamforce, which took place last week in San Francisco, was one of the biggest cloud computing events of the year. With over 130,000 registered customers, Dreamforce naturally attracts a lot of the people that we want to talk to.

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There’s only a small, itsy bitsy problem… the event is produced by Salesforce.com, and as our competitor, they of course don’t want us to be anywhere close to their customers.

So how did we get around it? Well…  Read more

Zoho Apps now available in the new Google Apps Marketplace Experience

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Zoho has been one of the largest software providers in Google Apps Marketplace for quite sometime now. With our wide range of business apps, we cater to a wide range of business needs. Working closely with the Google team, we are happy to bring some of Zoho’s popular business apps – Zoho CRM, Zoho Projects, Zoho Invoice and Zoho Creator to the new Google Apps Marketplace experience.

1So what’s interesting about the new Google Apps Marketplace experience? Well, to start with, there is a whole new user experience that makes it easier for Admins to discover and install applications. The New App launcher will be available in all Google services and will include the third party apps that have been installed for a Google Apps domain. Previously the apps were displayed as text links whereas the new App launcher is much more graphical. Read more

Cloud Telephony and Mobile Apps for Zoho Support

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The holiday season is approaching. What can be more gratifying than creating happiness! That’s exactly what we have in mind for you as well.

It’s a great feeling to talk to customers and deliver amazing service. Phone is by far the most convenient way for customers to ask for and receive help. But, it’s usually a logistics nightmare to build and maintain scalable PBX infrastructure, especially if you’re a small business. We’ve been through it at Zoho and, ever since, we’ve wanted to drastically simplify it.

That’s exactly what we announced last week.  Read more

The Importance of Shopping Locally and Supporting Small Businesses

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BlueThere is something unique about growing up in a small town that gravitates you toward shopping locally. Whether it’s pride, duty or genuine support of a friend or family member, knowing your dollar has gone to not only a community member, but a business owner you trust makes every purchase that much more special.

You want to walk through those doors. You want to shop there first. You want to brag to others that your town has the best burger joint or music store.

I’ve supported local businesses my entire life. Whether it was eating the best pizza in the world at Pizza Place on Main Street, going to my local sports card and memorabilia shop, Dakota Dick’s, Saturday mornings or buying my first guitar at Craig’s Music, small businesses were my go-to spots in my hometown of Weatheford, Texas.

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