5 Ways to Recruit the Best and Brightest Graduates from the Class of 2013

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iStock_000024577981XSmallOver the past month, tens of thousands of college students across the United States earned their associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees. And after the graduation celebrations die down, these students will each begin pursuing a profession in a number of different career fields.

So what does this mean for you as a small business owner? How can you capitalize on these young, energized and passionate young adults?

A number of graduates will begin working for large companies because these businesses can offer enticing salary, benefits and security packages, as well as opportunities for advancement. As a small business owner, it may seem impossible to compete with larger companies in order to recruit top talent from the class of 2013.

One challenge facing small businesses is a simple lack of information for these graduates about the benefits of working for a small company. And while you may not be able to offer incentives big companies can offer, recruiting graduates can be simpler than you think with the right strategies.

1. Have Good Relationships with Local Schools

The importance of a college education is much more than just making good grades in order to graduate. It is also about having opportunities to network with businesses in the area. Students value the opportunity to network with potential employers. By establishing good relationships with local college and universities, these school can keep you connected with students who are close to graduating or have just recently graduated. This can also keep you informed on when the schools are hosting job fairs so your business can attend.

2. Use Your Size as a Benefit

Big companies have the brand name and look glamorous, but they aren’t always ideal for a graduate’s first job. At a small company, an employee can have the opportunity to get exposed to a number of different areas of the business as opposed to one department or task. They can also attend important meetings, communicate and connect with team leaders, directors and even the CEO on a daily basis — an opportunity that wouldn’t be possible at a larger company. (For example, here at Zoho, we all have the opportunity to reach out and speak with CEO and co-founder Sridhar Vembu whenever we want).

3. Talk About Your Company’s Culture

One of the most important aspects of a job for recent graduates is not necessarily the salary and benefits. It’s the work environment and culture of the company. Millennials want a job they enjoy going to on a daily basis at a company with a culture and personality that fits their own . Make sure graduates understand they are free to be themselves at your company and emphasize how the company values hard work and dedication. This can go a long way in recruiting talented and excited graduates.

4. Look at Students Before They Graduate/Offer Internships

There are a number of resources available for companies to begin looking at prospective employees before they walk across the stage. Use alumni networks, the local college career centers and offer both part-time and full-time internships for students. One of the best ways to avoid competing with other companies for a graduate is to establish a relationship with the student before he or she gets their diploma. Many students go on to work for the company they interned for during school, so don’t underestimate the power of an internship.

5. Place Importance on Your Online Presence

Finally, focus on creating a strong online presence for your company. From a visually impressive website to social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter, millennials want to know they are working for a tech-savvy company. Make sure your website has engaging content and visually impressive videos that attract young candidates. You can also utilize social media to post ads and highlight job opportunities at your company.

Believe in Your Business

You don’t have to be a large company to recruit the top talent from the graduating class of 2013. By implementing the above strategies and remaining confident in your company and company culture, there is no reason you cannot find talented, passionate and hard-working millennials who can help build your company on a daily basis.

Simplify Getting Paid With Braintree

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BraintreeWe have been on an integration spree since the beginning of this year. After the first two successful integration with Stripe and 2Checkout, Braintree is the latest payment gateway to be integrated to Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books.

If you haven’t begun accepting online payments from your customers, now is a good time to get started. Not only is creating a merchant account in Braintree is quick and painless, but also configuring it to Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books is easy.

Braintree supports multiple currencies and if your customers are across the globe, then it is a great payment gateway option to invest your money. Also, Braintree charges no monthly fee or minimums and charges you only for the transactions that have occurred (2.9% + $0.30 per transaction).

Awesome right? If you want to find out more,  head straight to our documentation for detailed information on how to set it up. We’ve got plenty more in store for you this year. Meanwhile,  share your feedback right here in the comments.

Customer Spotlight: Migrating from Salesforce to Z-CRM Saves Young Company Huge Money

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ICT_landing

“It all started with Jim Cramer.”

For those of you unfamiliar with Jim Cramer, he is a popular American television personality, former hedge fund manager, and host of CNBC’s Mad Money.

As Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. (ICT) founder and CEO Bob Joseph tells the story, “Years ago, I was watching Mad Money and he was pushing Sales Force’s CRM solution.  I knew we were at the point in our company growth where we needed a good CRM solution and one that could accommodate our growth.  So, from Cramer’s recommendation we began our customer relationship management with Sales Force.”

Soon however, Joseph realized that Cramer’s recommendation was not suitable for ICT…

The Business

Bob Joseph - Founder and CEO

Bob Joseph – Founder and CEO

ICT is a global training company committed to working collaboratively with regional, national, and international clients to provide a broad range of performance improvement training services geared specifically at helping individuals and organizations to work effectively with Indigenous Peoples.

Based out of Vancouver, BC, and started in 2002, ICT goes to great lengths to help the Canadian government work with indigenous peoples to improve all aspects of operation.

The Challenge: Switching from Salesforce to a More Affordable, Simpler CRM Solution

Per Cramer’s recommendation, Joseph decided to incorporate Salesforce into ICT as their CRM solution.  However, five months into implementation, he found that Salesforce was creating a huge cost and time burden for the amount of use and functionality they were receiving.

“At that point, we were like a ‘Mom and Pop’ shop, and the cost of Salesforce was exorbitant for us and the complexity was causing us to waste too much time.”

Joseph knew he had two options:  either stick with Salesforce, go through the pains of learning how to use it, and simply eat the cost hoping that in the end the monetary and time investment would be worth it, or try a lower cost, easier to learn CRM solution without sacrificing any of the functionality.

Joseph decided it was time for ICT to make a change.

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

ICT looked at several CRM solutions before finally selecting Zoho CRM.

“We looked at several CRM solutions including Sales Force and Trigger. When we found Zoho, we noticed the reviews were stellar, it had all of the functionality we needed and more, and it was free to sign up!”

Joseph had some definite “must haves” when searching for a CRM replacement.

“I knew that Salesforce was costing me way too much money, but I also knew I needed a full-featured CRM that could easily and quickly track customers through the entire sales process including ongoing customer support.”

Soon after signing up for Zoho CRM, Joseph realized that he had found a solution for ICT.

“Zoho had all of the functionality of Sales Force at a fraction of the cost. We signed on for free, started working with it, and realized that this is the solution for us.”

Implementing Zoho CRM

Prior to implementing CRM, ICT had several databases, calendars, and other data that was not shared.

“Data sharing was a huge problem for us!  My business partner and I would make phone calls, then later in the day would get together for coffee and realize we’d called some of the same people. When we started with Salesforce, this problem disappeared but now we were spending several extra hours having to navigate through complicated windows.  We eliminated one problem, but started another!”

However, when Joseph switched ICT over to Zoho CRM, both problems were alleviated.

Joseph found learning Zoho CRM very simple and intuitive and was able to have his entire database migrated over within a day.  After just a few days, Joseph felt incredibly comfortable navigating through Zoho CRM and using the majority of its features.

“It was just so intuitive and easy.  Now we were saving a ton of time while working together collaboratively, and the results showed immediately!  We were able to connect with noticeably more customers while delivering an improved service experience.”

“We actually use Zoho Projects to manage projects and connect that to CRM to have one cohesive dashboard.  It’s very easy for us now to navigate between customers and projects.

Life After Implementing Zoho CRM

As ICT became comfortable with Zoho CRM, they discovered some features that they hadn’t previously been familiar with but ended up being “real timesavers.”

“Zoho CRM really helped us with its data deduplication feature which in Salesforce costs several hundred dollars but Zoho provides for free.  Google app integration has also been huge.  We integrate Zoho Campaigns, CRM, and incorporate it with some of our Google apps to make one cohesive solution.”

Joseph has also found a lot of value in the Zoho CRM social media integration.

“We definitely use the Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter integration a lot and it has proven to be a valuable tool for us.”

What You Like to Say to Other Customers about CRM Solutions?

“I would say get Zoho right away!  It integrates so easily with everything, makes life so much easier, and is easy to learn.  It has all the tools that every other CRM solution has, but at a fraction of the price and is so much easier to learn.”

To learn more about Indigenous Corporate Training Inc, click here.

Now, get up to 20 free users, when you host email with Zoho Mail

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referral-smallLast month, we announced the increase in Zoho Mail Lite, our free hosted email plan, making it free up to 5 users. We were overwhelmed and humbled by the compliments showered by you, our users. We did hope that it would bring some cheer to our small business friends but it felt more like euphoria.

So we have decided to spend even more money with you, instead of hiring consulting firms or on ‘ads with words’. Starting today, you can gain 15 more bonus users in your business email account, free forever. This is in addition to what comes with your plan. That means you can sign up for the Lite plan with 5 free users included + get 15 bonus users, making it 20 free users in total.  All you have to do is invite other businesses to host email with Zoho Mail.

For every referred business that signs up and hosts email with us, we’ll add 5 bonus users to your account. Wait…. not just your account; we’ll add 5 bonus users to the referred business’ account also. A two-way bonus! Gain up to 15 bonus users through your first three successful referrals.

This is a win-win situation for your business, the businesses you invite and us, the Zoho Mail team:

  1. You do not have to pay for more users as your business expands and new employees come in.
  2. You can help an entrepreneur friend, paying for say 10 hosted email users elsewhere, pay nothing for the same 10 users with Zoho Mail. As in, if their business signs up for the Lite plan, they’ll get 5 free users included in the plan + 5 bonus users for being referred by you. And then they can refer other businesses and gain 10 more users.
  3. And for us, word of mouth is the best way to spread awareness about a business and gain brand recognition. With your active participation, we hope Zoho Mail is considered the ‘go to email for business’.

Since this is about a business inviting other businesses, only the administrator of your Zoho Mail business account will be able to send out invitations. If you are a Zoho Mail fan but not the email administrator, please share the email info of your friends and business acquaintances with your IT / email admin to send out invitations.

bonus-users-cpZoho Mail administrators can send invitations from the new Bonus Users section in the control panel. The invitation will contain a referral code, unique to every Zoho Mail business account. More details on how this referral program works can be found in our referrals page.

We hope this will be of good benefit to you and your (our) small business friends.

As always, we are all ears for your comments and feedback.

Zoho Docs 3.0 Released With New Features And Enhancements

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Zoho Docs upgraded to the new 3.0 version. Our focus for this version, is enhancing the file sharing and collaboration experience. We have made file sharing more tightly integrated and seamless, across all the office apps. On the collaboration front, we have diversified the workspace admin role, which will make managing a workspace much easier.

Here is a summary of what’s new in Zoho Docs 3.0:

Share Files As A Link

Now you can share files quicker, as a link. You just have to copy and paste a link in an email, IM, blogs etc, to share the file.This new feature also adds flexibility to how you choose to share your files. You can keep the file private by sharing the link within the organization through a common website or blog. You can also make it public and make the link accessible to anyone by adding it in a public website, blog or forum.

Transfer Ownership Of A Document In A Workspace

What if a user leaves the organization and all the documents created by him, which hold important information, are inaccessible? This is the reason why we have brought in the functionality for administrators to transfer ownership of a document, from the one who created it to another user in the organization. With this feature administrators can ensure that all documents are accessible.

Multiple Admins For A Workspace

Previously the one who created the workspace i.e the owner, by default was the only admin for it. Now the owner can assign the admin role to other workspace users. This will make it possible for other users to manage a workspace, in the absence of the owner. As an admin they can add or delete documents, change workspace access roles and also delete users from the workspace.

Grey Theme, Auto-Save And Auto-Suggestion For Spreadsheets

Zoho Sheet now sports a new look with a grey theme. The move was made to keep it in tune with Zoho Docs and Zoho Writer, so your experience with the office suite is more standardized.

The auto-save functionality has been added to spreadsheets, so changes made to a document, will be automatically saved. You don’t have to hit that “Save” button, every now and then and can carry on with your work uninterrupted. We’ve also added the auto-suggestion feature that will allow you to enter data faster. This is quite useful when you have to repeatedly enter the same values in a column.

Collaboration Notifications And Object Smart Guides For Presentations

A very useful functionality has been added to enhance collaboration, while working with presentations, using Zoho Show. You will now be able to see who is editing the presentation and know exactly which slide they are working on, through real-time notifications.

For objects and images, smart guides have been added. Smart guides are the dotted lines that appear by default, when you try to position an object on a slide. The smart guides will come in handy when you are aligning multiple objects and will help you position them in the right place.

Add Task Reminders

The main purpose of task management in Zoho Docs is to keep track of what work needs to be completed by other users. Now, wouldn’t you also like to keep a track of work that needs to be completed by you? That’s why we’ve added Task Reminders. You can add a task reminder for your documents, so you know which tasks you have to complete and when. This will help you prioritize and organize your work better.

We would like you to try Zoho Docs 3.0 new features and enhancements and give us your feedback.

 

 

Customer Spotlight: Using Automated Workflows in Z-CRM to Save HOURS Everyday

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brightwise

When BrightWise Marketing first opened its doors over 12 years ago, CEO Jeff Gordon knew that CRM was of utmost importance in creating a positive customer experience and helping the new company grow.  Gordon selected a popular CRM solution at the time and “made due” for several years before realizing that the current approach wasn’t working.  “We had been talking about getting a real CRM solution for 6 or 7 months because our current CRM tool was simply not cutting it.”

Having used the same CRM tool for several years, Gordon was looking for a CRM solution that he could easily import data into, quickly learn to use, and automate many of his daily tasks.

The Business

Jeff Gordon - Found and CEO

BrightWise was started in 1992 by CEO Jeff Gordon to provide marketing consulting services to small and medium sized businesses.  Gordon refers to his marketing strategy as “action marketing.”

BrightWise’s strategy is to provide innovative strategies that generate response, change behavior, and build brand equity.  They focus on marketing programs that blend promotion, advertising, direct response, visual communications, branded products, and alternative media.

The Challenge: Finding a Cloud-based CRM solution with automated workflows

Gordon had been using GoldMine as his CRM solution for over eight years when he began to realize that it was becoming more of a cost and time incurrence than the benefit it was providing.

“We had been using Goldmine for many years and it was finally reaching the end of its useful life for us. We started having CRM problems and I was spending entirely too much money and time fixing problems!”

For Gordon, he found CRM advice from an unlikely source:

“My financial advisor actually recommended Zoho.  I signed up for free to and immediately knew whether or not this was the CRM solution for BrightWise.”

Competitive Analysis of CRM Solutions

Although Gordon used GoldMine as his CRM solution for several years, there were several specific issues he was having.

“Goldmine was much too complicated for our needs and it was becoming an ongoing cost sinker. I couldn’t actually implement things that I wanted to with Goldmine, specifically automating workflow.”

Gordon had three main selection criteria for a new CRM Solution:

Workflow Automation – Gordon places high value on time savings to automating workflow was of high importance.  “I really wanted to be able to take sales processes, break them down, and then automatically generate emails, setup tasks, and other things like that.”

Simple Interface – Gordon found Goldmine’s increasing complexity frustrating and time consuming and wanted a simple, easy-to-navigate solution

Cloud Based – Gordon wanted to increase his virtual capabilities including using virtual employees which made this an essential feature.  “The initial allure of Zoho CRM is that it was cloud based which would allow us to be more virtualized.”

Implementing Zoho CRM

After about a month of using CRM, Gordon and the rest of BrightWise felt very comfortable with Zoho CRM and were already saving time by automating workflow.

“Zoho CRM was just so smooth and swift and made workflow automation so easy”

Once familiar with Zoho CRM, Gordon soon discovered Zoho Projects and decided to integrate that as well to create one interconnected solution for customer project management.

“We actually use Zoho Projects to manage projects and connect that to CRM to have one cohesive dashboard.  It’s very easy for us now to navigate between customers and projects.

Life After Implementing Zoho CRM

“The speed with which we work and the ability to get our hands on information is so much quicker and simpler.  I can’t over emphasize how much time we save using Zoho.  I have been able to save at least two to three hours per day since switching to Zoho.

Gordon has seen huge improvements to his business in customer acquisition as well.

“Managing potential customers has been the biggest boon to my work in dealing with clients and helping me to organize and manage multiple priorities.  We’re now integrating QuickBooks with Zoho so we now have a 360 degree view of client activity from one dashboard which is something I’ve wanted for years and with Zoho became a reality.  But the improvement in dealing with potential customers has been where I’ve gained the most value since switching to Zoho.”

What You Like to Say to Other Customers about CRM Solutions?

“Zoho is always upgrading, adding new features, and make new things available which I really like.  It’s so quick and everything just goes where it’s supposed to go.  Everything is just so easy.  Zoho is just so smooth, reliable and doesn’t crash EVER!”

“The bottom line is that every business person is looking for the same thing:  a sustainable, systematic process for growth that doesn’t’ depend on them being there and is a money making machine that can live in perpetuity.  Zoho CRM does exactly this.”

To learn more about BrightWise, click here.

5 Lessons Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Vijay Brihmadesam

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These days, it doesn’t take much to call yourself an entrepreneur. You don’t need an advanced degree, a certificate proving you completed required training or even a business card to pursue a dream of starting your own company.

Photo courtesy of Tava Indian Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Tava Indian Kitchen

However, having success as an innovator takes more than just a great idea. It takes dedication, hard work, sacrifice, and possibly even abandoning your comfort zone to have a chance at doing what you love.

Meet Vijay Brihmadesam. Like many people across the world, Vijay had a well-paying job and comfortable lifestyle working at a private equity firm in Palo Alto, Calif. And like many people, he was not happy with his current job and career path.

Long story short, Vijay got together with two of his friends and decided to leave the daily grind of Wall Street to pursue their passion — a fast-casual Indian food restaurant called Tava Indian Kitchen. Now, with two locations and plans for a third, Tava Indian Kitchen is thriving in the Bay Area.

Vijay’s story is just another example of someone having success from taking a risk and working hard. So what can you learn from Vijay to apply to your own path toward entrepreneurial success?

1.  Chase Your Passion

Photo courtesy of Tava

Photo courtesy of Tava

This may seem cliche and obvious, but it’s one of the most fundamental components for success as an entrepreneur. Without a passion or love for the business you are starting, it is almost impossible to fight through the roadblocks and keep moving forward when the easier route is giving up.

Vijay set out wanting to, “serve Indian food in a casual setting that was like what [he] ate growing up.” He believed in his vision and pursued a business that was close to his heart.

2.  Surround Yourself with the Right People

Having encouraging people who are all chasing the same dream as business partners can be an essential part of your success. Vijay partnered with a former classmate of his from Duke University named Jason Pate. The two ran into each other on an airplane and began discussing how they were both dissatisfied with their current jobs and decided to do something about it. They then partnered with another friend (Hasnain Zhaidi) after returning to San Francisco.

“We both wanted to be doing more than the rat race of Wall Street and start contributing to the community in a way that felt meaningful to us,” Brihmadesam told Business Insider.

Chipotle Mexican Grill paper bag3.  Do Whatever It Takes

One of the most amazing parts of Vijay’s story is that he left everything — a high paying job in a respectable field — to chase his dream. More than that, he and his two friends knew they needed restaurant experience in order to have a chance at success. So, the three applied for jobs at Chipotle, and worked the assembly line for a few weeks. Adjusting from an office job to making burritos and burrito bowls everyday may not have been required, but it laid the foundation for Tava Indian Kitchen and its success.

“Chipotle is great because they took authentic Mexican food and made it accessible to the masses,” he said.

4.  Learn from Others’ Success

Vijay and his friends knew there weren’t any casual Indian food restaurants in the area and they made it a goal to fix that problem with Tava. Additionally, the trio wanted to have an ethical impact on the community, just like Chipotle, by using produce from local sources as well as meat that is free of hormones. Another lesson they learned while working the assembly line.

5.  Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you have to know there is a risk of failing, but it cannot stop you. Leaving what you know and the comfort of a guaranteed salary is scary, but by investing everything and not fearing failure, you give yourself the best chance at being successful.

“A chance encounter changed the path of my life…taking the risk was scary, but I couldn’t be more thrilled with my career today,” he said.