Merry-go-round of Pictures: Introducing Carousel Of Banner Images

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Images are the fanciest of all elements in a website. Today, we’re announcing a great new way to make the most of your images. Banner of a website gets the most exposure, and when it has animation, it adds to the attraction. This can be extremely useful when you advertise some event you are hosting, raise funds for a cause or to highlight your unique selling points.

Another advantage we are introducing, is page-specific banners. You can have different banner settings for each page, so that every page looks unique.

We have close to 20 effects to give you a wide choice of transitions. It eliminates the need for JavaScript and other technology involved in implementing these animations. Not everyone speaks JavaScript. All the proof of a pudding is in the eating. Experience it now.

Great Ideas Start As Random Scribbles

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Be it the iPhone, Statue of Liberty, Tower Bridge, or for that matter the laptop, tablet or phone you are reading this post on, their designs most probably started as a scribble.

Who knows, even Jony Ive may have drawn a rough rectangle on a paper napkin, the casual scribble causing the edges to be curved, resulting in an ‘aha!’ moment and the iPhone design took its first form (purely imagined situation).

The freedom of being able to express an idea, feeling or thought with a quick, simple sketch, is any day a more fun and easy way to unleash ideas (that mostly flash at odd times, all of a sudden) than to toil with a Photoshop tool that demands professional skills.

At Zoho, we have always been fond of the freedom to scribble. That is why we have now made it possible for you to get your fingers do more exercise than just tap on letter keys while composing emails. You can now find a scribble button in compose view when you access Zoho Mail mobile version from your iPhone, iPad, Android touch devices. Tap it to load an ultra lite drawing interface and scribble away.

We surmise that this feature will score first as a fun tool, especially with people who love to draw, like Draw Something mobile app enthusiasts.

Since it’s Thanksgiving season, you could try bringing your latent drawing skills to the fore. How about draw a cool ecard, egreeting, cartoon to your friends and loved ones or get cute while inviting someone for lunch or coffee, right from Zoho Mail compose? Here are a some samples for inspiration:

Well, fun is good but we wanted to make this feature useful for business and official situations too. We thought about how people send emails with images of bar charts, flow charts, design sketches etc., as attachments, seeking reviews and opinions while collaborating.

So we further added the ability to use any attached image as a canvas in scribble mode, when you reply to such messages. This way you can quickly express yourself by drawing on top of the image, save it as an attachment or inline in your message, hit send to reply.

 

So there! Next time you are on the move and have a ‘eureka!’ moment or even a hunch, take out your iPhone, iPad or your favorite touch device, log in to Zoho Mail on your mobile browser, scribble email the idea to your colleague(s) right away and set your idea into execution mode. Because great ideas start as random scribbles.

As always, we’d love to hear your comments and feedback on how this feature worked for you.

Bulk Print now available in Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books

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Yes, you read it right!

You can now print multiple invoices and estimates all with just one click of the button. Gone are the days when you had to babysit printing every single invoice. Now all you need to do, is go to your invoice list and sort it the way you want. Select the invoices to be printed and click ‘Print’.

Bulk Print Invoices

The Invoices will be downloaded as a single PDF file, which you can print as you wish. Just make sure you have fed the printer with enough paper.

Read more about bulk printing in our help section.

Hope you like it. Go ahead and give it a try and let us know how it worked for you.

Zoho Creator’s Calendar View Evolves Further

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Dates are important. Every transaction, every deadline, every memory, every milestone has been date-driven. In Zoho Creator too, be it scheduling emails, calculating due date or restricting form activity to working hours, date fields are irreplaceable. That urged us to push them further. The makeover has left the date fields and calendar views better than before. Here’s what has happened.

One, is the ability to restrict the days on which appointments can be requested on public calendars; working days and working hours. Users will be permitted to create events only within this duration. We’ve made it customizable to suit your locale and culture because Friday is not the end of the week in all countries (Russia, for instance).

The second enhancement, is support for week and day views, in addition to the month view. You can now pick the desired view to filter the appointments.

The third, is rescheduling events as you would do on any other calendar application. Drag the event around the calendar to reschedule it, and pull the end to lengthen or shorten it.

Use this calendar here to try these new features. Let us know what you think.

Advantages of a husband and wife owned small business

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Husband and Wife BusinessSince 2007, the IRS has given husbands and wives, filing a joint tax return, the opportunity to treat their business venture like a jointly owned sole proprietorship.  This election is only available to “qualified joint ventures” exclusive to husband and wife-only members provided that both parties materially participate in the trade or business and of course, file a joint tax return.  (See IRS.gov Small Business/Self-Employed)

This has several advantages over treating the business as a partnership, the first of which is the reduction in paperwork and record keeping.

Taxes and record keeping requirements are less stringent.

Operating in this manner allows the principals to attend to the business and its needs first and foremost rather than worrying about keeping records that are more detailed for a partnership.  A 1040 return is simple and besides that, each spouse has to fill out separate Schedule C returns according to their pre-determined ownership stakes.

This avoids the hassle of having both spouses fill out partnership returns and keeps everything organized and clean.

Both spouses can get credit for social security taxes and Medicare coverage.

Self-employment taxes can often drag a husband and wife business down, but a big advantage is that both spouses can get credit for paying social security and Medicare taxes without paying more in taxes.

If one spouse has an outside job, that spouse can get credit for taxes withheld and therefore, the burden of all the payroll tax isn’t shouldered by the other spouse.  This husband and wife-business election can be beneficial as long as both spouses do actually participate in the operation of the business.

No need to pay for creating an LLC or even for an EIN.

When you start a business with your spouse, you do not need to incorporate it or form an LLC.  You will be able to deduct all your expenses on a Schedule C and do not have to worry about the cost of incorporating (LLC) or the extra paperwork of filing for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).  Your social security numbers will do just fine and there is no need to go out of your way to register with the Federal Government any further.

In most cases, registering with your state will be required especially if you need a re-sale number and want to sell products that will be subject to sales tax.

Some rules to keep in mind.

  • A partnership terminates at the end of the tax year and any change in election should be revised at that time.
  • A business already set up a Limited Liability Company does not qualify for the election.
  • If the business was set up as a partnership, with an EIN, the EIN must remain with the partnership and should not be used on the return once a husband-wife business election is made.
  • If employment taxes are paid, at least one spouse needs a “sole-proprietorship” EIN.
  • Each partner must file a Schedule C on their joint return for the election to be valid.

Operating as a husband and wife unincorporated business has many advantages beyond the scope of this article.  The ease of operation, reduction of paperwork and simplicity of tax returns alone should make this election valuable for any spouses starting a small business together.

The best way to deal with cold-calling rejection

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In the past I shared some tips when you are cold-calling a customer. Cold-calling gets a bad rap. But it can be effective – if it’s done well, targeted and you do your homework beforehand. I also find that cold-calling can be made more effective when you send an email first to warm-up your prospect beforehand.

But even when you do that, rejection is bound to happen. In the event that you have the
right contact info, your prospect is still there and you happen to catch him, he might still flat-out reject you.

So today I want to talk about what sales people can do when they get rejected. I won’t get credit for this – I just witnessed this in a call from Ian, with Vidyard, a company specializing in on-line video. So thank you, Ian, for the inspiration. Interestingly enough, Ian doesn’t sport a “sales” title. But after all, we’re all in sales, aren’t we?

Before I talk about how he handled it, let me talk about how others have handled rejection, in a sub-standard way. Let me focus primarily on email communications here (the most common form of cold-selling these days), but the learnings can be applied to other situations.

These are the top three ways in which most sales people deal with rejection from cold-calling/emailing:

Ignore and Move-On (Don’t Do This)
This is kind of rude. If I took the time to respond to your sales email, to acknowledge it, and to give you very useful information (that I’m not interested!), I expect at least a “Thank you for letting me know Rodrigo – have a good day”. As I’ve said before, I try to reply to most cold-selling efforts (especially email), out of professional courtesy even when I’m not interested. But sometimes I don’t hear back from reps at all – they just go dark. I understand everyone’s busy, but remember to always say “Please” and “Thank You”.

Pretend The Target Is Interested – And Carry Along (Don’t Do This)
Oh, I have a good story about this that I’ll share sometime. But basically, I told a well-known company rep that I wasn’t interested. Then he kept contacting me, and sending me stuff. Again. And again. And again. I then told him that we had gone with the competition, and he finally left me alone. If someone is telling you they are not interested – why would you do this? I’m sure you’ll get an extra 1 or 2 sales, but I don’t think it’s worth the bad reputation you -and your company- will get as a result of it.

Keep Us In Mind (Don’t Do This Either)
This is the most common. Most times, after rejecting some sales effort, I get a nice, polite email back thanking me for letting them know and asking that I “keep them on my radar should things change”. If it was something that I might be interested in later on – most times I am – I just save the email for future reference when we’re looking for someone that can help us in that area. Some other times the sales person tells me that they’ll follow-up with me in “X” time. Depending on the area we’re talking about, that might be too soon, too late, or not appropriate at all, if I was really not interested.

Do This Instead
Now let’s see what the best approach is that I’ve seen so far. After I rejected the first offer and showed no interest, Ian sent me a polite and short email back, asking me a simple question and three options:

The question was: “Would you like me to…?” And the three options were:
a) Explain to you briefly what we do (5 minutes)
b) Circle back at a later time
c) Never contact you again

I liked the approach so much that I changed my mind and took his call. After a brief conversation, he found out what my pain was, and was able to find out a benefit, among all things they offer, that might be able to help us after all. I’m still not sure we’ll buy, but I sent it to our video team and they’ll decide. That’s certainly much better than getting a straight-out “no!”.

Now, don’t kid yourself – that same question is not going to work for you just because. Those are not magic words. Here’s why it worked in this case:

Ian had done his homework well before contacting me. He knows we have a bunch of Zoho videos in YouTube.
Because of the homework, it was a very targeted outreach. Like I said, cold-selling can work if you do it targeted and specific.
He offered me a really quick alternative – 5 minutes. That’s a very low time commitment.
He gave me a way out (do you never want to hear from us again?). That’s very direct, but also very helpful for them and us.
And also because I thought it was a very nice way of approaching the rejection problem. It’s the first time I’ve seen it and I reject sales pitches left and right every day.
Rodrigo

Customer Spotlight: Andrijana makes sure your house is just perfect!

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Flipping through a magazine, you come across a picture of a living room with sunlight streaming through large curtained windows, a big white fluffy bed in a cozy bedroom or gaze at the sparkling and flawless bathroom and you sigh and say …”I want that house“. Buying a house is one of the biggest investment and driven primarily by our emotions (mind you, money is involved) but if it doesn’t click the first time then its just not the one.

Andrijana Furniss specializes in accentuating the best parts of the house and making the house speak for itself. Her company Homes Aglow is a staging and redesign company that  enhances the appeal of the house that’s listed on the market for sale. From her experience, she says ,

It’s all about the aesthetics. If the house is not visually appealing then it is either sold under market value or not sold at all.

Andrijana’s customers dole out praise of her work. Her eye for color and design, efficiency in getting things done with limited set of resources and putting together the best team in plumbing, tile, carpentry, hardwood install and painting are highly appreciated by her customers.

Home Staging and Redesigning

She has been using Zoho Invoice for the past four years now and our relationship is only getting better and better with every new invoice that gets rolled out. Andrijana says,

I started using Zoho Invoice within six months of starting my business and it’s been wonderful. Invoicing was one part of the business I wasn’t able to handle and Zoho Invoice does it beautifully for me. It makes it all so simple.

You can see some of Andrijana’s work and read her story in our Customer Spotlight section.