PayPal Payflow Pro : New addition in the gateway list

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Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books now support PayPal Payflow Pro payment gateway. You can configure Payflow Pro as your online payment option and have your customers make online payment on the same page without being redirected to any other site.

​​​​If you are from US, CPayflow Proanada, New Zealand or Australia and your company processes large number of transactions on a daily basis, then Payflow Pro is a good choice for you. Your customers will love you too as they don’t have to wait in the long queue to make their payment.

​​Payflow Pro requires you to have an Internet Merchant Account, essentially an account that handles the funds received via credit card payment from your customer. The real beauty with Payflow Pro is the extensive reporting it offers. It lets you know the payment status and their customer support is always available to troubleshoot any questions you have for them.

Online Payment Gateway

Read more about Payflow Pro and find out if it suits your business needs.  While you are at it, also check out other payment gateways that we support – PayPal -  Standard and Business payments, Google Checkout and Authorize.Net.  Read more on how to set up the online gateway in Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books and quickly start receiving online payments from your customers.

Zoho Recruit: Candidate and Client Contact Sync

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In Recruitment industry , there are many opportunities – where clients become candidates and vice versa. Having candidate and client details in two different modules disconnects the continuous tracking.

The new Candidate and Client Contact sync in Zoho Recruit helps you track the entire activities of a candidate, who is also a client contact and vice versa. It also helps to avoid retype/manual work copying and pasting all the info.

Another interesting note about this feature is its Merged View option, which gives you a quick glance of both candidate and client contact details in a single screen.

We hope this new feature makes your recruitment more easier – we hope you like it!

Stay tuned!

The Key to a Successful CRM Implementation is Simplicity

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Even if you have a history of running businesses and working with CRM, it doesn’t necessarily lend itself to an easy initial CRM implementation. After a lot of trial and error Kenneth Hart of Thirsty Swagman found a CRM implementation that worked best for his small business.

Business

Kenneth Hart is the founder of Thirsty Swagman a premier travel destination service that offers international tours of the world’s best pubs and other hot nightlife spots. No boring backpacking and sightseeing on Thirsty Swagman, said Hart. You only do the good bits, such as pubs, bars, city nightlife, and festivals.

Situation

When Hart started Thirsty Swagman back in 2008 he just had a simple website with a web form. People filled out the form, they received the information via email, and then Hart or one of his employees copied and pasted the information into an Excel spreadsheet.

That technique worked for a little while until Hart reached 1,000 contacts. After that all sorts of problems started happening.

“Contact information started to get really messed up,” admitted Hart.

Cells and rows weren’t in line and a customer who was from London all of a sudden was living in Amsterdam.

That was just the beginning of Thirsty Swagman’s problems. Hart had worked with CRM packages such as ACT! and Microsoft CRM and he was well aware that he could have a tool that could track and massage leads. That wasn’t possible with contacts in Excel. Those contacts could never be active. They didn’t live. They didn’t breathe.

Unfortunately Excel is what Hart chose when he launched his business. He had a startup and at the time he believed he couldn’t afford the huge costs of a real CRM package.

CRM experiments for a startup

After six months of collecting contacts in Excel, Hart decided to give Salesforce a try. Hart had used Salesforce at his previous company so he was very familiar with its capabilities.

Given that Hart was operating on limited funds he only chose Salesforce’s basic edition, which is called group edition. Unfortunately, for Hart’s needs, Salesforce group edition was very limited. It seemed more appropriate for B2B CRM as it required each contact to be associated with a business, Hart said. There was no way to do personal accounts. While he tried some funky workarounds such as creating a fake account just to get contacts in the database, it really didn’t work for his B2C business.

“It became very painful to manage once we had about 3,000 contacts in there,” said Hart who knew there was a B2C version of Salesforce, but complained that it was far too expensive for his small business and far too complicated to implement.

Discovering Zoho CRM

Hart needed a better B2C CRM solution that wouldn’t break his startup’s bank. He began researching others who had been in his same situation and discovered many other small businesses were using Zoho CRM. In fact, he saw stories of others who had started with Salesforce and then switched to Zoho. After reading the positive stories of Zoho and its fractional cost of Salesforce (1/4 the price according to Hart), Hart signed up for a trial and now he loves it.

Moving to Zoho was completely painless, Hart said. After paying a negligible cost for Zoho to handle the Salesforce-to-Zoho migration it only took 8 hours to be up and running. “There wasn’t anything else we needed to do,” said Hart who has been using Zoho CRM for four months.

Unique use of Zoho CRM

Since he implemented Zoho CRM, Hart says he’s cut administrative efforts by more than 50 percent. And that keeps improving as he slowly adds other services such as Zoho’s web to lead which automatically enters web form data directly into Zoho CRM. In addition, Hart started using Zoho’s B2B module which uses the same interface and integrates very nicely with Thirsty Swagman’s B2C lead management tracking.

If Thirsty Swagman starts working with a travel agent who has a series of clients, Hart can enter all those clients and associate each one appropriately with the travel agent. If the clients book a trip with Thirsty Swagman, he knows exactly where to send the commission check and for how much.

Advice for others

For other businesses that are in a similar situation as Thirsty Swagman, Hart offers the following advice:

Choose a cloud-based application with proper CRM – Don’t just use some type of spreadsheet document because it requires a ton of copy and paste which can cause errors. Plus, with a spreadsheet, you don’t have a history of what you’ve sent in the past. In addition, you want a cloud-based application so more than one person can access at a time.

Keep it simple – Any CRM package will allow you to create lots of customizations. Problem is too much becomes an overhead thing to manage. Cut out any element you don’t need, such as unused fields.

“You’ll end up investing less time and personally I think you’ll get more out of it,” Hart said.

Listen to our interview with Kenneth Hart.

The New JOBS Act and Crowdfunding Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

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If you own a private company, chances are you have considered going public or plan on doing so after you have accrued enough resources. And if this is your vision for your small or medium-sized business, a new legislative act put in place last week may be the impetus needed to turn that vision into reality.

Known as the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS Act, this bipartisan legislative package aims at helping the growth of startups and small or medium-sized businesses, ultimately creating more jobs and boosting the overall economy. The bill consists of measures that reduce SEC restrictions on small and medium-sized companies and create new investment opportunities.

Specifically, the JOBS Act:

  • Eases certain rules and restrictions the SEC imposes on small companies, allowing them to go public with less resources and in less time.
  • Allows entrepreneurs (many of whom were previously banned from “crowdfunding”) to solicit and gather money from smaller investors.
  • Raises the shareholder registration requirement threshold for small companies, thereby providing more flexibility to grow.

For some companies, going public is essential to creating job opportunities and acquiring more capital resources. And for those who believe start-ups are a critical element of the overall market, then the JOBS Act is a step in the right direction. Only time will tell if this legislation profoundly affects job growth and whether it will favor medium-sized companies over smaller start-ups, but the new measures may help expand your business’ window of opportunities.

If you would like to learn more about the new business measures provided by the JOBS Act, you can refer to the following links:

Please provide us with feedback below, as we want to know your opinion on these new provisions and how you think they will affect your business.

And when the time comes for your business to start growing, the team here at Zoho is right here to help – with tools to mange your pipeline, manage your finances and help you hire the people you need.

Customer Spotlight : Graeme sends invoices while sailing

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Scotsail logoWhether you are on a yacht or sailing on a powerboat, invoicing is just a breeze through. You can stay connected with your business even while you’re sailing. Our customer Graeme, who runs one of Scotland’s premier RYA recognized sailing schools does exactly that. His company 1st Scotsail Training trains hundreds of its customers on its dedicated training yachts. Our invoice software has helped Graeme save enormous amount of time on his bookkeeping related activities.

I now get a lot of time to concentrate on my business. Zoho Invoice has helped us achieve more scalability. – Graeme Kerr, Co-founder – Scotsail

Our invoice program is so simple to use that most of Scotsail’s employees create and send invoices on their own to their clients.Thus it helps increase efficiency and saves lot of time.

RYA ScotlandThe most important things that his business demands are to send PDF invoices to his clients and track/receive faster payments. As Zoho Invoice is integrated with popular online payment gateways, Scotsail now receives instant payments from its customers thus improving its cash flow.

Graeme also uses Zoho Invoice’s iPhone app which enables him to send invoices on the go. He also plans to migrate to our accounting software soon. Also, Graeme would be trying our iPhone app in iPad3 which is going to be launched soon. Click here to read Scotsail’s complete success story…

Advice for New Entrepreneurs: #1 Don’t Rush

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“What is one piece of advice you’d give to a new entrepreneur?”

We asked our Facebook fans. And here are some cool responses we got, sorted by order of popularity / number of likes:

#1 Don’t Rush

Elnur D. Penahaliyev says:

Not to rush; to collect enough money before he starts to implement his business plan. And to collect the whole team of people who will work for this business, himself / herself should only work on how to increase efficiency and develop business, not to take part in daily work. This is important guys. 
Don’t start with insufficient money! Collect at least money so that your business can survive 4 months without any sales.

#2 Sell

One word of advice that says a lot. From Michael J. Hajduk.

#3 Have your product ready

Devin Kent Bryce says: Have a product or service ready to be sold before you start trying to sell it.

#4 Don’t be afraid

Mik Walker says: Don’t be afraid of being the one that steps out on your own. New ideas are just that!

Moshe Soffer says: Do not be afraid to make mistakes. Think different. And do at least 3 tasks a day.

Thanks to our fans for reaching out with these key pieces of Business advice.

And to our blog readers, we’d love it if you can share your personal favorite piece of advice in the comments below!

Checking in – Zoho Invoice Android App V 1.3

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A while ago the Zoho Invoice iPhone app V1.7 was released in the iTunes. And now, our android app development team has something fascinating to share as well – Release of Version 1.3.

Dim says – (Zoho Invoice android app user) ​

“Tried a lot of alternatives. This is EASILY the best of the lot. Made my life several magnitudes easier, and if you can believe it, has already saved me a few hundred dollars.”

What’s new in V 1.3 -

Contacts as customers in Zoho Invoice : Just like in the iPhone app, importing contacts from your android smartphone address book as customers in Zoho Invoice is possible in just a few taps. This little feature will directly import fields like email and mobile number etc., and map it to customer data in the app. You can even call or send a mail to your customer directly from customer detail page in the android app.

Add contacts to Zoho Invoice android app

Easily add contacts from android phone address book to your Zoho Invoice customer list

Edit Organization Details : Apart from accessing multiple organizations on your android phone, you can now have the power to edit your organization details like ‘Organization Name’, ‘Time Zone’, ‘Address’ and ‘Fiscal year’

The other update in V 1.3 includes a  fax number field for customer billing and shipping address and some bug fixes (thanks for all your feedback!)  that we did for smoother mobile invoicing from your Android phone. Read more about it in the play store.

And a big ‘Thank You’ to all our android app users, especially to those who’ve reviewed it on the market. Go ahead and try the new V 1.3 and leave us your feedback right here…