How Dave manages all his contacts like a symphony

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It was around noon, on a normal workday, and Dave was at his desk as usual, designing a floor plan for his new client, while ​humming along to a song that ​was playing on his stereo system (Dave is a successful architect and runs his own design studio). It was ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles. As the guitar solo played along, he dropped the pencil and started acting as if he was holding his guitar. He was pretty good with the guitar, and used to jam with a couple of friends on the​ weekends. Dave was so engrossed in the song, that he was pulling riffs on his ruler, imagining it to be his guitar’s fret board. As he came out of his fantasy, ​he began to ponder about taking the plunge, and starting a career as a guitarist. But he loved architecture way too much to let go of it. So he mulled taking up a dual career; architect at day, and guitarist at night. It was not long before he became famous in the music circuit. Gradually, he began performing at local concerts on weekends.

He used to meet new people everyday; people like fellow musicians, vocalists, audio engineers from the music industry and people like realtors, interior designers from the architecture & design industry. Keeping track of so many people was turning out to be quite ​a herculean task. After all, he was pursuing a dual-career, and both these professions revolved around people. As time passed by, he felt the need for some ​to manage his vast list of contacts. Initially, he felt that an address book ​would fit his needs. As he began evaluating some of the most popular address books​ on the market, he started to realize that they offered very limited functionality. The next option was to try a sales automation solution, but he felt such a tool would be overkill for his modest needs like managing contacts, scheduling tasks and tracking work assignments.vibhav_image_blog2

The search for an ideal solution came to an end when he heard about ContactManager, which was suggested by a fellow musician during an open jam session. Dave was delighted when he tried his hand​s at ContactManager. It was just the right mix of simplicity and functionality.

Why did Dave love ContactManager, and how did he use it?

1) He classified and sorted all his contacts using Tags. Contacts were classified by profession into architecture or music. Contacts from the architecture industry were classified as realtors, designers, carpenters and engineers while contacts from the music industry were classified as composers, pianists and vocalists.

2) He collaborated with fellow musicians using Feeds. Music notes and sample recordings were uploaded directly from the cloud. Everyone involved in that music album could easily collaborate online and bring about a symphony.

3) He marked all ongoing music assignments and architecture projects as Deals. He also scheduled tasks and reminders under each of these deals ​so that he wouldn’t lose track of anything.

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Sometimes a CRM system is way too overwhelming for your small business, while a simple address book is completely inadequate, resulting in missed opportunities. ContactManager is the perfect fit. Find us here: https://www.zoho.com/contactmanager

While all characters in this post are fictional, whatever we mentioned about ContactManager is extremely real!

This food-delivery startup guy just got serious about social media marketing (​and why you should too!)

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After we released Zoho Social last month, I’ve been talking to a lot of customers, replying to love and hate emails, helping them set up their accounts and what not. It’s fun helping small businesses get better at social media marketing!

Why you should get serious about social media marketing

Last weekend, I was looking forward to meeting someone at my favorite cafe. No, this wasn’t about work. It was about food! A young entrepreneur who started a food-delivery business right after he graduated got in touch with me over Twitter. He said he was meeting some foodies in the city over the last couple of weeks and wanted to meet me to talk about my favorite food joints in the city. Well, that tells you a thing or two about me. 😉

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The all new ContactManager takes the cake!

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You enter your favorite café. You are greeted with the same familiar warm smile! “The usual?” you are asked. You smile in agreement, and get yourself seated in your favorite seat overlooking the driveway. Within a few minutes of comfortable wait, there comes your favorite expresso, along with a copy of the Times “Here you go, sir! Double Shot, just the way you like it!” You smile, totally wondering which is a more pleasant experience – sipping your favorite coffee from your favorite café, or the warmth with which you are being treated! Every single time!

I asked myself this question: When was the last time someone connected with me on a personal note? When was the last time I was greeted with such a warm smile? Well, I realized I have to take you back in time. My time, from my childhood!

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Our neighborhood baker knew my family well. My father would just say “the usual” and the baker would give us bread for the day. He knew that we preferred french bread on weekends, and would take the necessary care to make sure it was there during weekends. We never had to tell him anything, he knew us so well. He’d quietly gift us some muffins whenever there was a family occasion. Everyone in the bakery knew everyone in the neighborhood. We might not have known many people or had many contacts during those days. But the ones we knew, we knew them well. Very well!

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5 Ways to Deal with Your Small Business Debt

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Do you spend sleepless nights worrying about your business debt? If you do, then you’re not alone. Recently, Gallup, a research-based global performance management consulting company, conducted a survey and found that 49% of small business owners find it extremely difficult to manage their current debt. The fact is, handling debt can be one of the most difficult challenges a small business owner can face.
 5 ways to deal with debt

When things get really tough and there’s no way out, historically, many ailing businesses declared bankruptcy. But, new laws have made it more difficult to simply declare bankruptcy to get out from under piles of debt. Furthermore, bankruptcy is no easy way out, as it comes at a high price. Typically, a bankruptcy filing costs thousands of dollars in court and attorney fees. Even worse, your credit scores, not to mention your business reputation, will take a severe hit, making it nearly impossible to regain business stability.

Fortunately, there are ways to avert this type of financial disaster. Here are a few helpful tips to control your debt before it controls you.
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Gunning for Gold: Why Owning a Business is Like Training for the Olympics

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As a small business owner, one needs to stay inspired at all times. Everything around you motivates you to follow your dream and do anything you can to keep it alive. Watching a sporting event like the Winter Olympics, is a great reminder to stay committed to your business goals.

When we watch the Sochi events on YouTube or read about it in the news, rarely do we think about the preparation, the intense training these athletes had to undergo to be eligible for competing at the greatest sporting event in the world. We remember only the winners, the people who performed exceptionally well. We forget about the years, the decades of hard work that come down to just a few seconds.

Ever thought what you and a sportsperson training for the Olympics have in common?

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Freedom to focus on your email campaigns with an even better free plan

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Better Free PlanAt Zoho, we believe that growing businesses should have the freedom to try and experiment as much as they want, without having to worry about limits. When we launched Zoho Campaigns, we had a similar goal. We wanted to make it easier for your business to define your email marketing campaigns and not worry about the process. And that’s why we’re constantly working on improving our product and pricing plans towards this theme.

It was during the first year celebration that we strengthened our free plan. Read more

Lessons from a Coffee Mill for All Small Business Owners

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Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetCoffee touches everyone differently. For some, coffee is essential to functioning the way motor oil is essential to a combustion engine or oxygen to fire.

Some drink coffee because it’s become part of their daily routine alongside showering and getting dressed. It’s a habit.

Others — my roommate for example — drink coffee through their nostrils and are perfectly content with never letting it touch their lips. It is an aroma of comfort. An aroma of home.

Coffee has a sense of nostalgia and urgency. Of past memories and of days ahead. John Steinbeck may have said it best when he wrote, “coffee has a special taste of a frosty morning, and the third cup is as good as the first.”

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