How To Clean Up Your Business – With Zoho

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Entrepreneur.com recently featured an article titled ‘How To Clean Up Your Business‘. The article talks about Spring Cleaning, a time to ‘get rid of the tasks, people and situations that drain time, money and energy from your Business’. Every Business encounters its share of such tasks, people and situations that it must successfully overcome in order to increase and optimize productivity.

I’d like to share some ‘Productivity Pitfalls’ quoted from the original articleAt Zoho, we offer several applications which can help eliminate 7 out of these 8 Pitfalls. These Zoho Apps can be used together, in conjunction with one another, to achieve the purpose of maximizing productivity while saving you time, money and energy.

Productivity Pitfall #1 Scattered day plans

 “Failure to plan their days is the No. 1 reason business owners waste time, energy and money, says New York City-based time-management expert Julie Morgenstern By not planning their days, they tend to become reactive and distracted, diminishing their productivity and the revenue they can generate.”

Our SolutionZoho Mail for Business comes with Calendar, Tasks and Notes apps integrated for improved productivity and efficiency. With Zoho Mail, Business-Owners can plan and organize their days better. The Calendar app within Zoho Mail helps easily schedule, manage and track important events and meetings from within the email interface. The Tasks app lets you assign, plan and track important tasks, ensuring that you never miss any task-related deadlines. The Notes app lets you add quick, color-coded notes to gather all useful information in one place, so you can later refer to it, edit or import it. Zoho Mail also supports multi-level folders that make it easier for Business-Owners to track, organize and prioritize incoming email thereby saving time and energy. Read the complete list of powerful features offered by Zoho Mail for Business.

Productivity Pitfall #2 DIY syndrome 

Morgenstern estimates that 75 to 80 percent of the small and midsize businesses she consults with waste employee salaries, including their own, by not focusing each person’s time on the optimal task for that person.”

Our SolutionZoho Creator helps many Business-Owners build custom apps for their Busi
ness requirements. Instead of hiring a developer who may or may not understand their exact requirements, Business-Owners can easily build their own custom app all by themselves, using the Zoho Creator platform. Building their own apps saves these Businesses considerable time and money that may have otherwise been wasted hiring unnecesary developer resources Also, using Zoho Creator ensures that there is no compromise on the quality of the applications built.

One such Zoho Creator customer, Wayne “Kila” Watts, Chief Pilot at  PilotSpeak.net reports:

“It was a godsend for the applications I needed for my website, saving me thousands of dollars to have someone else make the databases and design the pages.”

Read experiences of other Business-Owners who have saved time and money by building their own apps with Zoho Creator.

Productivity Pitfall #3 Disorganized direction  

To make the delegation process more effective and less time-consuming, Bakersfield, Calif.-based business growth consultant Russell S. Allred, co-author of Best Practices of High Performance Entrepreneurs, recommends creating task-related systems and processes. Write a list of steps for each task you perform regularly in your workplace and the best practices for completing those steps.

Our SolutionZoho Wiki helps create a secure, collaborative environment for Businesses to document and share such task-related systems and processes online over their Intranet. Wikis serve as a knowledge-base where employees can maintain and update information and steps related to these tasks.

Stu Press, CEO of Grand Assistance, is the owner of one such Business and has successfully achieved this purpose using Zoho Wiki. Here’s what he had to say about our Wiki solution:

“Zoho Wiki has been a valuable communication tool that we were able to integrate into our business. We have been able to eliminate printed procedure manuals and employee handbooks resulting in a more nimble and environmentally friendly process for keeping our all of organization’s people in alignment with our goals. We enjoy being able to quickly implement modifications and updates to our Wiki.”

Learn more about Zoho Wiki features that can help you create process-oriented knowledge-bases for your Business.

Productivity Pitfall #4Untamed distractions

“Many people have no idea how to manage the overwhelming amount of communication that comes their way on paper and electronically, says productivity consultant Kimberly Medlock, founder of Productive Matters in Olive Branch, Miss. To cut down on distractions and time-sucks, clean up your act, she says. Develop hard-copy and electronic filing systems to help locate important papers and information more quickly.”

Our SolutionZoho Docs can serve as the electronic filing system helping your Business store, manage and collaboratively work on documents online. Not only does Zoho Docs allow secure file sharing via an online workspace, it also includes an admin console so that user rights and access to files can easily be controlled. Read more about these features available on Zoho Docs.

Productivity Pitfall #5Leaky expenditures 

>By checking his monthly expenses closely, Eli Mechlovitz, co-founder of GlassTileStore.com, an online glass tile retailer, found a variety of unwanted subscriptions, warranty programs, fee-based website analytics programs, utility bill errors and other incorrect or unwanted charges. Eliminating these budgetary leaks has saved his Brooklyn, N.Y., company approximately $4,000 per month.  Every quarter, be sure to review where the money is going, he advises, and discontinue or fight unnecessary or incorrect charges.

Our SolutionZoho Books is a comprehensive accounting solution that helps Business-Owners manage their finances and stay on top of their Business. With Zoho Books, you can keep your Business expenses in check and manage the money flowing in and out of your Business. Learn more about how Zoho Books can help your business stay financially healthy.

Productivity Pitfall #6:  Collecting (all) customers

Maria Marsala, a business coach in Poulsbo, Wash., finds that many of her clients waste time and energy serving the wrong customers. She encourages them to define their “ideal” customer–the person or entity that will pay a fair price for their product or service, value their business, return and buy from them again and generate referrals. The greatest marketing investment and effort should be devoted to finding and courting those ideals, she says.

Our Solution: Zoho CRM can help your Business build, maintain and strengthen customer relationships. With Zoho CRM, you can organize your customer database so that you can identify and tag the right customers, prioritize and track business opportunities and plan focused marketing activity. Read about some of the Business-Owners who have benefited from adopting Zoho CRM for their Business.

Productivity Piftall #7: Energy-sucking employees

 When Mechlovitz has trouble with unproductive or negative employees, he tries to move them into positions that better suit their skills. But if an employee isn’t a good fit or is miserable, he says, you have to end the relationship–quickly. 

Productivity Pitfall #8: Persistent procrastination

 If you constantly avoid tasks or put off work until the last minute, you need to figure out why, Morgenstern says. Burnout could be from being overworked, but she often finds that procrastination is rooted in uncertainty or intimidation. If a project seems too big, procrastination can be a coping mechanism. She suggests breaking the task down into manageable steps you can do in shorter chunks of time.

Our Solution Zoho Projects is helping many Businesses effectively manage their Business Projects online. With features such as task-management, time-tracking, project calendar, chat and meetings, Zoho Projects can help you plan and optimize the time spent on tasks. 

Business-Owners can use Zoho Projects with their teams ensuring that team members collaboratively manage their tasks within optimal time. Tasks can be easily broken down into manageable chunks and completed over a defined, measurable period of time. Not only that, Business-Owners can also save and plan their own time that they would otherwise spend micro-managing different tasks across multiple projects within their Business. Read about some of these Businesses and how they have benefited from Zoho Projects.

So, that’s the complete list of Productivity Pitfalls and how they can be avoided by using the right Zoho Apps. Thanks to Gwen Moran of Entrepreneur.com for the original article that inspired this post. Besides this list, are there any other Productivity Pitfalls that affect your Business? Tell us about them, and we can help you figure out the best ways to tackle them.

If you liked this post, drop us a comment here or give us a shout on twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

Zoho Tasks Integrates Tasks from Zoho Projects

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Our unified task module, available through Zoho Business, previously integrated tasks from Zoho CRM. In our latest update, Zoho Tasks integrated tasks from Zoho Projects, our online project management application. This means, Zoho Tasks can now be used to manage your personal tasks as well as tasks from Zoho CRM & Zoho Projects.

Projects Tasks are slightly different from tasks from other apps like CRM. Here, they are more focused on a Project. So, you’ll notice a ‘Project Portals’ section on the left that lists all portals you are part of. Selecting a portal and a related project will display all tasks related to that project.

Apart from viewing your tasks in a project, you can also view tasks assigned to other members in a project. In Zoho Projects, we have a concept of ‘Tasklist’ where multiple related tasks can be pooled together. Tasks in Tasklists show up as sub tasks. Ofcource you can add Tasks and Tasklists right from Zoho Tasks module. When you add a task, you can make it part of a Tasklist, assign it to a user in the project and give it a priority. Tasks added in Zoho Tasks will show up in Zoho Projects and vice versa.

The root of all these integrations goes back to our concept of contextual integration where data and context matters and not the apps. You’ll see many such integrations in Zoho as we move forward. We are very  excited about the possible integrations. Stay tuned.

New: Linking Zoho Mail & Tasks

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When we have action items from an email communication, we typically switch from email to a task app. After completing the task, we go back to email, search for the right email thread and respond. This is what many of us do – switching between Mail & Tasks apps multiple times a day. This context switching is expensive. What if these two apps are contextually integrated?

We now have Zoho Mail & Tasks  integrated. You can now create tasks directly from an email. In doing so, we automatically link email and Tasks. 

        

This means, if you go to the Tasks app, you’ll see an email icon which invokes the email from which that task was created. This way, you don’t have to go back to mail and search for the email thread to respond. 

 

Add tasks from email and respond to emails from tasks – Only in Zoho.


New: Session Management & More in Zoho Business

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Remember those scenarios where you logged into your online accounts from your friend’s computer and you don’t remember logging out? To address such scenarios, we previously added the option to remotely sign out of Zoho . This option lets you close all your previous sessions from Zoho Accounts. This option is available for individuals. What about businesses?
We now added this option in Zoho Business . For Businesses, the scenario is different. While individual users can still close their sessions in Zoho Accounts,  in Zoho Business, the administrator can do it for you. For every user within the organization, the administrator can view all the active sessions and has options to close those sessions from Zoho Business Control Panel. 
We also provide additional options for administrator in Zoho Business, like the ability to view the login history of each user, view/change the apps each user has access to etc.  
If you run your business on Zoho Business, the Control Panel section provides many new features offering an easy way to manage your business. 

SideBar options in Zoho Business

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Last week I briefly talked about an easy way to reorder applications in Zoho Business by simply dragging and dropping items on the side bar. When you click on an app on the sidebar, the application launches on the right within Zoho Business. What if you don’t want the application to launch within Zoho Business? What if you want to launch it in a new browser tab or a window? What if you want to remove the app from the side bar?

Well, we have those options in Zoho Business. You can now right click on any application name and choose to open that app in a new browser tab or a new window. We also added additional options to Disable, Rename or Reload the app right from the side bar.

Like it? If you have any suggestions on subtle ways of improving your productivity, please let us know.

Application Reordering in Zoho Business

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If you are a Zoho Business user, you are probably familiar with the navigation side bar. Yes, the one that lists the apps on the left. The apps listed and the ordering here is predetermined. But if you have to make some changes to this order of your application listed, you had to go to Settings > Application and reorder them.


This is no longer the case. We now added the option to reorder the applications right on the App Navigation bar. Simply drag and drop the apps to the desired position and leave it there. Simple, ain’t it?

While you are at it, it might be worth noticing another small enhancement. If you click on the logo in Zoho Business, the top row collapses giving you more space to work with. We figured your work area is more important than our branding. To go back, click on the down arrow from the Apps tab ().

If you have any suggestions that could make things simple, drop us a line.

New: Domain Registration in Zoho Business

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Domain registration is generally the starting point for many businesses. In many cases, a company is named based on the availability of a domain – atleast that was the case with Zoho. After a domain is registered, you find a hosting provider to host your email, Calendar etc and then find other vendors to host different set of applications you need to run your business on.

Now, this work-flow became much simpler with the introduction of Domains module in Zoho Business. You can now start registering your domain @ http://domains.zoho.com – a domain registration module, powered by Go Daddy .


If you register the domain with Zoho, we host your Email, Calendar, Documents etc. We automatically create sub-domains and point them to the respective Zoho Applications as you see below.

We also provide an option to add your custom sub-domain and point it to your favorite application. For example, you can manually point crm.<your domain name>.com to Zoho CRM.

Domain registration costs $10/year/domain. We offer options to include private registration, auto-renewal and more. We also provide details on how to access and manage details of your domain through Go Daddy’s control panel.

If you want to run your business online, Zoho Business is the application you’ll need. It includes and integrates most of Zoho Apps. You can start using Zoho Business even without a domain. If you have an existing domain, you can use it within Zoho Business after validation, and of course, you can now register
domains too. After your domain is registered, you can login to your account @ http://business.zoho.com or http ://business.<yourdomain name>.com

The idea is simple, but the result is powerful. Imagine the scenario where you register the domain, we automatically host your Email, Calendar, Documents, CRM, Project Management, Discussion Forum, Web Conferencing and a lot more for your business. This is where we want to get to and we are taking our first step towards that.

As always, we appreciate your feedback.