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 Mail is Now Open For Business!

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Two years ago, we made Zoho Mail public for free personal use and we are happy with the reception and feedback we have gotten so far. For example, we recently won the Reader’s choice award for The Best Free Email Service 2011. Now, we are taking another big step in our quest to bring the best hosted email to our customers.

Today, we’re opening Zoho Mail for businesses. What took us so long? We wanted to make sure the product was right. Business and professional users have come to expect the rich functionality from their desktop email client and the no-hassles, fast, accessible-anywhere convenience of web-based email.

Now, you no longer have to make a choice between the lesser of two evils: either burning a hole in your wallet with a full-featured, expensive email solution or settle for a web-based, affordable email service with bare minimum features. Zoho Mail gives you the best of three worlds: feature-rich business email, no-hassle email hosting and an affordable price. For example, here are some of the rich features that make Zoho Mail’s web interface ideal for business users:

    • Supports both Folders & Labels, making it all the more easier to organize and access messages
    • Helps you to tag incoming messages with

      Labels & Flags

      and directly move them to appropriate folders using

      Rules & Filters

    • Powerful search

      functionality that can search even inside attachments
    • Comes with a sleek

      instant chat

      interface for better communication
      amongst your colleagues and customers
    • Optimized

      mobile web interface

      for anywhere, anytime access on iPhone, Android, Blackberry and other mobile devices 

    In addition, with integrated Calendar, Tasks, Notes and Contacts apps with features exceeding even those of popular desktop clients you are able to share calendars, set reminders, assign tasks, take notes on the fly and always have your most important information handy. And, for those users who are accustomed  to desktop email clients, Zoho Mail synchronizes seamlessly with the most popular ones (Outlook and Thunderbird), through POP / IMAP.

    Zoho Mail - Webmail Interface

    Of course, we realize that having rich, flexible administrator options is just as important as having a rich product for end users. If you are a business mail administrator, the powerful Control Panel makes it simple for you to manage all aspects of business emailing. For example:

    • Define

      email policies

      with respect to mailbox quotas, access privileges etc., and even assign different policies to different groups of people
    • Create and

      manage groups

      and group related polices, spam control and moderation
    • Set up 

      customized email addresses

      and aliases
      for your business users 
    • Add and manage

      multiple domains

    • Assign roles

      to other users, streamline administration and more.
    Zoho Mail - Control Panel

    With Zoho as your email host, you do not have to worry about maintaining complicated mail server infrastructure. You can leave that part to us since it is in our business as a company offering services on the cloud to manage state-of-the-art data centers with multiple layers of security. In fact, your data is safer in our data centers!

    What about the affordable price? Our plans start at just $2 per user/month ($24 per user/year). And may be the best part about our pricing plans is that you need not buy an entire year upfront. Of course you get a slightly better price with a yearly commitment, but we know businesses sometimes need the flexibility that only monthly plans can give them.

    So, if you are a new business looking for an email host or currently paying an arm-and-a-leg for managing your business email, Zoho Mail is now open for Business!

    Zoho Recruit: Applicant Tracking System with E-Mail

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    Lot of customers felt that managing Candidates, Clients and Client Contacts details in an Applicant Tracking System, and their emails in a separate email system is not productively efficient.
    This week, we are happy to announce a deep integration between Zoho Recruit and Zoho Mail, which helps you to manage both – candidates, clients and client contact details, and their emails all-in-one interface.
    Email inside Zoho Recruit
    Zoho Recruit with Zoho Mail integration now allows you to maintain seamless communication with your Candidates, Clients and Client Contacts. You can track all your email communication from within Zoho Recruit, without switching to your e-mail client or Zoho Mail. You can have multiple email accounts set-up, to send emails from within Zoho Recruit.
    Send/Receive Mails
    With Zoho Recruit – Zoho Mail integration you don’t need to open your Zoho Mail, Gmail, Yahoo mail, etc., as  you can send and receive mails in Zoho Recruit - Applicant Tracking System itself. You can view the entire email thread inside the respective candidates, clients and client contacts records. This helps you to quickly view the entire conversation and take decisions faster.
    Email Sharing
    Zoho Recruit provides Email Sharing options to share your email accounts among the members in the organization. This helps you to confidentially share emails with whoever you want. 
    Four levels of Email Sharing
    Keep Emails Private
    Zoho Recruit lets you to keep all your email communications private. This helps you avoid from other users viewing the emails recieved from candidates, clients and client contacts
    Sharing Emails with only Admin
    You can share your candidates, clients and client contacts emails to Admin users only. 
    Record level Sharing
    You can share the emails received from specific candidates, clients and client contacts to the users. This allows the users to view only the emails for selected records.
    Complete Sharing
    You can also share all emails from candidates, clients and client contacts to the users in the organization. This lets all the users to view the emails.
    Connect to other e-mail clients
    Zoho Recruit doesn’t restrict you from emailing your candidates, clients and clients contacts from other e-mail systems. You can send/receive emails not only with Zoho Mail client, but also from other email Clients like Gmail, Yahoo, etc. All you have to do is just enable the POP in your email service, so that Zoho Mail can fetch emails from those email clients.   
    Hope this integration makes your recruiting job a lot more easier and efficient. Please try it and share your feedback with us.

    Integration Between Zoho Apps: Part III

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    This year we have focused a lot ​on contextual integration. This includes integration between Zoho Apps as well as integration with external apps. I want to briefly highlight some of the new integrations between Zoho Apps​ (also check Part I, Part II).

    Zoho Wiki Integration with Zoho Projects

    Zoho Wiki & Projects are two different types of collaboration tools. But when you have a need to collaboratively create content, then our Zoho Wiki integration with Zoho Projects can be really handy. Content can now be created in the context of the project you are working on. More details on this integration is available ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​here.

    New in Zoho Mail : Drag & Drop Attachments, Improved CRM Integration & More

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    Integrations and improvements among Zoho Apps continue to pick up steam. Our latest update in Zoho Mail brings in some really neat features many of you will love. Here we go.

    Drag & Drop Attachments & More

    Attaching files while composing an email just got easier. While attaching files, just drag and drop your files on to the compose window to attach files. You can drag multiple files at once. There are no plugins needed for this feature to work. It uses HTML5. This means, the feature will work in browsers that support HTML5 like Firefox 3.6+ and Chrome 6+. 

    If you still prefer attaching files using the dialog, we enabled the option to select multiple files using the CTRL option (or CMD option on Mac). Again, this feature works on Firefox 3.6+ and Chrome 6+.

    We previously added an option to attach files directly from Zoho Docs or Google Docs. For Zoho Docs, you only had the option to attach the files you created. We now added an additional option to even attach files that have been shared to you. 

    Add Leads & Events to Zoho CRM

    In Zoho Mail, we have had the option to add a contact to Zoho CRM with a single click. We now added an option to add the sender of an email as a Lead to the CRM system. To do this, open the email and choose Add to > CRM > Leads. 

    You can also add an Event to Zoho CRM right from the email.

    Calendar Preview

    We typically receive calendar invites as ICS attachments. For such emails, we now added the option to preview the ICS file before adding it to your calendar. If everything looks right, use the ‘Add Event’ option add the event to Zoho Calendar.

    Sorting Emails by Size

    Unlike many webmail clients, we offer several options to sort your emails – like sorting by Date, subject, sender etc. Now we added a new option – sort by size. This will sort all your emails based on the size of your email (attachments included). If you want to delete those unwanted emails that take up your Inbox, now you can do this easily.  

    These are some of the key highlights in our latest update. As always, we will keep improving the application based on your feedback. So keep your feedback coming.

     

    Accessing Zoho Mail on iPhone/iPad through IMAP

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    You can access Zoho Mail on any mobile device from http://mobile.zoho.com, if you have a decent browser. But if you prefer using the local email client on your mobile device, you can fetch mails from Zoho Mail through POP or IMAP. We recently introduced IMAP support in Zoho Mail and today I want to expand on how to configure this on iPhone, iPad & iPod Touch.

    Before you can configure your mobile email client, you first need to enable POP/IMAP access for your email account. To do this, go to Email Settings > Personalize > Email forwarding and POP/IMAP and enable either POP or IMAP. Here are the instructions for POP and IMAP.

    Once you enable IMAP, you can now follow these instructions on your iPhone to receive/send emails.

    Go to Settings App > Mail, Contacts, Calendars >Choose ‘Add Account’ and ‘Other’ option.

    In the next screen, choose ‘Add Mail Account’ and provide the details like Name, email address (username@zoho.com), your Zoho password and a description of your account.

    In the next screen provide Incoming Mail Server (imap.zoho.com) and Outgoing Mail Server (smtp.zoho.com) 

    Once the details are verified, you should be all set. You can now open the mail app to fetch emails from Zoho Mail. In case of IMAP, mails read on your mail client will be marked as read on Zoho Mail client as well.

    Configuration instructions are similar for iPad as well. In case you need additional details to configure IMAP, here we go.

    Incoming Port: 993

    Outgoing Port: 465

    SSL: Yes

    Outgoing Mail Server Requires Authentication: Yes

    Hope this helps. If you face any issues, please let us know. 

    New Features in Zoho Mail

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    This week we rolled out yet another update to Zoho Mail with more goodies. Most of these features are driven by user requests. Here are some highlights of the latest update.


    Drag & Drop Folders 


    You can now move folders in Zoho Mail by simple drag and drop. Select the folder you want to move and drag it to the destination and drop it there, if you see there green icon. This is one of the most requested feature and it is currently live.


    Coloring Labels


    A new color palette is now available for labels. To change the color of a label, just click on the existing color of the label to open the palette and choose the desired color.



    Customize Label display


    You can now customize the look and feel of the labels in the Message view pane. Apart from displaying the complete label name, we added a new option (under Settings
    > Customize Layout > Label Display) which just displays only the color of the label.  

    View the Message Size

    Message size can now be viewed from the Message listing pane. The view can be customized either to display or to hide the message size as per the requirement.


    Sort the Messages by Subject/ Sender

    The messages can be now sorted by the sender or the subject in the message listing pane. To sort by sender/subject, just click the label ‘From’/’Subject’ in the message listing pane. A small triangle pointing upwards (ascending)/downwards (descending) will be displayed next to the label clicked.The messages will get listed in the chosen order.


    Drag and drop to change POP Accounts order 

    When multiple POP accounts are configured, the users can now determine their preferred order to fetch emails from the multiple accounts. The order for the multiple POP accounts can now be changed by simple drag and drop. To configure this, go to Common settings > select POP accounts tab and change the list order to the desired order by drag and drop. Select ‘Save’ in the confirmation dialog.

    Open Message in tab

    Message settings can be customized to open the message in a new tab. The default setting will open the message in the preview pane. This can be changed by choosing ‘Popup’ or ‘Tab’ from the ‘Open message in’ option under common settings. You can also right click on any message and open it up in any of these three ways.

    Create Folders in a single click


    You can now create folders/ sub-folders in a single click. To create a new sub-folder just right click on the parent folder, select ‘Subfolder’ and name it. You can als
    o rename a folder by simply double-clicking the name (or right-click, rename).

    These are some of the changes we made in the latest update. There are several other minor ones. We hope you like the update. If you’d like to see any particular features, please drop us a comment.