“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”
– Theodore Roosevelt
I chose that quote this week because it pretty much sums up the mantra of an assistant.
Most of the time, we know how to do things, but every so often, something comes up that we are not too sure of.
In those cases, we say “sure I can do it!” and then we find out how to get it done.
Yep, that pretty much sums it up.
I bring that up because I have been using the Zoho suite of tools for quite some time and if there is a tool that can help me figure something out, Zoho probably has it. I don’t use every single one – mostly because I don’t need all of them for my business – but the ones I use are awesome.
Let me start off by saying that I do not work for Zoho and I am not an affiliate. I am just so amazed by this suite of tools and how much they offer and the great thing about Zoho tools is that you can use most of them – if you have a low number of users – for free (or a small subscription).
Miranda, did you say free? Yaaassss!
Free and low cost are always a plus for solopreneurs and startups. Companies seem to forget about the little people and the fact that we need tools too.
So what is Zoho all about exactly?
From Zoho’s website:
The operating system for business. Zoho has everything you need to boost sales, step up productivity, and manage all day-to-day activities. Tightly integrated. Ready for mobile.
Zoho has an app or productivity tool for just about everything.
Sales and Marketing, Email & Collaboration, IT & Help Desk, Finance, HR, and Business Process.
Under those umbrellas, you’ll find CRM, email, docs, site creator, social media marketing, contact manager, projects, meeting software, help desk support, invoicing and books, inventory, HR management, etc. etc. etc. (yes etc. cause I still didn’t name everything).
I even discovered tools that I might be able to use after poking around a bit more!
I won’t go into detail about each one – cause this would be the world’s longest post if I did. So, I’ll just give you my review of a few of them.
Currently, Zoho has 30+ apps and I feel like I see something new every time I check out the “all apps” tab. As a matter of fact, I just saw a couple of new ones that I’ll have to go take a look at when I’m done with this post.
Zoho Mail has gotten so many improvements since I used it back in 2015. It was not as pretty and quite frankly looked a lot like something you’d find in a web hosting email platform.
What’s it look like now? A slick version of Outlook mail. Not only has the look gotten better, but they continue to add great new functions to increase productivity. They have added chat within mail (so you can chat on an email instead of forwarding, replying to all, etc) and streams which is pretty much like Slack (or a social media stream) within your email. On top of that, it has folder sharing, CRM integration (if you use Zoho CRM), Zoho Docs integration and mail scheduling.
Similar to Gmail, it has a calendar, tasks, and notes as well.
If I wasn’t so wrapped up in all things Gmail at the moment, I might give Zoho mail another try. I also don’t have a team since I work pretty much solo, so the extra features wouldn’t benefit me much right now. However, if you do have a team, I encourage you to check it out because it will reduce having to use extra apps outside of your email system. Do you use Slack or Streak? Zoho Mail could replace both of those for your team.
Price: Free edition – up to 25 users and 1 domain. 5GB mail storage/user and 5GB doc storage/user. View tiered pricing.
Zoho CRM is what I use to manage my clients. Basically, it just keeps my contacts straight. Now I will say that there are features of this that I don’t even use.
Let me take a break right here to say that Zoho has created a suite of tools that is so feature rich, if you take the time to go through the ones you might need, you may realize that they are the only ones you’ll need.
Back to the CRM…
There are so many features in the CRM tool that I can’t even go into it all. If you know what you are looking for, you’ll know immediately if this will work for you. I mainly use it just for customer information, but it does so much more.
Lead and sales management (which they have a sales app by the way), gamification with trophies and badges for team motivation, workflow automation, make calls (yes calls) right from your CRM. Tons of add-ons for compatibility, and so much more.
Price: Free edition – up to 10 users. Leads, accounts, contacts, feeds, documents, mobile apps, etc. View tiered pricing. 15-day trial for paid editions (no credit card needed).
Zoho Docs is pretty self-explanatory, it is very similar to Google Docs and it also includes spreadsheets and presentations.
Price: Free edition – up to 25 users. File sharing, Dropbox integration, 5GB storage/user. View tiered pricing. 15-day trial for paid editions (no credit card needed).
I just discovered Zoho Social and this is another one that could take the place of other apps. Social media scheduling and monitoring like some of our favorite tools, but you have the convenience of just logging into your Zoho account and going to social.
Connect your social accounts: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram. I wish they had Pinterest, but I’m guessing it will come soon enough.
Publish or schedule social messages from one dashboard, collaborate with your team, monitor mentions and Twitter lists, view stats and analytics. Smart share figures out the best time to post for each feed, and Facebook time warp publishes your posts at the same time of day no matter the time zone.
If you don’t have a social media management tool that you love, this is worth a shot.
Price: Free edition – 1 user, 1 brand. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn & Google+. View tiered pricing.
Zoho Vault is a password manager. Lots of great features similar to apps like LastPass, but a few additional features even on their personal use plan.
Price: Free edition – personal use, 1 user. View tiered pricing. 15-day trial for paid editions (no credit card needed).
Zoho Invoice and Books
The last thing I’ll talk about is Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books. With Invoice, you can invoice customers, collect payments, create estimates, track expenses and time (and easily add unbilled time to invoices). Books takes it up a notch with automated banking, accounting journals and financial statements. Work with your accountant on expense tracking and more.
Seriously, just go check out all of this goodness!
What I think is great about using Zoho’s multiple suite tools is that you don’t have to think about which website you are using for what. Just log in to Zoho and access your apps. You can view the full suite of apps here.