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Mike Templeton is an experienced marketer with a history in building community on the web.

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Zoho Office FTW

For those of you unfamiliar with popular forum lingo, FTW stands for ‘for teh win’, essentially meaning victory, greatness or any other form of celebration.

This post is celebrating the wonder that is Zoho. Zoho is an “office productivity suite” from AdventNet that let’s you do word processing, fill out spreadsheets, track customers, write invoices and more, all from the comfort of your own browser.

The best part about Zoho, and many other similar products available on the web, is that they are all available for free or very little money. For the college student that is strapped for cash or the struggling business owner that can’t afford the latest version of Microsoft Office, Zoho is a solution that can work.

Zoho CRM

My first interaction with Zoho began several months ago when I was introduced to their CRM product. I found Zoho in a roundabout way while Googling for “free CRM solution”. I looked at and tried a few different products, but an ad for Zoho finally drew me away from my search results.

After reading through the details on Zoho CRM and realizing that I (plus two other users) could use the full functionality of the program for free, I was intrigued and ready to get started. From an application standpoint, Zoho CRM mirrors Salesforce very closely. I use Salesforce at work so the Zoho controls and settings were fairly intuitive.

I began loading contacts and accounts for the automotive community that I manage and was publishing invoices for community merchandise with a few hours. It was that easy.

Zoho Projects

Recently, after growing so fond of Zoho CRM, I decided it was time to branch out to another one of their offerings that would solve another problem I was having: project management. In comes Zoho Projects to save the day!

Zoho Projects let’s you manage one project for free, so I loaded up my first Dosovo client project and started working through the project details. I could create task lists and milestones, upload and create documents (via Zoho Writer and Zoho Sheet), track my time via timesheets and give clients access to the process to see things moving along.

Things worked so smoothly for the first project, I ponied up $8 and upgraded to the next subscription level (allowing me to track more projects at once) and added two other projects with similar tasks, goals and timesheets.

Zoho Invoice

After I had all of my projects loaded and hours locked and loaded, then it was time for billing. That’s where Zoho succeeds again, because Zoho Projects ties right into Zoho Invoice. Invoice let’s you drive invoicing efforts directly from your project files or you can input items manually.

Last night I set up options for automated billing messages, filled in my company details, added PayPal payment option information and generated my first invoice. I shipped it off via email in an instant and never had to leave my office chair.

The few applications I’ve described above represent only a fraction of the tools available. If you’re looking for a cost effective, efficient, access-from-anywhere online office suite, be sure to give Zoho a try and tell them I sent you. ;)

Also, if you’re on Twitter, Zoho is there too. I’ve had great conversations with @zohoinvoice and @arvindnatarajan.

5 Responses to “Zoho Office FTW”

  1. Arvind says:

    Mike : Thanks for using Zoho and for the appreciative post!

  2. Oxiana says:

    Don’t forget about TSheet’s excellent online time tracking package. Easy, flexible, and hey…you really can’t be the price! :)

  3. Cory Low says:

    Yep! Zoho Projects is good for managing just one project. But when I tried to use it in multiproject environment, it turned out that Zoho lacks a lot. Then onle of my clients offered me to use Wrike for project management. This system works much better for me now.

  4. been a fan of Zoho for a while now. Met their guys at quite a few summits. Love their CRM app and also their invoicing app. Zoho chat is also a pretty cool replacement for Google apps.. but i hate their project management tool interface — i think its quite sluggish as Cory suggested. Personally i’ve been using Deskaway which is about the same price as Zoho so its cool – the interface is better; features are a little above the cut and i think they are also adding some tools to help replicate systems easier so it also doubles up as a business process tool for small businesses in my opinion. Ive had great experiences with it in any case. Mine is a media company, maybe it differs from industry to industry. I sort of double up Deskaway as a CRM app as well.. maybe its all in the mind.

  5. [...] with unlimited users. Browsing more through the site, I stopped by Zoho Blogs and found a post by a happy Zoho user who was blogging about his experience, which others didn’t share as they mentioned in their [...]

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