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December 31, 2007

Solopreneur Tools: Will Zoho Give Microsoft and Google A Run for Their Money?

First off, thank you all SOOOO MUCH for the overwhelming response I've received from my BE.com proclaiming 2008 to be the year of the international solopreneur. I really had not anticipated the quantity and quality of email people sent me. It's always gratifying to know that folks appreciate something I put out there, but I really enjoyed the stories people shared with me with respect to their solopreneurial dreams and aspirations. I would like to share a few of them but will need to get permission from them before I can do so. In fact I'm planning on doing more writing on this subject as well as adding a solopreneur spotlight segment onto the radio show once I get it out fleshed out in my mind.

zoho.jpgIn the meantime one of the questions that I received over and over centered around tools that aspiring solopreneurs can begin using to get things started. There are a number of them that I will be covering over the next several months. But today I thought bring up a company that is putting together a slew of nice tools that are easy to use, pretty cheap, and in some cases these services are totally free. Now I could be talking about Google or Microsoft, but you already know about these guys. But have you heard of Zoho? Now would be a good time for you to check them out. They have many of the same online services as the big boys, and then some. From word processors, to spreadsheets, project management, web conferencing, slide presentations and even CRM. I've been checking them out for the last eight or nine months, and have been really impressed with what I've seen so far. Just recently I spoke with their chief evangelist Raju Vegesna and came away even more impressed than before.

Now I haven't been able to get hands on with all the things they're putting together, but do plan on doing so in the weeks and months ahead. But they are making some really smart moves, like making their tools available even when you're offline. And they were quick to make a few of their tools available on the iPhone, as well as some nice integrations with Facebook and other services, like Box.net's online storage service. But everything isn't wine and roses, as the wiki tool isn't the greatest, and they don't have a blogging tool or any deep integration with the leaders in the space. And I have to take a second, closer look at their CRM app to see how it's progressing. But they do have the resources and the determination to put together even more tools for the SmB crowd. And the emphasis on the "S" was done purposely, because Zoho does seem intent on being a player when it comes to providing tools for the little guy.

So you should check Zoho out to when you get a chance. And check out the below snippet of a conversation I had with Office 2.0 conference organizer Ismael Ghalimi to get his take on Zoho.

If you want to hear the whole conversation with Ismael below is a link to the show. Office 2.0 is something every serious solopreneur should be aware of, and Ismael is the guy in the middle of it all :

http://www.businesstechnologyradio.com/recentshows/tabid/25382/bid/2924/Office-2-0-Online-Video-Ads-and-Their-Impact-On-Your-Small-Business.aspx


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