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How to work ON not IN your business..

How Zoostr puts efficiency into your small business

It’s a familiar story – You start a new business venture and amid all the excitement of preparing, launching and getting your first customer, you suddenly find yourself a VERY busy person.  You (and your business partner(s)) have to do everything. You are responsible for the product or service creation, sales, marketing, business development, accounts, admin and everything else besides.

In short, you are suddenly faced with a number of questions – how do I find the time to work ON the business instead of purely IN the business? How can I manage my time better? How do I get things done faster? How do I spend more time with my customers and less on admin?

Then, one day, you find yourself slumped at your desk at 11pm sorting out invoices, quotations and other admin tasks and thinking, apart from why can’t I go to sleep, that there must be a better way to do this that is quicker, simpler and will mean an improvement to my work / life balance.

Whatever market you are competing in today, it takes all you have to survive let alone succeed. Your business needs to run as efficiently as possible. The more time you spend on revenue generating activities and the less time you spend on non-revenue activities (i.e. Admin tasks) the more healthy your business will be and the smaller the risk of going out of business.

All small business owners, myself included, have had these moments where you make a decision to run things more efficiently, to find the time to work on growing your business, not just running your business. The tough part is how you do it.

That moment described above is the inspiration behind Zoostr (pronounced Zooster), a cloud based software for micro businesses in India (self-employed, freelancers, consultants, partnerships, small scale units, etc.). We decided that there are lots of business management tools out there, but none of them relevant to micro businesses where the business is entirely run by a few people.

If you are a Micro business owner, you don’t need a complicated accounting software program such as Intuit or Tally. You don’t have the time to understand it or learn it. You don’t need a CRM system that goes into minute detail about your customers; you need something that helps you do the basics. In short you need one piece of software that is simple to use, automates a lot of the time consuming tasks behind the scenes and helps you manage your customers, sort out your finances and market your business to new customers.

So we built Zoostr Small Business Software. With Zoostr you can quickly (within 3 clicks) create price quotations, invoices, supplier PO’s, manage your customer meetings and workflow, create SMS marketing campaigns and more. Zoostr is not only free to use, but it’s all in one place and online, so you can access your business quickly from a PC, smartphone or tablet.

With Zoostr it truly means you can carry your business with you in your pocket. You can connect to the office whenever you want. Mostly, time spent on the road is wasted time. Zoostr allows you to use this time to get admin tasks done. If you are coming back from a meeting with a potential customer, then create a price quotation on the go or record meeting notes, or look at who owes you money and call them direct from your phone or schedule the next meeting.  Reach the people and information you need—anywhere, anytime. 

A lot of people agree with us. Two months after launch we have more than 15,000 small business owners using Zoostr and working towards making their business more efficient. They have understood the secret that as the manager of their business they are a key resource, one that is better used for growing the business and not on admin tasks. Zoostr is helping them to manage their resource smarter which is the key to success in a micro business environment.

Zoostr also supports a community of 20,000 micro business owners on Facebook, where we give a daily dose of information, inspiration and debate on successfully managing and growing small businesses.  

Sign up for your free Zoostr account and get started today.

 

 

 

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13 Comments

  1. I liked the concept and went ahead to try out your website.  

    I think you’ve done a great job with your Facebook page.  It’s interesting and relevant to a small business owner.

    The site / app itself – I’m not inclined to believe that creating purchase orders, invoices and other features, on my tablet / phone, are going to be priority, especially for a small business – they would cherish tools to get them to those 10 invoices a week, and it’s not something that’s often required at the tips of their fingers.  That’s coming from my experience selling software to SMEs 20 years ago.

  2. Spencer, thanks for this post. Meeting Gal was an honor. (Mk – Gal is the founder of the Company who also presented me the book on Israel’s currencies).

    Spencer – I WILL promote this post next week and let other rodinhoods also take your biz for a test drive!

  3. Hi Mahesh, 

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. You obviously have a great deal of experience with micro and small businesses. If possible, could you share with us what you think would make the small business owner, more productive, effective and profitable? Please feel free to email me offline if you like, or share here. 

    In general we are building Zoostr based on what people ask for. We launched with just an invoice tool and then talked/talk to people as much as we can (phone and in person) and build the product based on their workflows and needs. I’d also really love to hear from anyone else reading these comments – we are adding new features on a weekly basis and would love to add more features asked for by users.

    Zoostr also works on a PC as well as mobile devices. We are seeing that people use it on the way to or from a meeting to quickly create an invoice or quotation that someone back at the office (parter / assistant) are then issuing / working on it. This way the paperwork is no longer needed, and info is updated instantly, so mistakes and misunderstanding are removed making them more effective. That’s based on actual usage not assumption. 

    Before Zoostr, I was the owner of a micro business for 5 years. The two lessons I learnt very quickly was that cash flow is everything. Without it you are finished. I worked harder than ever to build up a few months cash flow (going without salary etc) and then it all got easier (but not easy!).

    The second was that I HAD to reduce the amount of time I spent on admin activites as this, as far as I was concerned, was wasted time. What I needed to be doing was spending as much time as I could on sales and marketing (website / social media), networking and actually doing the work that brought in revenue. This is why I am so passionate about Zoostr. I know that a tool such as this can help with the above.  

    At the end of the day, it is very early days for the product and we are learning all the time. We are open to all ideas and eager to listen to others with experience such as yours. 

  4. Hi Alok, 

    Thanks! Any help is much appreciated :). Looking forward to people’s feedback. 

    Spencer

  5. Trying this now.. will share feedback soon

  6. Great! Thanks 🙂

  7. Spencer

      Application is good, easy to setup, easy to use but small doubt, if i want to raise invoice pertaining to specific date in past, is it possible ? I wanted to raise invoice with date 28/06/2013  but when i created invoice, its taking the present date 

  8. Thanks for the feedback and great point about the date! I myself have needed to do this on a few occasions. I’ve put it into production and it’ll be uploaded on the next update in a weeks time. 

    thanks again!

    Spencer

  9. Awesome T

  10. Kudos to you for approaching the b2b space – I think there’s a huge potential here.  From the partners and people I meet in that space, it seems that market is evergreen, even since the 90s.

    On your product, here’s what I cannot wrap my finger around :

    1) Why would you feel the need to rebuild what a Zoho has?  i.e. how would it differ, or are you competing with them?

    2) I totally agree that tools you can provide for meeting tracking / meetings / presentations/ reminders, would be great for a micro-business.  However, for items like invoicing, quotations, PO tracking : I just feel that when it starts to become a bother to manage so many of them, the solution would be to hire an accountant or administrator.  

    IS the problem really that it’s difficult to track or create them, or isn’t it more that you don’t know your inventory @ the tip of your fingers or your customers dont pay ?

  11. I have some experience working with small businesses (5lacs to 5 crore turnover) in matters relating to accounts and audit.

    Firstly, most of them are not very tech-savvy, so you will have to go offline to promote your app. Almost all the software-related decisions are made based on recommendations and word-of-mouth.

    Secondly, I saw a very strange pattern in seeing those people choose accounting softwares. These people seem to prefer a specialised, industry-specific (even if it has little or no brand name and reliability) software over a common, cross-industry, standard solution.

    An ad agency we worked with struggled with a software specific to their industry for years. They weren’t happy with the look and format of invoices, so they hired someone to make an invoicing software from a scratch. They believed that the issues they face in their industry were unique, and that a standard solution like Tally won’t be able to help them. We convinced them to move to Tally for pretty much all their needs, but they still felt that they should look for a good ad-industry-specific software from a long-term perspective.

    We faced the same story with another small distributor, only he wouldn’t change his accounting solution, no matter how much trouble it gave him.

    The point I am trying to arrive at is that you need to target specific industries, and lure them with specialised features which will convince them that you are actually working on solving problems specific to their line of work, and not just the common problems. You can do this without having to make a separate app. You can branch within the app, giving some special features / options for industries.

  12. Thanks Nishant, this is great feedback. 

  13. Hey,

    1. We are doing somthing different to Zoho. We provide a straight and simple solution in which every operation is 3 clicks away.

    2. We just launched the product. Our vision is to provide everything a micro biz needs in modular way. If a user prefers not to use invoicing, he can still benefit from quickly issuing price quotations or running a marketing campaign or tacking payments etc.

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