Category

Addictive Tools

Addictive Tools Series – MileIQ

A lot of times we forget that many of the miles we drive for client meetings or other special business trips are tax deductible. And at 57.5 cents a mile it can add up quickly for some tax free funds in our pocket!  However isn’t tracking it such a pain?

So we started researching all the mobile apps out there and found this one to be the winner.  If tracking mileage is a big part of your day-to-day work, then we have  found just what you need.

Here’s the scoop…

Production Boosting Category: Expense Tracking

Website: www.mileiq.com

What’s the deal?

MileIQ is an automatic mileage tracker that tracks the miles you drive for business. It uses smart drive-detection technology, to automatically log your drives. Plus it instantly calculates the value of each drive and creates a mileage log that is in accordance with the IRS’ guidelines. Who needs paper mileage logs? It’s really easy, just swipe right after a drive to classify it for business. Even better, MileIQ can:

  • Auto-sync all of your drive data to the cloud securely
  • Add parking fees, toll amounts, and vehicle information to each drive record
  • Record business drives in kilometers or miles – you pick!
  • Store your complete drive history and send you regular drive reports each week

The mobile story

Yes, check out GooglePlay or iTunes to snag the latest version. Oh, and it’s free to download.

Integrations

It works nicely with Freshbooks, Concur, and can export data into CSV files or PDF formats.

How much?

Free for your first 40 drives every month – indefinitely. Unlimited drives are available for $5.99/month or $59.99/year.

Have you tried out MileIQ? If so, we’d love to hear how it went and if it is saving you tons of time and money. If you haven’t tried it, take it for a spin, and let us know how it goes.

Addictive Tools Series – Hello Bond

What do handwriting and robots have in common?

Yeah, who knows? But, we found this addictive tool that is bringing handwriting and robots together to make customer communication personal and affordable.

Ready, here ya go…

Production Boosting Category: Customer Relationship Management

Website: www.hellobond.com

What’s the deal?

Don’t have time to send a personal, hand-written note to customers? Now you don’t have to! Bond offers completely custom solutions from branded notes and inserts to your personal handwriting. With over 16 different handwriting styles, your company postcards, thank you notes, and just saying “hey” letters will touch your customers – and may lead to more sales. Hello Bond is revolutionizing how companies are connecting on a personal level with their most loyal customers, to keep them coming back for more!

The mobile story

No, sorry…but you can check out their trendy website. They like handwriting and robots…

Integrations

You bet! Bond can seamless integrate with any CRM such as Salesforce, Zoho, Sugar, Workbook, and Microsoft Dynamics – just to name a few.

How much?

It all depends on what you need. Each written piece runs between $2.99-$5.00 – they have some cool customization options too.

What’s the word on the street?

Not much buzz, just yet. But I’m sure it’s coming! Try it out and let me know what you think. Looks like they are gaining traction with over 3,000 likes on Facebook and check out their feature on Good Morning America here.

When you try out these handwriting robots, let us know – we’d love to hear how your notes turned out!

Important Lessons Learned from Building a Team

Whether you are a one-man band or have a business partner, there may come that point in your business’s life where you’ll consider bringing on additional part or full-time team members. Then there are the sorts of team members that are purely outsourced but still play a vital role in the success of your business.

In today’s post we take a look at some of the lessons we’ve learned from building teams – internal and external – and how you can avoid some of the mistakes many business owners make when building their team.

When to Hire a New Full or Part-timer

Many small business owners begin to consider hiring a new employee when they get so busy they don’t have enough time in their day to do the things they need. Just because you are really busy – most entrepreneurs are – doesn’t mean this merits the hiring and training of a new employee.

However, if you are turning down work because you can’t handle it or you know you could get more clients if your new employee helped with some of the smaller stuff then you probably have some indication that a new hire is a good idea. This does of course imply that you want to grow your business.  You’ll also have to weigh the potential income you’ll make with the new hire versus how much you’ll need to pay your new employee.

Lessons Learned from Outsourcing

Two of the most common issues entrepreneurs have when building an external team are reliability and communication. It’s funny how cost is one of the least common issues as sometimes the case with outsourcing, and especially through websites like www.elance.com, www.odesk.com or www.fiverr.com, is you get what you pay for.

The expectation of a $5 piece of content, the $300 website or instant response to your email for that logo design you needed three days ago should be on par with where you are finding your outsource team. One of the primary reasons small business owners outsource is to save money but if delays or incomplete projects hinder business growth they can sometimes outweigh the cost savings.

When outsourcing here in the US or overseas, do your due diligence and vet your external team before trusting them for solid work. Take a look at their portfolio, ask them about their turn-around times, view their reviews or talk to their previous clients if possible to get a better understanding of what you can expect from them. Manage your outsourced team as you would an internal team in your office by touching base with them every day, monitoring their progress and clearly communicating expectations from day one.

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