Saturday, August 3, 2019

The best mileage apps for small businesses - Digital Trends

The best mileage apps for small businesses - Digital Trends


The best mileage apps for small businesses - Digital Trends

Posted: 02 Aug 2019 06:15 AM PDT

Small business owners — including freelancers and solopreneurs — have several jobs: Doing the actual work, running the company, and making sure that all systems are used to their best revenue and tax advantage. If any part of your business requires driving, a good mileage tracker app is a must. Mileage trackers help you to classify your driving destinations, help you economize, save you money on your taxes, and back you up for reimbursements to and from your employers and contractors.

Mileage trackers not only track miles, they ideally log them into a tax-friendly format that you can use to augment your return, whether you do your own taxes or hire a professional. Mileage tracking apps are valuable tax assistants, considering that the IRS will let you deduct for uncompensated miles driven for work, saving you money on your tax bill.

Some features are automatic, and using any automated services in these apps will save you time and effort as you try to gather accurate expense and time report information. Many tracking apps function like business services and are not free of charge, but for many small business folks, the time and effort saved in compiling mileage and expense data is worth the money.

Mileage tracking apps use GPS to track your car's motion from one location to another; they often start recording distance when the wheels start moving and stop if you are in one place for a certain amount of time — something you can set in the preferences. Mileage tracking is similar to how Google Maps tracks a car trip. Don't expect 100% accuracy, but a close ballpark is extremely helpful. It's a good idea to simultaneously keep track of mileage yourself with your own odometer, just to make sure your apps are functioning properly. You also want to watch the level of your smartphone battery as you use the apps.

Each business needs different kinds of services from mileage trackers: Some need solid classifications, while others need to add more notes and reminders about each trip. And that's where many of the available apps differentiate themselves. Here are some of the highly rated mileage tracking apps available for iOS and Android.

TripLog Mileage Tracker

TripLog automatically tracks miles every time you drive your car or your fleet of vehicles. TripLog is designed for both personal and business expense reporting and automatically tracks deductible mileage, saving your business time and money, and protecting you in case of a government tax audit. It also provides 100% IRS compliant reporting that you can use with all major accounting platforms. TripLog is highly customizable; you can log miles for specific times of the day or set up the tracker for business and personal rides. TripLog can keep track of all vehicle and business expenses — fuel, parking, tolls, maintenance, insurance, logging, meals — that you can cite as business deductions. It lets you capture expense receipt photos and upload them to the Cloud. You can auto-start the app's tracker when plugged into a power source, or connected to a Bluetooth device and driving at more than 5 mph, or you can have the app auto start at a set time. The app supports businesses with mobile employees, car fleets, and truck fleets. A 30-day free trial is available.

iOS   Android

Everlance

Everlance puts the free in freelance, but also the profit. It is targeted at solopreneurs, real estate agents, photographers, self-employed people, general contractors, independent contractors, rideshare drivers, food delivery people, and employees who need to get reimbursed. Everlance promises to make tracking your mileage and generating receipts for tax deductions or reimbursement simple, easy, and free. Everlance tracks your mileage automatically using GPS — the app records your trips in the background and you can manually swipe trips to the left or to the right to signify personal or business. Under the free plan, you can track an unlimited number of trips or receipts or you can upgrade to Everlance Premium and the app will automatically track your trips and transactions using credit card and bank integration. The app calculates business mileage, trip start/end time, and reimbursement value. It saves a GPS mileage receipt for each trip which is backed up to the cloud. You can also upload your paper receipts of meals, supplies, and other expenses.

iOS   Android

MileIQ

MileIQ is a free mileage tracking app that uses GPS-backed drive detection technology to automatically log and track miles, and calculate the value of your drives for taxes or reimbursements. The app helps you organize your drives for your business expenses and tax refunds and separates business miles from personal. It provides the reports needed to maximize your tax deductions and reimbursements. MileIQ automatically tracks your miles in the background so you won't have to manually log your miles or start and stop recording and it will create a compliant mileage log for you. Mileage tracker records all trips down to fractions of a mile without consuming excessive battery power. Mileage reports provide information for the IRS and include details you need for your business expense reports. Expense reports are simple: Just export your mileage tracking data or send yourself a spreadsheet with the data you need. For a complete record of all your drives, upgrade to MileIQ Premium for $6 per month or $60 per year.

iOS    Android

Hurdlr

Hurdlr, a business expenses and mileage tracker targeted to small business owners, self-employed people, independent contractors, freelancers, Uber or Lyft drivers, couriers, and others offers a compendium of services to let you easily capture receipts and create expense reports. Hurdlr connects with banks, Uber, FreshBooks, Square, Stripe, and PayPal to import your income and expenses automatically for easy income tax calculations. The app's free version features expense, income tax, and semi-automatic mileage tracking. The premium version has better automation features with a detailed business tax tracker for quarterly tax accounting. Hurdlr's IRS mileage tracking helps 1099 filers claim maximum tax deductions. The app lets you export detailed expense reports with receipts and send them via email or to a tax specialist. Hurdlr provides real-time, year-end, and quarterly tax estimates for independent contractors. Hurdlr is specifically designed to work without draining your battery, even with heavy usage. Premium features cost $8 a month or $60 a year.

iOS    Android

SherpaShare

SherpaShare bills itself as the ideal app for Uber or Lyft drivers with a rideshare driver assistant that boosts earnings 30% or more — featuring automatic mileage tracking, expense tracking, and smart driver tools that help you plan the best routes. The app is for ridesharing drivers, delivery people, business travelers, and freelancers. It automatically tracks all mileage using your phone's GPS without draining your battery, lets you classify your trips, track and categorize expenses, record trip details, back up information to the cloud, and connect with other drivers for real-time traffic conditions. SherpaShare lets you download a mileage tracking spreadsheet or printable mileage log so you can submit a professional looking tax return and expense report. The app's advanced tracking technology is accurate and always on so you benefit from recorded total miles. A 14-day free trial is available.

iOS   Android

MileWiz

The MileWiz driving log captures every mile you drive, automatically. You can categorize trips or tell the IRS compliant app how to categorize trips for you, based on your working hours or the places you visit. The app is designed for the self-employed, small companies, and employees of small companies. If you drive your personal car for company trips, you can track for reimbursement for your miles, gas, parking, and tolls. The app detects and logs drives automatically, even if MileWiz is not launched, and visualizes your drive route, distance, and value on a map. You can use a swipe gesture to categorize drives, adds places you visit often, configure working hours for auto-recording, add or merge drives, and track driving-related expenses. The app comes with predefined categories, but you can also create as many as you want and generate reports by any criteria you want — such as time period, driver, vehicle, tags, or category. Sync all your data between devices or just keep a cloud backup. MileWiz employs advanced algorithms, designed to limit the app's GPS usage to a minimum to conserve your smartphone's battery.

iOS    Android

Editors' Recommendations

How To Get Your Business Acquired - Forbes

Posted: 02 Aug 2019 07:21 AM PDT

Want to get your business acquired for millions, or maybe even billions of dollars?

What can you do as a startup founder and business owner to get your company acquired? What steps and strategies will help to achieve an attractive exit?

Whether you are still in the initial idea phase and are planning your exit in advance, or you've hit a ceiling and are ready to cash out and hand the baton on to someone else, these factors can help a lot.

Create That Buzz

Generating more buzz around your brand and even just your company and team can be one of the most powerful and valuable things you can do. 

Big companies can lose that edginess quickly. We've seen it with Facebook, and then their acquisition of Instagram. It can help them stay relevant if they acquire you, and will certainly help you get noticed and stay visible. 

Publishing content is one of the best ways to achieve this. Founders with very notable exits credit a lot of their success to even just a single blog post or online article.

Pick the Right Board Members

Putting the right investors on your board can make all the difference in an exit. More than just bringing expertise and money to the table, they can make the right connections to secure your exit. 

They have a vested interest in making that happen. Look at the other startups they are invested in, previous exits and relationships with active acquirers, as well as the big corporations which are most likely to be interested in buying your startup.

Build to Solve the Weaknesses of Larger Companies

The serial entrepreneurs who seem to be best at consistently launching and selling ventures for big sums, are those who start out building a solution that solves weaknesses of larger players in their space. 

That may be a productivity feature or efficiency enhancement needed to remain competitive, or as Harvard Business Review suggests, a product or service which helps complete the customer journey. What can you do faster, more efficiently and better than they can?

Layout a Roadmap for Them

Potential buyers aren't going to make you and offer if they can't see the value and how compatible your ventures is. If you are serious about selling, you may have to help them see that path and vision. 

This is especially true if you haven't even completed your product, gained traction or become profitable yet. 

Layout a roadmap of where this acquisition can take your company, the products, the integration and how your foundational assets will create value for an acquirer. 

In this regard, potential buyers will most likely request your acquisition memorandum which gathers all the relevant information. For a winning acquisition memorandum take a look at my recent commentary providing a step by step guide where you could learn how to put yours together (see it here).

Create a Bidding War

Competition helps to create interest, adds motivation, increases what companies are willing to pay and makes offers stickier. 

Once you get some interest, be quick to shop your deal around and multiply it into as many potential buyers as you can.

Hire a Banker or Broker

M&A experts specialize in building interest, value and excitement, and gaining momentum in selling your business. 

They can also prove invaluable in negotiating some of the finer points. Leverage their time and knowledge, so that you can stay focused on what you do best, while achieving a larger exit.

You also want to remove yourself from discussions around price. The reason behind this is that you want to always stay on the good side. Bankers could play the role of bad cops which ultimately helps with increasing the overall outcome of the deal.

Seek the Right Type of Acquirers

While there are some exceptions, getting acquired is typically a process that requires meeting, getting to know and developing a relationship with key dealmakers. That's going to mean a lot of wasted time and resources if you aren't spending it with the right players. 

As a CEO you have an obligation to get the most out of what you've got, and no one has time to waste. There are two main types of possible buyers of businesses. 

The first type are the strategic acquirers who are looking to add something to their existing business. For example, product, growth, revenues, profitability, efficiency, or new demographics. 

Then there are the financial buyers who are purely buying your business to add a money making investment to their portfolio of companies. 

Strategic buyers have been known to make acquisitions of startups without revenues, and sometimes without a finished product and honed business model. 

Financial buyers on the other hand, are looking for proven cash flow and returns.

Make Yourself Dispensable

This might seem counterintuitive, but your company needs to be able to run without you if you are going to pass it onto someone else, and for it to work for them. This is the difference between being a freelancer or being stuck as a small business, and a startup which is acquirable. 

The better your business runs without you, the more high level work you can do while you own it, and perhaps the less time a buyer will want to lock you in to working for them after the merger. 

Work Your Plan B, Like it's Your Plan A

Your main goal right now may be to get this company sold. Yet, that may be much more likely to happen, and at the best possible price, if you clearly have other options, and don't need to sell. As a founder you need to be unattached to the outcome. 

If you can, bootstrap and get profitable with real revenues. You can always raise money if you have a proven business that can produce consistent cash flow and returns. 

Or you can get out there and start raising a big round of funding to take your startup to the next level on your own. That can give potential buyers more motivation to move faster, and up their offer. 

Or perhaps you can begin going down the path of an IPO. 

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