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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Best Time and Attendance Systems

Stratustime offers everything small businesses need in a time and attendance system. The cloud-based solution has a comprehensive assortment of time-tracking options, with employees able to clock in and out via traditional time clocks, internet-connected computers, mobile devices and telephones. The system also manages paid time off, generates employee schedules, monitors overtime hours, integrates with a wide range of payroll services and features a variety of mobile options. We were impressed with the system’s easy-to-use online portal, the company’s customer service and the system’s affordable monthly cost.

The uAttend time and attendance system is a good fit for very small businesses because it is cloud-based and requires no special software to install. The system is very flexible, letting employees clock in and out with time clocks, web browsers, mobile devices and telephones. uAttend’s time clocks are plug-and-play ready, send data in real time to the system, include lifetime guarantees and are among the cheapest we found. Besides being able to record when employees come and go, the system also manages paid time off, tracks how long employees work on specific projects and creates officewide schedules.

TSheets allows remote employees to clock in and out with laptop computers, smartphones, telephones, text messages and Twitter. Additionally, the system records not only exactly where workers start and end their shifts, but also their locations throughout the day. The pricing is extremely affordable, and the customer service is among the best we encountered.

TimeClock Plus is a time and attendance system that offers a lot of variety. Businesses can choose from three different service plans, which vary by price and the number of features included, and whether they want the system hosted in the cloud or installed and housed within their own business. The most comprehensive plan not only includes multiple ways to track when employees come and go, but also features a paid-time off management component and scheduling tools. Additionally, the system, especially the cloud-based option, is extremely affordable, and easy to use.

Best GPS Fleet Tracking

GPSTrackIt offers a full-featured, cloud-based mobile app that lets you monitor and manage your fleet even when you’re out of the office. Whereas many GPS fleet tracking apps limit capabilities, GPSTrackIt’s mobile app comes with everything you need to monitor vehicles and drivers from your iOS or Android device. We especially like that GPSTrackIt lets you customize the service, so you can build the perfect GPS fleet tracking app and cater it to your business’s unique needs.

Fleet Genius is a super-affordable GPS fleet tracking software that’s built specifically for small businesses looking for a low-cost way to track vehicles and drivers. The software is packed with features, but also offers a ton of flexibility with custom solutions and services. Packages start at just $3.95 per vehicle per month, and we like that there are no long-term contracts and no minimum number of vehicles required to use the software.

To find the best GPS fleet tracking software for small business, we started by creating a comprehensive list of vendors. Our sources include reputable review sites, business websites and input from small business owners themselves.

Next, we narrowed down our list to those that are suitable for small business. We then further cut down that list based on specific criteria and different use-case scenarios (the best-picks categories above). To come up with these criteria and categories, we asked small business owners what they look for in a GPS fleet tracking software and what they like and dislike about the one they are currently using. We also considered insight from vendors to gain a better understanding of what types of GPS fleet tracking software are best for small businesses.

As part of our research, we also contacted vendors, posing as small business owners shopping around for GPS fleet tracking software. This helped us better evaluate each software individually while assessing each company’s customer service. In addition, we tested software demos and apps when possible, to see which ones were easy to use and which were not worth the time or headache.

In total, we compiled a list of nearly 50 GPS fleet tracking software. Our top picks are InTouch GPS, GPSTrackIt and Fleet Genius. Those that made it to our short list include Fleetistics, NexTraq, FleetOutlook, Teletrac, Telogis, Fleetmatics, GPS Insight, Networkfleet by Verizon, Rhino Fleet Tracking, Geotab, Collective Data, LiveView GPS, Omnitracs, TomTom and Virtual Fleet Supervisor.

5 Low-Cost Business Ideas

Social media and the 24-hour news cycle have created the perfect storm of opportunity for creative professionals like writers and graphic designers, who can use their talents to create high-quality, shareable content for businesses and media outlets. Thanks to a growing part-time economy of freelance and contract workers, it’s easier than ever to market yourself as a professional freelancer.

For the musically gifted, offering lessons to others who want to learn an instrument can be a great source of extra income. Unless you’re teaching piano, students can likely bring their own instruments to your home for hour-long lessons. Stock up on sheet music or songbooks in varying genres and aimed at various skill levels so you can offer a wide selection for your potential clients. Voice lessons can also bring in a lot of money if you market yourself to local high school and community theater groups.

Larger firms can hire an agency or full-time staff member to run their Facebook and Twitter accounts and blogs, but small businesses often have to take care of their own social media marketing. With so many other responsibilities, business owners may be too busy or overwhelmed to spend time coming up with a great social media strategy. As a consultant, you can help them determine the best tactics, posting schedules and content for their target audience. As their follower counts grow, so will your business.

Etsy is a popular online marketplace that hosts thousands of at-home retailers and larger productions, like the highly-rated Wildflower + co., selling jewelry, patches and DIY merchandise. Starting an Etsy shop is incredibly affordable. It’s free to join the site and start a shop, though business owners should be aware there are three selling fees: the listing, transaction and payment-processing fees.

This business requires you to plan and prepare weekly or daily meals for your clients, so strong cooking skills and a working knowledge of nutrition and special diets (if applicable) are a must. You don’t necessarily need to have graduated from culinary school, but having some cooking classes under your belt will boost your credibility. While you may have to do some traveling to and from supermarkets and client homes, your customers should cover the cost of ingredients in addition to your service charge.


You Can Start with Your Kids for this Business

If your teen excels in a specific subject or has exceptional grades, encourage him or her to assist those in need of help through tutoring services. Your child can get paid for his or her knowledge and time spent helping others learn a skill or subject matter. This type of business is scalable, and live videoconferencing and electronic payments can bring your child’s skills online as well.

Kids are absorbing tons of social media knowledge at a young age. They’re becoming YouTube and Instagram stars with millions of followers for just being themselves. This could be invaluable knowledge for small businesses in your area. Encourage your child to apply his or her understanding of social platforms to consult for local shops and restaurants.

As long as houses come with lawns and outdoor maintenance, there will be a need for landscapers.The simplicity of the job, from mowing the lawn to trimming trees, means it can open doors to college degrees in the field, which can lead to jobs with theme parks or college campuses.

Technology has brought traditional job choices for teens into the modern age. Sites like SitterCity, and have made it easy for people to hire and pay child or pet sitters. Encourage your child to gain some experience by babysitting for family members or neighbors. After they’ve gotten some experience, they can set up an online account to allow them to truly grow their business in an accessible way.

Sites like Etsy have transformed the way crafters bring their talent to the world. They no longer have to rely on fairs and events to show off their creations; instead, they can sell their products online to customers around the world. If your child has a knack for crafting and creativity, Etsy may offer a great business opportunity. Etsy has a comprehensive guide on fees and owning your own business, along with guidelines for minors.

Bringing your child’s passion for cooking or baking to the world can prove to be fruitful. There are competition shows on Food Network dedicated to the skills of young teens, as well as Shark Tank entrepreneurs who have used their baking skills to satiate the palates of people (and dogs!). Depending on your home state’s regulations, it could be fairly simple for you and your child to start a home catering or bakery business.

Your child’s business doesn’t necessarily need to check off the for-profit box. If you and your child are passionate about a social cause, starting a nonprofit charity may be a great start. There are hundreds of ways to raise money to profit those in need. Sit down and have a conversation about how to raise money for the cause. It is also a great opportunity to teach your child about the 501(c)(3) tax exemption and how it works.

Public interest in upcycling and recycling clothing and other items has led to the success of stores such as ReStore and vintage clothing shops. Collect unwanted items from neighbors, friends and family members, restore items to better quality, and sell them for fair prices. It’s a great way to be green and make some money from previously unwanted items.

Whatever new opportunity you and your child choose, this is a great time to teach the importance of work-life balance, responsibility and the importance of taxes. Encourage young entrepreneurs to try their best and seek success with their new business. Even if it doesn’t turn out as planned, you can show them that adversity is a part of life, and that failure is an opportunity to retool an idea or open a door to a new opportunity.