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Learn How To Streamline Your Business Processes To Make IFTA Reporting Convenient

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The processes and regulations of a trucking business are as complex and intricate as the size of the business itself. It is not possible for a single person or a small team to oversee and run everything in a trucking company. So, any small upgrade or tool that would help in making the business processes easier is readily absorbed by the industry as long as they are economical.

When the IFTA was created in the 1900s, it was aimed to:

  • Quickly and effortlessly log data
  • Eliminate extra personnel.
  • Set up a clear process.
  • Automate repetitive tasks.
  • Help keep things organized.

A wave of happiness flowed across all personnel in the trucking industry. It had just made many of the processes and documentation that much smoother.

Also Check: 20 Most Critical Facts About GST

What is the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA)?

IFTA was created in 1996. It stands for the International Fuel Tax Agreement.

According to the South Carolina Legislature, the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) is an organization of states and the Canadian provinces under which the fuel use tax obligations of interstate and international motor carriers are administered.

Motor carriers across the country had to maintain a report of the miles they drove and how much fuel they consumed all the time. This was particularly bothersome when carriers had to constantly cross different state borders.

Before the IFTA was created, the trucking company had maintained tremendous amounts of documents, paperwork, unit conversions and much more every time their trucks drove across different jurisdictions in order to file the fuel tax reports, i.e., each jurisdiction had its own rules and regulations for filing the fuel tax reports. This meant the vehicles also required multiple fuel tax licenses.

running an IFTA report

The creation of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) in 1996 brought together 48 states of the United States of America (USA) and 10 provinces of Canada together to enable trucking companies to file their fuel taxes under a single license. This saved the trucking companies a lot of time and money. Visit Samsara for the complete list of the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) member jurisdictions.

Some jurisdictions where the IFTA credentials are now valid are Alaska, Hawaii, and the District of Columbia.

Despite all of this, there can sometimes be mistakes in the IFTA reporting process. But the quest for perfection never stops.

So, what are some ways that can help to make the reporting more convenient? An effective way to go to the roots of the problem – Business Processes. Streamlining business processes has the potential to substantially improve efficiency and speed of any associated task, and filing IFTA reports is no exception.

Streamline Your Business Processes

By undertaking simple, yet significant measures, business processes can be effectively streamlined to make the reporting process of IFTA buttery smooth. Their benefitting consequences result in making the IFTA reporting process more convenient.

Here are 5 measures that you can take:

1. Process Monitoring and Control

Process monitoring and control can radically transform the way your business works. It brings with it:

  • The motivation to collaborate.
  • Improvements in team management.
  • Enhancements in communication, visibility, and transparency.
  • Advanced data analytics, pattern recognition, and more.
  • Ease of data access, transmission, and maintenance across people and platforms.
  • Automation of repetitive tasks and periodic error corrections.
  • Design and form tools to customize dashboards and profiles.
  • Safety and security from hacks and data breaches.

2. Maintaining an Accurate Record of the Miles

Maintaining a record of the miles and fuels consumed is vital to file the IFTA reports.

You might be tempted to provide a rough estimate of the fuel consumed, and miles driven as the tax filing deadline closes in on you. But do not make this mistake, because the International Fuel Tax Agreement (IFTA) requires you to be as accurate as possible. Failing to do so can put your company and the fleet at the risk of an audit.

3. Good GPS Tracking

The incorporation of a good GPS vehicle tracker will surely benefit in the long term if not in the short term. Samsara’s GPS tracking helps to provide real-time vehicle visibility. This reduces the scope for any falsification.

The benefits of GPS tracking are not just limited to real-time vehicle tracking and visibility, but also extend to the following:

  • Optimization of routes to improve efficiency and decrease time.
  • Improving security to lower the risks of losing assets.
  • Improving customer service by providing features such as live sharing.
  • Reducing costs by providing insights to help make better decisions.

4. Using ELD and Fleet Management Software

Failure to file reports on time can cost you a lot. They can result in the suspension of the license or heavy fines for the company. However, paperwork is tiring, uninteresting, time-consuming, and repetitive.

Turning towards technology to track vehicles, miles, and fuel purchases can do wonders in making the experience of filing tax reports effortless by seamlessly integrating into your workflow to improve efficiency, strengthen safety and ensure compliance.

Must Read: Improve your Business with Better Customer Success

Modern innovations in the logistics industry, like ELD compliance solutions and fleet management software, made the process faster, streamlined, and efficient.

5. Using A Dedicated IFTA Software

A dedicated IFTA software will help you ease many things starting from:

  • Maintaining a directory and organizing all your fuel receipts.
  • Accurate and updated logs.
  • Recording all the miles driven.

This will help you file reports faster and better.

It is not easy to log each and every small and minute mile of your truck. A dedicated IFTA software takes care of them for you by helping you log data incrementally without any hassle.

Conclusion

The aforementioned processes will have thoroughgoing reforms in your business to make IFTA tax filing and reporting more convenient than ever before.

Modern technological innovations improve speed, efficiency, increase accuracy, decrease errors (especially human errors) and ensure compliance to the Hours of Service (HOS) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations.

This article helps guide you through a process that can otherwise seem intimidating and can become a challenge.

All of this works in synergy to eliminate paperwork and repetition, enabling you to dexterously file quarterly IFTA reports for your company.

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Does Having A Website Guarantee Growth In Business?

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If not before, we’ve indeed learned a lesson about online businesses in 2020. Online presence is the key to success in this digital era. You might already know how important it is to have a website that can help your business grow online. But, little did you know that having a website does not guarantee business growth.

Wait. What?

The truth of the matter is that having a website is only the stepping stone for entering into the world of digital commerce.

Read this- several reports confirm that more than half of the startups fail within the first year of their inception. And most of them set up an online store or a website.

So, where is it all going wrong? Of course, to set up your business online, you need a website. Besides, having a relevant domain name and a beautifully crafted website indeed influences business. But it requires a lot more than just creating a website to gain online success.

In this article, we’ll give you some practical ways to help you grow your online business.

Does Having A Website Guarantee Growth In Business?

So, keep reading to find the correct answers for all your whats, hows, and ifs.

Like Promotions Like Advertisements

For starters, you need to understand one thing; your website is like your shop. Your customers would only buy from you as long as they can find you.

You’ll need to promote and advertise your website (online business) the same way you’d do it for your physical retail store in your community or locality.

Note that, by similar promotions and advertisements, we do not mean magazine prints or TV coms. Investing in these traditional strategies could be way too expensive. And, luckily there are several other ways to do so.

For example, you can start with guest blogging and press releases about your business. Thus, improving website visibility in front of the masses. But remember, you only partner up with niche relevant blogs and magazines for guest posting and press releases.

Likewise, you can also include paid promotions such as Facebook ads and Google ads into your advertising plan.

NOTE: It is noteworthy that promotions and advertisements are not identical, although they work pretty similarly and for the same goal.

When you’re promoting, you’re not enticing your target audience to purchase at the very exact moment. Meaning you’re instead promoting your brand than your products.

Contrary to this, when you’re advertising, you’re asking your customers to make a purchase.

Also Read: Tips for choosing a WordPress Template and Why You Need Template Monster

Competitors Can Be Great Teachers

Most website owners assume that taking up the usual steps, such as optimizing keywords and building relevant backlinks, is enough. But, there’s a catch to this practice.

Consider this scenario.

Every website follows these steps. But, not every website ranks at the first position in search results. In other words, a few websites perform outstandingly, then the rest. Indeed, they are doing something exceptional that others are not.

Now, some websites within your niche (your competitors) should be ranking on top positions in search results. In contrast, others might be ranking on the tenth or maybe fiftieth page.

So, what is it that the top rankers are doing and the bottom rankers are missing in their marketing? Maybe it is a mix of paid and organic traffic sources. Or perhaps it all has to do something with the content that they have on their website.

To your surprise, you can indeed find out what’s helping your competitors rank better than others for your desired keywords. The practice is called competitor analysis. And once you’ve identified what’s helping your competitors outperform others, you’re already a step closer to growing your online business.

What you can do next is, adopt their strategy, modify it to suit your needs, and you’re good to go. And if it is working for your competitors, it should work for you as well.

Market Trends Help Maintain The Pace

Like all other things concerning your business, marketing trends also keep on changing. Precisely, digital marketing trends in 2021 are far more stern than it was a year ago. So what do you do?

You keep up with the trends.

Consider this –

Every change in the market drives specific changes in the industry operations. And also how consumers interact with the industry. For example, a change in consumer preference for pre-packed foods would also affect how food and beverage companies produce their products.

And the ones who can’t keep up with the market trends are often the ones to fail or are generally at the bottom of the market funnel.

Must Read: Improve your Business with Better Customer Success

Need For Robust And Holistic Approach

All in all, you need a way to market your website more than you need the website. Although your website is the stepping stone, it is not the end of your efforts.

Perhaps, coming up with a robust and holistic plan to penetrate the market should be your primary focus. And accordingly, things would start falling into place.

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Top 5 Financial Tips For First Time Home Buyers By Experts

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Introduction

  • Are you a first-time homebuyer looking for some financial tips on how to buy your first home?
  • Do you know about the best interest rates on home loans, which can make your dream a reality?
  • Have you tried talking to financial experts who can help show you some clear and easy money-saving tactics?

All of us have a single dream. That dream constitutes having a place, which we can truly call our own. Across the world, one of the foremost goals of people includes buying their first home. In terms of career goals, this ranks higher than buying your first car, marriage, and so on.

While many people are more than capable of investing in a new house and life for themselves, there are some things, which hold them back. One of those things is poor information about the financial aspects of buying a new home.

In this article, we speak to leading financial experts and ask them about the problem. However, before we begin, let us first look at some common problems first-time homebuyers face.

Top 5 Financial Tips For First Time Home Buyers By Experts

What are some common problems faced by first-time homebuyers?

According to financial experts, the biggest problem first-time homebuyers face is affordability. Not knowing how big of a house you want, or whether you will be able to afford it or not is a big question. Repaying something for the next twenty-five years of your life does not make sense.

Many homebuyers make an elementary mistake of not getting second quotes. In most instances, if you go by the first quote, you will never be able to reduce the prices. Every prospective home, which goes for sale, always enlists the help of two or three brokers. People looking to buy their first home should always reach out to different brokers for the same house.

Finally, the third biggest mistake financial experts state that homebuyers make is not calculating the overheads. In simple words, this involves checking out the foundation of the building and seeing whether it is termite infested or not. First-time homebuyers should look to cut down on maintenance and one-time rebuild costs as much as possible.

Top 5 Financial Tips for First Time Homebuyers: The List

  • Create a separate Savings Fund for your home-

Experts suggest that having just one savings fund to fulfill all the needs of your future is not a good idea. This is especially a poor decision if you dream of buying your own home. It is important to set up a separate savings fund for your home well in advance. This will help you avoid paying a very small down payment and incurring high-interest rates.

Also Read: Understanding How to Easily Avail Credit in the UK

  • Always reach out to at least three financial institutions for Home Loans-

Every bank or financial institution has its own rules and regulations governing home loans. This is why leading home loans expert, Associates Home Loan suggests going after the one with the best interest rates on offer. This will not only allow you to understand what is best for you but also give you a broader idea as to how you should plan.

  • Try to avoid making a Small Down Payment-

The biggest burden first time home buyers put on themselves is the high-interest rate burden. Making a small down payment might look to be very attractive initially, but it is never a sound financial decision. According to experts, you should try to make the down payment to be at least 50% of the total value of the home. This will cut down on the repayment period.

  • Bargain to include the Basic Maintenance within the final Home Price-

No matter, which house or apartment you will look to buy, there might be some of the other niggling issues. There might be termite infestation or rotted foundations because of a flood. You need to negotiate hard with the existing owners and include those costs within the price of the home. This will help you prevent unnecessary overheads as soon as you buy the home.

  • Prepare a speculative monthly Budget to check the feasibility-

Any first-time homebuyer wants to rid himself or herself of any financial problems. This is why experts suggest that preparing a monthly budget to show where you will stand at the end of the month is a good idea. Take into consideration your interest rates, overheads, maintenance, and your earnings.

Must Read: 10 Best Free Floor Plan Software for Home Design

Conclusion

While buying a home is most often an emotional decision, it is best not to get dictated by them. By following the advice and suggestions of financial experts, you too can achieve your dream of buying your first home. Can you think of some other financial tips? Drop them in the comments section below.

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Marketing Benefits of Offering a Drive-Thru at Your Restaurant

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The present-day restaurant ecosystem is immensely diverse and audacious. According to the National Restaurant Association, the projected sales of the U.S. restaurant industry in 2019 was $863 billion dollars-which equates to 4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. Back in the 1970s, the projected sales were around $43 billion dollars.

David Henkes, a senior principal at the foodservice industry analyst firm Technomic, told Washington Post, “For a number of years, the rate of restaurant growth has exceeded population growth. Too many restaurants are chasing too few consumer dollars.” Amidst this changing ecosystem and competitive market, restaurants must keenly observe the market and consumer-centric trends like a hawk and ensure that they stay relevant by adopting the right strategy and technology.

Marketing Benefits of Offering a Drive-Thru at Your Restaurant

One such strategy adopted by several restauranteurs all over the globe is the implementation of drive-thrus. The concept of the drive-thru was introduced back in 1948 by a 100-square foot burger shack called In-N-Out. Since then, drive-thrus have thrived in the restaurant ecosystem, helping the restaurants attract customers due to the added convenience quotient

Also Read: Know How to Start a Food Cart Business: Ultimate Guide

However, setting up a drive-thru is not an easy task—it’s more than just having a window on one of the walls of your restaurant and taking orders from there. It’s like setting up a completely different business and will probably cost you almost half as much as your restaurant business. So why go through the trouble of setting up a drive-thru? Because it’s not just a revenue driver, it has a lot of marketing benefits as well.

Here are a few of the marketing benefits of a drive-thru:

  1. Use the real estate for advertising purposes. While customers are waiting in their cars, you have their attention. You can use the wait-time for advertising your brand and new product offerings to your customers using bright digital LED signage. Displaying delectable videos and images of high-margin food and beverage items can entice customers and drive sales. These signages can also be used to display promotional videos of your brand and other drive-thru-only offers.
  2. You can use drive-thrus to gather valuable customer data and insight to over personalized services to your customers, which will help you offer better customer experience and thereby brand loyalty among your customers. You can even use a third-party personalization platform to collect and analyze real-time and historical customer data to create personalized campaigns.Last year, McDonald’s Corporation acquired Dynamic Yield-an Artificial Intelligence-powered personalization platform for over $300 million. The fast-food giant will use provide an enhanced personalized customer experience with digital drive-thru menu displays to show food based on various parameters such as time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic, and trending menu items. “The decision technology can also instantly suggest and display additional items to a customer’s order based on their current selections,” the company claimed.

    Using customer data such as phone numbers, vehicle information, and loyalty and membership accounts, restaurants can gauge different customer preferences. This insight can be used for mobile marketing and sending personalized newsletters about the various offers available, changes in the menu, upcoming events, and other restaurant-centric news.

  1. You can use various tech for restaurant drive-thru to streamline the operations, thereby freeing up your restaurant staff to engage with the customers, thus enhancing the customer experience quotient of your brand. Reinforcing your drive-thru operations with technology and state-of-the-art equipment can not only help offer a better drive-thru experience for your customers, but it can also boost brand your restaurant.
  2. Most customers waiting for their turn in a drive-thru use their smartphones to kill time. By offering these customers a small incentive such as a free beverage, you can get them to participate in a brief market research survey. The survey results can prove to be a treasure trove of valuable insight sourced directly from your key target crowd.
  3. Instagram is one of the most powerful marketing tools for restaurants. You can incentivize customers to post pictures on their Instagram handles using unique hashtags that promote your brand and tag your restaurant, while they document their drive-thru experience.

 

Must Read: 5 Important Marketing Strategies For Any Business

You can also use Snapchat’s Geofilter feature to create a customized Snapchat filter specific to your restaurant brand, maybe even incorporate your logo. This filter can then be used by Snapchat users in your restaurant or the drive-thru to add to their content, thereby enhancing the visibility of your brand.

Drive-thru Drives Your Brand

Setting up and running a streamlined drive-thru service is no walk in the park. It’s a massive investment and requires your blood, sweat, and tears to succeed in this game. However, with the right tools and strategy, drive-thrus can be a powerful branding platform for your restaurant. Don’t be afraid of investing in technology to streamline your drive-thru operations. The right tech tools can work wonders to enhance the drive-thru experience for your customers and thereby boost the brand value of your restaurant.

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