It used to be the case that in order to set up a new business you would need to invest heavily in a range of hardware: computers, printers, scanners, photocopiers and fax machines, for example. Then there was the inevitable cost of furnishing your new office with desks, chairs, filing cabinets and the mass of infrastructure including multiple phone lines, data lines, servers and the like. Throw in your software, an office sofa and equipment for a small kitchenette and your wallet would feel many dollars lighter. Today it has never been easier to set up a new business without all that ‘stuff’. Here are the key things to remember if your startup is to be successful.
As desktops have given way to laptops, tablets and smartphones, business startups have been able to become more mobile and are no longer inevitably tied to a specific location. This means you are free to abandon the heavy-duty gear and make increasing use of cloud computing (also known as simply ‘the cloud’), which is becoming ever faster and much more efficient, as well as extremely cost effective. Most business users will turn to a laptop for the majority of their work, although a smartphone is useful for staying in touch and a tablet can be helpful for presentations, conferences and business meetings.
Although some paper is still generated in offices for admin purposes such as formal letters, invoices, staff records and perhaps stock control, the vast majority of business transactions have gone online. This means that enormous filing cabinets for mountains of paperwork are no longer needed because data storage is on hard disk drives and, increasingly, the cloud, which is now the preferred source for software. In many cases you only need to budget for small, low monthly payments rather than splash out on a raft of expensive software which then needs to be constantly upgraded, so business startups need to invest in the kind of technology that will meet their needs.
Costs of stock
Investing in the best-quality security protection for your data is not an area where you can afford to skimp, however the growth of online shopping generally means that many of the other things your business startup might need–including stock, if relevant–can be found online at competitive prices. Look out for sites advertising gadgets and other products ‘as seen on TV’, for example, and you’ll be amazed at the quality items available that are also affordable.
The impact of the mobile upsurge is also spreading to financial arrangements and many new startups have to embrace mobile payments, with many cellphones now being equipped to handle a credit card swipe. Most commentators advise keeping abreast of developments, but being cautious in the early stages; the market and industry for mobile payments is still very fragmented and it’s difficult to anticipate how it will move forward.
Finally, whether you’re setting up a workspace at home or elsewhere, don’t forget to include a good quality coffee maker in your inventory; that’s one piece of technology no business should be without.