Great Ideas for your Small Business: Five Great Things to Buy
Before you can be truly high-tech, your business needs to have the right equipment and be set up properly.
Here are the five things your office probably doesn’t have but should, according to business equipment expert Mie-Yun Lee:
1. Computer backup system.
It’s easy to think your computers will never crash or be damaged by water or fire or be hit by a virus. But it could—and probably will—happen.
Prevent the despair you’ll feel when a disaster strikes by buying a backup system. You want a system that can store key data from all your current and future computer systems.
Brands to look for include Exabyte, Hewlett-Packard, and (for Macs) APS Technologies.
Lee also suggests practicing recovering your data before you actually need to do it. And be sure to back up files every week, if not every day.
Rather than buying modems for every computer you add to the office, buy a router. These devices serve as an officewide modem for everyone, with access available to all networked computers.
A router can save you money, because all modem usage can be consolidated to just a couple of phone lines instead of requiring a separate line for each modem. This devise can also eliminate unsightly telephone wires snaking around the office. A router can connect to regular phone lines, ISDN, and dedicated lines. Try 3Com or Ascend for PC-based routers; Farallon is a good source for Mac routers.
3. Color printer
A splash of color can make your important documents more memorable. A color ink-jet printer is good for basic printing. Whatever printer you choose, make sure you buy a four-color, not three-color, model.
Four-color models have a reservoir that holds black ink, while three-color ones combine various colors to approximate black. Also, make sure that you can reload or refill cartridges separately. Otherwise, when you run out of one color, you will be forced to throw out the entire cartridge.
Consider brands like Epson, Canon, or Hewlett-Packard for printers and cartridges.
4. Computer-height desks.
Computers sitting atop standard-issue desks often spell trouble for employees. Many suffer aching hands or carpal tunnel syndrome, a serious repetitive stress problem. To alleviate the discomfort, buy lower desks or desks that adjust to computer key- board height.
You can retrofit desks by adding a keyboard platform that is adjustable. If you use a mouse, make sure the platform is wide enough to hold both the keyboard and the mouse.
Remember, part of working in the information age means having the right office equipment to accommodate the new technology.
5. Employee 800 number.
If you have employees calling in from the road, try installing a toll-free 800/888 number instead of issuing calling cards. You can save money in the long run, and employees will have fewer numbers to dial when they are on the run. Many telephone service providers offer toll-free service.
You can also equip the 800 number with account codes to prevent employees from using the 800 number for personal calls.