There are very few businesses now that dont routinely use information technology (IT). Information Technology makes everyday business tasks easier, quicker and cheaper and connects them to the world beyond.
Some new business owner opt use the home-based PC for your new business. If you don’t have one, can’t use it or don’t want to, IT hardware and software is more affordable than ever. The money you spend can also be offset against your tax bill ££££. So what should a new business owner look for when making the decision if you need to buy some new kit?
You need to think about your business needs. Maybe make a list of what you need you technology to perform. As an IT Consultant , my computer needed to :
- Log my accounts
- Create Invoices
- Create Project plans ( Ms Project )
- Create Network and System Diagrams ( Ms Visio )
- Write Letters, Quotes and Emails
- Log Customer Relatoionship Notes.
- Surf the Internet
- Create PDF’s
This is not an exhaustive list but as you can see you can come to expect alot of your business computer. Also think about whether a laptop (portable) might be more suitable, again being up and down the M6 I need something portable. With a laptop comes other consideration like how you secure it from theft and loss of your data. Some people may even consider two or more computers. New business owner need to anticipate their future needs.
Most new business will have set an IT budget (and it may appear in the Business plan as a cost in P & L) and this then allows them to consider thier options. At Accede It , we have given lots of free advice on what system is best fit to the user. Most start-ups don’t need hugely sophisticated IT. Typically, a mid-range desktop PC (ie computer, monitor, keyboard, mouse, basic office software) is sufficient. For a reliable solution, budget for £400-£550 and maybe £80 for a printer. A reasonable laptop will cost £350-£500. Specialist software provides additional cost. If you’re concerned with how stylish your PC looks or want a cutting edge model, you’ll have to pay for it, but you need to consider the impact it will have on your start-up budget and your image. It may make customer think you fees are high to cover such luxuries.
The cheapest IT deals are usually to be found online but finding them could be a problem if you don’t have internet access. When buying online, you can’t always ask face-to-face questions. However, some suppliers provide online chat facilities and helplines that allow you to ask the seller for advice. We advice not to buy capability you don’t need or kit that falls short of the mark, just so you can save a few quid. Avoid second-hand and reconditioned goods, you could be buying limited capability or technical problems. And you have now warranty period.
When buying online, find out how much after sales support you’ll receive (if any) and use your credit card for added protection from online ‘con-merchants’. Some by from companies they have heard of on the retail parks, this is fine but they do tend to be more specifical set up for the consumer. That said some consumer units, particularly the laptops are quite suitable.
Beware of IT companies that try to confront you ith jargon, ask sales people to speak in plain English. Don’t fall for fancy add-ons, either, focus on your business needs and budget. Find out how much technical support, maintenance or guarantees cost before signing up, as other options might be cheaper. So when you selected your computer and begin buying the add ons (eg scanner and printer), make sure they’re compatible with your computer purchase. Some shops sell bundled goods which prevents incompatibility, but consider the value of each component. Most of these computer store on retail parks, you can barter with so, bargain hard and don’t be rushed into your decision.
We advise that for your own security, you should buy an external storage device (around £70-£150 depending on how much storage capacity you need) onto which you can regularly back up data. This should be removed from your premises each night, which will ensure you won’t lose important information if disaster strikes (eg fire, flood or burglary). Make sure all hardware is physically secured, too, and laptops should be locked away securely.
Invest in anti-virus and firewall software ( we partner with ESET, which is agreat dsolution that doesnt slow down or clog up your machine ), A computer virus entering your system or an uninvited intruder accessing your system could devastate your business. It’s also wise to line up technical support before problems occur, again we can tailor suitable support for your technology equipment.