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Now that you’ve come up with your million dollar business idea, it’s time to make your dream a reality. Setting up a new office can be overwhelming, but there’s no need to panic. Our handy business checklist has all the bases covered. From Internet to copiers, this guide breaks down the essentials that will help get your company off to a great start. Review this list, and check the items off as you go!
First, decide if you want your office to run on PC or Mac. If you’re already used to working on one or the other, go with what you’re most comfortable with. Next, determine if desktops or laptops make the most sense for you and your employees. This will impact the other equipment you need to set up workstations. Finally, you need to figure out the brand, power, memory, and operating system you want to use.
Once you’ve narrowed down those main elements, you can start shopping. Compare prices and research the benefits of new machines instead of refurbished ones. Don’t forget to include the additional items you’ll need such as monitors, keyboards, mice, and docking stations.
There are several types of Internet connections to choose from. The three main types are DSL, cable, and fiber. DSL offers a dedicated line, but often has slower speeds. Cable can offer fast speeds but connections are shared with all other accounts from the same provider in your area. Fiber is the most reliable and fastest option, which can help you minimize downtime.
Which service you choose will depend on the needs of your business. Consider how many devices will be using the Internet connection at the same time, as well as how much speed you need to download, upload, and stream online content.
Not all businesses need a Wi-Fi connection, but can be used for connecting laptops and mobile devices to the Internet instead of through a cable. If you decide that Wi-Fi is a must-have, you’ll need a modem and a router. You can purchase these devices for your company or rent them on a monthly basis from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If you set up a wireless network, be sure to put all the necessary security in place to protect your business.
Your phone system is the lifeline of your business. Businesses either use Private Branch Exchange (PBX) or Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to connect their internal phone system to external lines. The biggest difference between the two is cost. VoIP is usually less expensive because it uses the Internet to send and receive calls.
When you set up your phone system, be sure to consider features like voicemail, call forwarding, sequential dialing, and voice-to-email integration. You should also look at phone services offered by your ISP. Businesses can often find savings by bundling multiple services with the same provider.
Point-of-Sale (POS) System
Whether you’re selling goods or services, you need a way to accept payments and track orders. You can choose a POS system that lives on the network at your office or one that can be used remotely with a mobile device and an Internet connection.
Features to consider in a POS system include ease of use, inventory tracking, customer and sales tracking, reporting functions, and security. There are many POS systems specifically designed for different types of businesses. Find out what is most common in your industry before shopping around.
To properly manage the growth of your business, you need an accounting system that works. Don’t be tempted to start out with an Excel spreadsheet. It will be much easier to keep up with growth if you use accounting software from day one.
Identify your needs, from payroll tracking to reporting and analytics. Many programs offer you the chance to start out with a lighter (less expensive) version and upgrade as your accounting needs become more robust. You can also choose from an online accounting program or one that you house internally on your network.
Printers, Scanners, and Copiers
Most small businesses can get away with using an all-in-one machine that combines printing, scanning, and copying functions, many of which also come with built-in fax machines. If your office is fairly small and your printing or scanning needs aren’t extreme, one machine should be able to meet everyone’s needs.
Evaluate the nature of your business and how many people will be printing, scanning, or copying on a daily basis. If one employee needs to do more printing than most, it might be worth investing in a basic printer for that person’s use. That will keep the main office machine accessible to others during big projects.
You have enough to worry about when starting up a business, guessing what technology you need to get started shouldn’t add to your stress. Let us know your startup stories and questions in the comments.