Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to brave the world and take on the weighty challenge of entrepreneurship. You’ve got the million dollar idea, enough capital to get you started, and the persistence of a rogue freight train. As you sit in front of your blossoming business plan, you start to wonder about how best to spend the money that needs to get you as far as possible. Where do you make your initial investments with a finite set of funds? Here are the basics you’ll need to get started to take your business to the moon, first class.
A classic mainstay of any office, the copy machine is a necessity for small businesses of almost every sort. You’ll be needing to copy customer invoices, marketing materials, and other important documents throughout your early days. Make sure you invest in something that won’t break easily, and get a copy machine with a warranty or service contract as well for any pesky problems you might encounter along the way. In the critical hours of the beginning of your business, you’ll want to ensure your up-time for all your equipment is as high as possible.
Printer & Toner
Beyond just a copier though, printer and toner is another expense you’ll absolutely have to account for in your business plan. Today, most printers can serve more than just the printing function; investing in a nice office printer will likely allow you and your employees to scan documents as well. A local printer/scanner combination can serve an entire office of employees, but depending on how many people will be working together, it might be a good idea to invest in more than one. Ideally, you’d like to buy one printer for every five employees you have, but you could stretch this to ten in the beginning if funds are tight.
Computer and Software
Depending on what business is, there are a range of computer options available for every possible need and want. At the most basic level, you’ll at least need a desktop computer to get you up and running for simple things like email, customer tracking, and basic finances. But what if you want or need more than that? You could invest in a laptop or tablets for traveling or portability between home and office. If your employees don’t have smartphones, you might have to invest in those as well depending on their job duties.
Additionally, you’ll want to tack on an amount for software as well. At the most basic level, you should expect to install Microsoft Office Suite, or an equivalent package from another software developer. Depending on your needs and what your business entails, software could even be one of the most expensive early purchases you make, so understand clearly what your requirements are and plan accordingly.
Now that you have a computer, the last thing you’d want is for all of your data to be lost. Investing a couple hundred dollars in a backup solution is the smart thing to do to prevent misery and chaos in the aftermath of a hard drive failure.
While a hard drive is the simpler, cheaper choice to keep you in business, spending more money on a Network Attached Storage (NAS) might be worth it depending on your circumstances. A NAS consists of one or more hard drives and allows you and your employees to access the drive via a shared storage through an Ethernet connection. If you aren’t a one-man-show and all of your employees are using computers daily, this is probably a better option than buying everyone individual hard drives.
This might be construed as a joke, but you’d be surprised. Caffeine has been known to single-handedly be responsible for some startups ultimately becoming successful instead of meeting an untimely, early doom. If you want to stay in the office longer, keep your employees from having to take frequent breaks to get get a cappuccino, and be more productive during long, slogging hours, it’s to your benefit to invest a few bucks into a machine that can up your productivity and keep you feeling good. Seriously, this stuff powered the industrial revolution; before coffee, a lot of people drank beer for breakfast! If it’s good enough to have shifted the world into overdrive three hundred years ago, it’s still good enough for you and your band of trusty startup rockstars.
Hopefully you have a basic understanding of the different equipment you’ll need to invest in immediately to get your start-up business off the ground. You’ll want to factor in the other necessities required by your particular business plan as well, but make sure you spend your money as efficiently as possible. And do your research – sometimes, it’s better to spend more money for a quality product if you’ll be using it more frequently, and sometimes you won’t be getting the value you need by spending a lot more. In fact, if you’re based in Las Vegas, seriously consider a service contract with our copy machine maintenance and repair company, Sunrise Office Systems. Ensuring that your machines are fully-operational 100% of the time also ensures that you can keep office processes running smoothly. By being diligent, doing your homework, and investing in the right equipment, your business will be that much more likely to succeed.