What equipment do you need to get started?
The bare necessities.
You will probably need; a telephone, desk, computer, printer to get a business ‘in motion’ and for general, day-to-day, administration.
When getting quotes from telecommunication companies with regards to installing business telephone lines, remember to ask if a deposit is required for start-ups. If so, ask how much per line. BT has been known to quote an installation fee of about ￡80 per line – which sounds reasonable. They may, then, call you back a day after your ‘initial set-up call’ to tell you that they require an additional deposit of, perhaps, ￡300 per line before any work is done. So, if you are budgeting for 3 lines, be aware that you could find that your set-up costs increase by nearly a thousand pounds above your original estimates. This can be frustrating if you, now, require extra time to raise more funds and, in between times, have signed a lease for an office or ordered an expensive phone system based on a certain number of lines. If a deposit is potentially required, you will be more inclined to limit the number of lines required to start-up and add additional ones once you have a longer track record as a BT customer. Your organisation’s credit rating is used to determine whether or not BT require a deposit.
Don’t forget that you can use?virtual office services?that may reduce line-rental charges and staffing costs.
Independent advice on telecoms and the internet for businesses is available at www.telecomsadvice.org.uk
Bluebox Communications offer new and 2nd user telephone systems,
and much more.
It is worth mentioning that there are a number ‘online telecoms companies’ that offer call-forwarding, auto-answering and online-fax services free of charge.
A YAC Number ( www.yac.com ), for example, is a free service which gives you ‘One Number’ for all your incoming phone calls, faxes and voicemail.
This is handy :
? if you are running a small business from home and wish to separate your work from leisure.
? if you can’t justify buying a fax machine.
? if you are waiting to move into offices – and need some temporary office telecoms.
? if BT has run out of telephone lines in your neck-of-the-woods.
Computers and software for business.
A computer is essential for your business and making sure you have the right software for your tasks will make life easier.
It is vital you research the software available in order to make your everyday work easier.
Buying a Computer
These days, a low-spec PC will be more than capable of running all the general business-admin tasks that you may need to do.
The big retailers
The big retailers, like PC World, offer some great ‘PC Packages’ which are extremely hard to argue with. Buying from a local store also gives you some assurance that when problems occur – you don’t have to travel too far to moan on a face-to-face basis.
You will probably save money on the cost of the operating system – (it’s cheaper if you buy it?with?the PC) – and may get other useful equipment (like a printer or scanner) bundled into the deal.
Building your own
If you already have some experience, own some working PC parts or can’t find a package to suit, you may be able to build a better?PC Package?at less cost:
1.?Read-up?about the latest offerings on the PC market.
2. Buy all the bits online – at dabs.com or?ebuyer.com
3. Build it yourself – adding software to taste.
Remember – on top of the hardware, you will need to pay for an operating system (e.g software like Microsoft Windows) and some other software, like Microsoft Office, which will make your PC useful. So, if you are comparing prices of a ‘self-built PC’ to a retailers ‘PC Package Deal’ – make sure you compare like-with-like.
Getting the right office furniture is very important. Having good furniture benefits your health, working practices and can even reduce the cost of employing and retaining staff. Who likes to work in a horrible environment?
Have you ‘gone Swedish’ yet?
See our list of furniture suppliers or browse the office equipment free-ads.
Asset finance – hire purchase and leasing
See our?information on business finance?or our?list of finance brokers?for more information about asset finance.
Detailed information on using finance to acquire capital equipment for your business is available in the HMRC website:?Asset Finance: Hire Purchase and Leasing
Don’t go mad!
There are a million and one things that you could spend your money on while you are starting a business. Although there are certain essential pieces of equipment that you may need, there will be luxuries that you can get by without. Careful planning is important. As time goes by your needs may change radically and you could discover that an expensive purchase can soon become redundant.
As your business grows, remember to loosen up a little on the spending in correlation with the performance of the business. Thus, ensuring that your staff are rewarded with a better working environment and up-to-date equipment. There’s nothing more demoralising than having a stingy boss who would prefer to keep the cash rather than buy a bit of kit that would make a job a million times easier to do.