When you’re building a new business, there are some infrastructure basics that you just can’t do without, including a phone, a desk, a computer or notebook, and a printer.
They may well be grudge purchases, but they’re the tools you’re going to use every day for years to come, so it’s worth investing in the best that you can afford, from the get-go.
When you’re planning to purchase these cap-ex items, spend some time investigating the long term operational costs as well as the short term purchase price, because something that is cheap now, may prove expensive to run in the future.
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Invest in a modern and reliable laptop or desktop computer
The purchase of any tech hardware has the potential to put you out of pocket before you’ve even sent your first email, but a good computer is imperative to the daily functioning of most businesses.
Buy the best possible computer or notebook that you can afford, and make sure that it comes bundled with all the software that you will need.
Buying a cheaper unit now with the view that you’ll make do with slower processing power, abbreviated editions of software and limited storage space is false economy.
It won’t be long before you’ll have to buy (and carry around) external hard drives – that’s if you haven’t thrown the computer against the wall because it’s so slow, or ruined your friendships with your techie friends because they’re tired of helping you out at odd hours.
Consider the long-term costs when buying a printer
However much the media talks of moving towards a paperless office, we still need to print proposals, invoices, contracts and letters.
When you’re looking to buy a printer, look beyond the initial cost and find out how much inks will cost you over the life of the printer.
Do a quick calculation for each of the devices you’re considering: Add the cost of the printer and five years’ worth of ink. Make your purchase decision on the long-term cost, rather than the knee-jerk reaction to one on sale.
When you are sourcing your office printer, find out how easy it is to operate. Ask questions as to how simple it is to replace inks, and how frequently they will need replacing.
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As a small business, you’re unlikely to have an IT technician around to help you with computer challenges and printer problems, so choose the solution that’s easiest to operate and maintain.
As a practical example to the above, Intercal, a privately owned SME that services a niche market by calibrating high-accuracy measuring equipment, saved their business over R50 000 in 18-months by investing in innovative printing technology. Read the case study here.