Whether you’re still looking for funding or already engaging with your first clients, whether you have employees or not; your new business needs technology.
From communication, to creating professional documents, to managing administration, there are many ways that technology makes it easier for an entrepreneur to start, market, and grow a successful business to rival more established organisations.
However, most start-ups do not have unlimited funds at the beginning. Technology is really important, but it may not be the only start-up cost requiring consideration.
These are the five first technology buys required by every new business.
Have you considered whether your smartphone or cellular package is suitable for business use? This is an important question – nowadays a new business can operate without fixed phone lines for a time if they are reachable telephonically on a mobile device.
Do your research and select the best device and cellular services package for your budget so you can take proper advantage of features like email, business-relevant apps and back-up internet access so you can work-on-the-go.
Tablets may be more portable and sometimes less expensive, but a laptop offers the performance and comfort you’ll need in the beginning when compiling lengthy documents like business plans or proposals or doing financial planning on spreadsheets. It is critical to protect your data from the minute you start using your new laptop so make sure your machine is backed up regularly, either to the cloud or to a fixed-site server.
Some businesses require specialised software (for example, video and photo editing or project management suites) but most can start with a basic office package and anti-virus software. These are frequently bundled with a laptop but not always, so consider special deals carefully. Don’t gamble on pirated software. It’s a business risk, and illegal.
4. Internet access
Working on the free, unsecured Wi-Fi network at your nearest coffee shop will only work for so long. Eventually, you’ll need reliable internet access at your business premises – be that your home or office – and on the road. There are affordable options suited to a start-up of any size, from basic 3G and Wi-Fi packages to super-fast ADSL and fibre connections.
5. Domain and email
Well before you’re ready for a website or other digital presence, invest in your domain. Yes, Gmail is free but don’t underestimate the impression that a professional email address – like firstname.lastname@example.org – makes. Properly hosted email offers additional benefits like storage space to archive correspondence, remote access to email and anti-spam protection.