When you are setting up a new business, computers are essential. Gone are the days of typewriters and punch cards because the internet is here and we need office computers to conduct our business.
How do you know what type of computer set up to use? Yes, a laptop is practical so you can go from office to home and back with all your data and contacts. But when you are setting up an office with multiple employees, working on various projects in different departments, you need an integrated system.
In your business, you have to communicate with staff, vendors, and customers, so the right technology is vital. Here is a checklist that highlights your six most important small business computer needs:
1. Computer Systems
What do you need your computer system to do? This is the first question you need to ask yourself about your small business computer needs. Depending on the type of business you conduct, you will need a specific computer set up to maximize efficiency and productivity. Everything from screen size to resolution to hard drive space has to be taken into account.
You may also need networking ability and a wireless setup for communication. Desktops are better for in-house staff while laptops work well for salespeople. Analyze what your needs are today and in the next 2-5 years. Have an expert guide you in your purchasing of computer equipment so you cover all your bases.
2. Processing Speed
You can buy the cheapest computer setup and get up and running but that may not meet your needs. Speed is important when it comes to computers because time is money. You should think ahead as to the demands your computers and software applications will require now and down the road.
Buy the fastest processor you can afford. This is the hardest to upgrade so having a system that exceeds your current needs will pay off in the future. Also as you add staff, you will need the extra computing power.
3. Computer Storage
Depending on your operation, your storage demands will vary. One thing is for sure though; you will need storage and the amount you need will grow. Whether you are a graphic design company or provide payroll and accounting, you need safe and secure data storage solutions right away.
Consider using an outside company that can provide secure, off-site storage. Having the protection of backup data is crucial to the security of your information especially if there is data loss at your office.
4. IT Support
All businesses require IT support. Even in small operations, the IT department is there to take care of technical issues when they arise. From simple tasks like software installations to hardware upgrades, you need qualified staff with the training to keep your system running smoothly.
You should consider using a managed IT support service. It’s efficient and cost-effective to use a professional company that is fully trained and up to date with the latest software, compliance regulations and is available for service and support 24/7. They can also provide backup solutions and cybersecurity.
5. Operating System
Are you a PC or Mac user? For the individual, it’s personal preference and for simple computing tasks, they both do pretty much the same job. When you are running a business, the type of work you require your employees to do may dictate the best system to implement.
PCs are the business standard and most of your employees will be familiar with this type of operating system. There are many different companies that make PC computers and the designs vary. If your company is more into design and graphics, a MAC is the way to go. It does carry some status but it also comes with a high price tag. Pick the operating system that best supports your company’s function because the better the ease of use, the more productive your staff will be.
6. Computer Software
This is a very important piece of your firm’s puzzle and one that every employee will use. The right software suite can provide all the tools necessary for you to conduct your business from design to management to billing and it needs to be easy to use.
Consider hiring a professional IT company to set you up with the right software for your operation. This will take the burden off of you so you are free to do what you do best for the operation. Upgrading existing software or a total changeover to new platforms is challenging so get the help that you need.
Purchasing a computer system for your small business is not for the faint of heart. With so many options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Take the time to educate yourself and understand your operation to see what your immediate and future needs are and get some professional help with setup and ongoing support.
We live in the internet age and today’s business is conducted through emails, instant messaging, and online and offline computer platforms. Examine your small business computer needs and purchase what you require to drive your success into the future.