No matter what industry you work in, you’ll need to invest in some high-quality equipment and hardware products as part of your startup plans.
Certain types of hardware can streamline many of your daily business management and administrative tasks and help you stay organized as you get your business going. Knowing what types of tools and equipment to invest will help you save money and maximize your startup budget.
Here are five hardware products you need when starting your business.
1. A Desktop or Laptop Computer
Whether you’re using custom desktop computers, easy to move laptops, to multi-user workstations, make sure you’re working with a reputable company for your computing needs. Weigh whether you want a desktop or laptop computer. You’ll need products that will last for several years and hardware that will require minimal upkeep or maintenance. Luckily, there are plenty of quality computer and great laptop options available on the market.
2. External Hard Drive
Some computers in your network may need an external hard drive to store certain types of information and help you stay organized. An external hard drive can be a wise investment for startup businesses that don’t want to store information in the Cloud or on their computers’ hard drives.
External hard drives can protect valuable and sensitive business data in the event of an accident, such as a fire. You can use these as back-up devices for certain types of data and even invest in a system with built-in locks and extra layers of security to prevent theft.
3. Network Server Solution
If your business will need any type of network to support your database, email applications, and other files, you’ll need to set up a network server. You can choose from several server solutions based on the amount of storage you need, security requirements, and backup options. Work with a specialist to ensure you are buying the right package based on current and future needs.
4. Wireless Router
Keep your office or workspace connected to the Internet wirelessly with a wireless router. A strong wireless connection can ensure high-speed connectivity to all linked computers and mobile devices. If you have a small space, keep in mind that working wirelessly will reduce the need for extra cables running in and around your office.
5. A Quality Printer
Whether you plan to print out all of your marketing materials or just need to handle basic jobs, invest in high-quality printers for fast printing times and energy savings. Minimize printing costs by encouraging your employees to work as a paperless office whenever possible. You will still need a good printer for contracts, legal documents, and other materials. Some printers have multiple functions including scanning, photocopying, and faxing.
IT experts weigh in
There are three main features all business owners must have: decent RAM (minimum 16GB), a fast processor (minimum i7), and consistent access to high-speed internet. If you can ensure the above three things, the computer will be the least of your worries while running your business. Go with the operating system you are most comfortable with and fits your business needs. If you are really unsure, buy a PC and load OSX on it or buy a Mac and load Windows on it—it’s as simple as a few clicks.
For small businesses, I recommend Windows 10 Pro as an operating system. Microsoft dominates the market not only with its operating system but also with its Microsoft Office 365 email system and its Microsoft Office Suite. So it makes sense to invest in the most compatible systems. Also, using the most recent version means you will be getting the most recent security updates and support. Before buying any computers or related equipment, always discuss new purchases with your IT team. Fight the urge to run out to a big-box store and pick up something inexpensive off the shelf. Those are not business-class computers and will cost you more in the long term with downtime and required upgrades than if you had let your IT team handle the purchase and setup. Remember to look at both front-end and back-end costs when determining the ROI on the purchase.
Stay with the top three original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)—Dell, HP, and Lenovo—and be sure to purchase business-grade equipment with a three-year warranty instead of consumer-grade equipment with a one-year warranty. Equipment is made solidly enough these days that it’s highly unlikely that something will go wrong in the first year. If anything goes wrong, it will be further down the line, so the extended warranty is worth the investment. Also, the research and development investments in the top three OEMs keep them ahead of the pack when it comes to integration and support.
For any business computer, make sure the CPU is i5 or higher with 8 GB of RAM or greater. And you must have a solid state or Nvme drive.
If you’re going to a store to buy a computer, you need to look at RAM, also called memory. Don’t get anything less than 8 GB built in. CPUs are generally all pretty fast these days, so RAM is the way retail stores keep the prices low. But don’t go to a retail store for a computer. Those computers are designed for consumer usage patterns. They tend to be made with lower-quality components, so even if the specs are good, it likely won’t last as long. Go to a business PC dealer and buy from them or directly to the manufacturer. As far as operating systems go, go with Windows 10 Professional. While Apple has made a lot of headway in the business market, their products are not designed for a business environment.
Investing in the right hardware products for your startup business will help you stay organized, boost productivity, and minimize extra costs associated with completing basic tasks. Because every business has unique needs, consider talking to a computer specialist and data security professionals for recommendations on the types of equipment that will be a good match for your business.
Take the time to find high-quality products and solutions that will grow with your business so you don’t have to spend more money to replace an outdated system or pay extensive fees for upgrades and maintenance costs.