Are you one of the 31.7 million people in the USA who own and run a small business or are planning to start one? If so, there are a few things you need to help ensure your business thrives.
It’s difficult to anticipate everything you’ll need right at the outset, but a few business essentials are bound to get you on the right track.
You probably won’t need all these items at once, so highlight the ones you deem imperative and make a note of the rest for later.
There are a few things we all need to get the job done. Here’s your list.
1. Tech Equipment
Few businesses can operate without the necessary tech items to cope in a modern fast-paced world.
You can rest assured your competitors place a high priority on the latest business computers and the like. So, if you want to keep up, this is where you should spend most of your money.
These are the things you should put on your shopping list first:
A Business Laptop
Laptops are preferable to desktop computers for small businesses due to their portable nature. The average laptop’s got more than enough capabilities to service all your business needs but you do get some specialized laptops for business.
These machines have refinements that suit small business owners like enhanced portability and security.
A Computer Screen
Although your work laptop will have its own screen, things can get uncomfortable hunched over your keyboard all day. For maximum comfort, it’s best to invest in an external screen and even a keyboard too.
You can get wireless versions but if there are wires and USB connectors involved, it’s best to get a USB hub to keep your desk tidy and organized.
Many businesses thrive using only a basic wordprocessing program or open-source software. However, if you’re in a specialized field like architecture, you’re likely to need a host of specific software to do your job.
Nowadays, many software brands offer subscription services on their programs, which can be an affordable way to start. A subscription also allows you to cancel if you find the program isn’t exactly what you need.
A Printer and Scanner
You won’t realize how much you need a printer unless you don’t have one. It’s a vital piece of equipment for every office nowadays.
It’s annoying and time-consuming having to travel to the print store every time you need a hard copy of something. If you get there and discover a formatting error, you’ll have to go all the way back to your office and start the process all over again.
Nowadays you get affordable multi-purpose machines with printing, scanning, and even faxing capabilities.
2. Internet Connection
High-speed internet’s vital for every industry nowadays. A dial-up modem just won’t do.
Even if you don’t do much of your work online, you’ll need it to communicate with others in the business world via this pervasive tool.
It’s also a useful tool for research, banking, and marketing.
You can run your internet from a router and service provider, or use your phone if your needs aren’t excessive.
If you want to connect more than one computer to your internet, you’ll need a network router. You can get wireless versions to use if your computers are in different rooms.
3. Office Furniture
You can only run your business from the couch or kitchen table for so long. Sooner or later, you’ll need a dedicated office space where you can work uninterrupted and take calls without fear of loud background noise.
Whether you opt for an off-site office or dedicate a room in your house to work-related tasks, you need appropriate office furniture to make the most of it.
A desk is the obvious starting point. Some people prefer a standing desk, but you might find a conventional desk and chair suit you best. A spacious desk always looks tidier and gives you room to breathe while an ergonomic office chair’s essential for long days at work.
Adequate lighting’s an important part of your office furnishings too. Make sure you have enough light in your office so that you can see clearly without straining your eyes.
Natural light’s great for daytime work, but if you intend to burn the midnight oil, you need effective task lighting too.
4. Old School Business Essentials
No matter how high tech your office is, you’re going to need a pen and notepad at some stage. A diary is also nice to have.
Of course, you can always make notes using your phone or laptop but there’s something deeply satisfying about jotting down notes using a pen and notepad.
Some of the other things you might need include paper clips, scissors, a punch, and tape. At the very least you might need some of these items to do your filing.
5. Adequate Storage
Apart from a desk and chair, you also need adequate storage. Where else are you going to keep all your office stationery, files, folders, and spare items, like printer cartridges?
A messy disorganized office can be distracting and hamper your productivity. Plenty of storage is one way to keep things neat and tidy.
A desk organizer also comes in handy for keeping a few essentials close at hand.
6. Filing System
Even if you intend to run a paperless office, that doesn’t mean you’ll never come across paperwork you need to file. You don’t need walls of filing cabinets, but you should at least dedicate one area of your office space to your filing.
Some desks come with a small in-built filing cabinet, or you could opt for a full-size cabinet or even a single shelf.
7. Back-Up Items
An external hard drive is essential for backup up important files in case of a computer failure or security breach. Don’t wait until you have an incident to invest in one of these important devices.
Cloud backup works well but it’s only accessible from an internet-enabled computer, so invest in a physical hard drive just in case.
A backup power source is another important consideration, especially if you live in an area that’s prone to inclement weather and the power outages that go along with it.
An uninterrupted power supply (UPS) can buy you enough time to save your work and shut down your desktop computer safely if the power goes out.
On the other end of the scale, a surge protector’s vital to protect your hardware from power surges. Put this item on your must-have list of work essentials.
8. Paper Shredder
A paper shredder’s not something many businesses need. However, if you deal with a lot of confidential information or sensitive business documents.
It can form an important part of client confidentiality when you need to get rid of documents. For all other paperwork, consider getting a recycling bin.
If you collect cash at your office, it’s a good idea to invest in a small safe that you can conceal in a desk drawer.
9. Personal Items
One of the best benefits of working for yourself is that you make the rules. So, you don’t need to deal with red-tape that insists on conformity in office spaces.
If art makes you happy, you can fill your walls with colorful artwork. You can also keep photographs of treasured moments on your desk and adorn your office with gaily-colored container plants.
Other items that make the daily grind more bearable include:
- A cozy sweater in case the weather changes its mind
- A lumbar support or memory foam cushion
- A personal grooming kit for freshening up
- Some snacks
- A mousepad with a gel rest pad
- A travel mug to keep drinks warm or cold
If preferred, you can set up a refreshment station in your office where you keep a coffee machine and a small fridge stocked with cool drinks or water.
These simple items can really make long days at your desk more bearable and help you avoid extra trips to the kitchen.
Are You Good to Go?
Once you’ve stocked your office with all the business essentials, nothing can hold you back from achieving your aims. You’ll find it much easier to stay motivated and inspired with the necessary tools at your fingertips.
You’re bound to discover a few more specific things you need to fine-tune your work along the way, but you’re off to a good start if you follow this checklist.