Most new businesses require some form of information technology (IT). This could be as simple as a single computer in order to administrate simple duties for the company, or a more complex system of phone networks and computers with myriad software programmes to help with your specific requirements.
Choosing IT services for your start-up business is something you should put a lot of thought into as it is a budgetary question that could even jeopardise the strength of your business viability and financial stability if you make the wrong choice.
What are Your Business Needs?
For some start-up businesses it might just be you and a home computer or laptop. There might not be any need for anything grander than that at this stage in your development. There’s nothing wrong with that – you can purchase accordingly.
From an administrative function alone IT hardware and software is used for businesses to write letters, create invoices, for book-keeping purposes, stock control and staff records. You may also produce your own external marketing information at this stage of your business, in the form of physical leaflets and online marketing.
Consider whether a portable laptop is suitable for you, or whether you need a number of desktop computers for you and your staff.
When considering your IT budget you’ve already realised what your needs are. The next step is to seriously think about what standard of IT hardware you really need. The cheapest deals might suit your wallet but won’t be of the best quality. At the other end of the scale, brand new computers and related accessories will most probably be too much of a stretch at the start of a business.
Mid-range packages are the way to go. Ensure that you are receiving everything you need, with basic software for your office requirements as well as keyboard, mouse and everything else you’d expect with your home desktop computer.
Research your local area; there are always small stores with second hand computers or packages to suit a smaller business. Online browsing is always a good place to look for good deals to financially suit you. Just be careful you know what you’re purchasing is legitimate.
You can offset the money you spend on IT hardware and software against your tax bill. In an age where more and more people are going it alone to either freelance or start a new business, and with IT services and hardware becoming more readily affordable and available, this is a great advantage at a time when budgets are always going to be tight.
Your data is always extremely important. At the early stages of a business however, one mistake, or one malfunction of your hardware, and you could be left losing all of the information that you have put together for business plans, employee records and supplier details.
Keeping your data secure shouldn’t be that difficult once you get into a routine of backing it up. There are a couple of ways you can do this. You can secure ‘cloud’ storage online. These services can be purchased quite easily and allow you to upload and store a certain amount of data. Payment usually works on an annual basis for certain levels of data.
The other option is to back-up your data manually through the purchasing of an external storage device. You can pick up devices which hold large amounts of data for as little as £75-£150 via online retailers. Always ensure you read as many reviews as possible before purchasing and remember to back up your data in more than one place, just to be on the safe side.
Once you have purchased your IT hardware and software you will be in the perfect position to move forward with the basics to keep your business ticking over on an administrative level.
You can also join our Google+ Community “Startup in Britain” which is packed with help, resources and articles to get you started. Use it to get tips, advice and start building your network!