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Technical matters

Is it a struggle to know how to set up your office? Here a few problems you might come up against:
  • Trying to find the best deal for your landline and mobile can be difficult with so many companies to check out and compare.
  • Exactly what requirements do you need in a computer that will best serve the needs of the work and data at your business?
  • Software will also be required. How do you choose which packages are best?
  • Businesses are very web savvy these days but how will the internet , or lack of it, affect your business? How do you access it?
Support equipment doesn't come cheap so much time is needed to research and discover the best option for your business. Seek advice if you feel out of your depth. Along with cost you'll need to consider the functionality of the equipment. It's no point buying something cheaper if you have to buy another two devices to perform other tasks a more expensive option would have included. Consider:
  • How can technology help the business activity you will have?
  • What support and facilities do you really need?
  • Is there anyone you know who can help with your technology questions. Salesmen can sometimes try and do the hard sell on the biggest and most expensive even if it far exceeds your needs.
Items you know you will need in most cases:
  • Telephones are a must; landline, mobile, fax, modem, ISDN, ADSL. (some can combine with computer hardware e.g. printers can come phone and fax equipped)
  • Computer and accessories: Hardware, software, networks.
  • Other office equipment: copier, printer, fax, shredder (again printers can be for copies, scans and faxes)
These are out top tips to consider when looking for service and supplier needs:

  • Don't buy the latest option if it has components you don't need and won't need in the foreseeable future. Save your money for more need specific items.
  • Beware of pushy salesmen, especially in the area of computing. If you have anyone who knows anything about computer jargon take them along. Ask that salesmen explain in normal terms. Remember they will sell you the most expensive item they can.
  • Technology moves so fast it can often be obsolete before you get it home. Buy sensible with the capacity for easy upgrades, or can be disposed of economically and in an environmentally friendly manner. This way you pay for basics now and upgrade when the business needs it and cash flow allows it.
  • Telecoms: New telephone companies offer cheaper options but watch the contracts don't tie you up too long. Try a telecoms broker to find the best, hassle free deal for you.
  • ISDN: This provides the functionality to have more than one phone off your line. Similar to basic costs of an equivalent number of analogue lines, but more functional.
  • Answering machines tend to alienate customers. They turn many off, and some simply will not speak into one. A better alternative is a professional telephone answering service or employing a receptionist.
  • When looking at fax options consider if the ones built into your PC or printer are always on. Some aren't and that can be detrimental. It may be more economical to buy a separate fax machine.
  • Beware of too much functionality. By only what you need and don't get talked into unnecessary extra's.
  • Salesmen are there to sell. They aren't your best friend they just want to sell you something. Make them explain terms clearly. Get the fact sheet on the products you are considering and take them away to study them. Research the things you aren't familiar with to make an informed decision. Talk to others and check out product reviews
  • Buy items in view to upgrade if this better suits your budget or needs now.
  • Internet Service providers are everywhere. 'Confusion marketing' is constant. The best way is to select a simple service that provides for you needs. Get a company with a good record and longstanding service. Also great technical support can be a blessing. Again, go for basics and upgrade when you need to.
  • Website Hosting has many options as well. Use a separate hosting service and check the performance statistics. This is your shop front to the world of internet users and if they can't access it will reflect badly on you, not the hosting company you use.
  • Website design is another area of great importance. The last thing you need is a site that looks or reads in an unprofessional manner. It shouldn't take ages to load either, Remember some users still have slow connection speeds. Money and time are well spent to get this right. But do check around as costings can be very varied. before you proceed with anyone, check their credentials, and ask for a portfolio of sites they have worked on. Web copy is a lot more than just writing as well. A professional web copywriter can boost your sales.
Adapted from an article supplied by Telecoms Advice
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