‘Entrepreneur’ has become a buzzword. There seem to be more and more stories popping up about self-made millionaires and small businesses making it BIG in what appear to be overnight successes. The rise of mobile tech and super fast Internet access means owning your own small business is easier than ever before. In short, the business of small business is booming!
With any significant trend, come the people wanting to make a quick buck from it, which means you’ll find countless products claiming to make your business bigger, better, and more efficient. What sort of products am I talking about? Where do I even start!? There are wheelers and dealers out there pushing everything from ‘smart’ furniture to intuitive apps and software.
You don’t need every bell and whistle to create a successful small business! First things first: Before piling up your shopping cart with new gadgets, ask yourself these three questions.
- What do I need?
Before you start shopping around for office essentials, think about what it is that your business needs right now. It is tempting to buy every new, shiny product you see. But take time to ask yourself: is this a product that will solve a current problem that my business has? If not, skip it. Identify problem areas or things that need improving and choose the best solution.
- Can I get this for free?
Don’t buy into the big-name hype and spend a lot of money on the newest, most advanced software. Do you really need the new MS Office suite? There are plenty of options available that are low-cost or free. Consider using Google applications like Google Hangouts, Google Docs and Google Sheets if your business only needs the basics. Some of the free online tools might not have all the bells and whistles, but simple can be just as effective in the beginning.
- What are other people doing?
One of the most effective ways to know what works is to see what other businesses are doing successfully. Want to know the best accounting software to use? Ask around, get references, and see what works. Innovation is great, but using tried and tested methods can help you prevent a lot of wasted time and money.
So how do you sort through the masses of resources that are available? How do you know which office essentials your business needs and which ones you can live without?
Ta-daaaa! Here at Virtual Assistants, we know a thing or two about efficiency and productivity. So, we have done all the research for you, so you can invest your money where it counts.
1: A Workstation
This one is obvious. You need a space to do your work and the materials to do it. You will need a computer or laptop for emails, social media, and invoice creation. Basically, you need a reliable portal that connects you to the online world!
2: A Business Phone Line
People need to be able to get in touch with you. You can save money by skipping the old-school landline and going straight for a VoIP. They have face call and conference capabilities and can be set up for extensions, directories, call transfers and queuing. Depending on your business, you might also need to invest in a cell phone so that people can reach you wherever you are.
As much as we try to go paperless, there are still some things that need to be printed. Or there are physical documents that need to become electronic files. But forget getting a giant ogre of a machine that takes up valuable office space. These days you can pick up a small combo machine that does everything.
4: Business Cards
People may think business cards are old fashioned, but they still serve a great purpose. They are just as important for networking and promotions as they were 50 years ago. Design something modern and professional then take them everywhere you go!
5: Cloud Accounting Software
Gone are the days of manual cashbooks and receipt books. Instead, keep all your invoices, receipts and financial data backed up and easy to access from anywhere with a data or Wi-Fi connection.
6: Basic Office Software
Regardless of your industry, every business will need access to email, word processing and spreadsheets. Unless you have a specific niche business, think twice about investing in design or graphics software. There are plenty of free online tools for creating great graphics, such as Canva and Snappa.
Your office doesn’t need to be a utilitarian wasteland! Don’t forget to invest in the comfort of yourself and your team and provide some fun extras. A happy, healthy employee who is spoiled once in a while is more efficient and productive. Invest in ergonomic furniture, funky stationery, a quality coffee machine, noise-reducing headphones, or anything else in your budget that helps keep you and your employees happy and motivated.
If you need help getting set up with any of these office essentials, then get in touch with us here at Virtual Assistants. We are Xero Certified experts, Gsuite gurus, Canva converts, and have a talented pool of VAs that are experts in almost every administration field you can think of!