7 Essential Technologies for a Home Business
Posted by Guest Author on December 26, 2013 in Business Technology [ 0 Comments ]
Working out of your own home may seem ideal, but those who pull it off know the abundance of challenges associated with a home business. You’re not offered a furnished desk, secretaries, and a list of extensions for everyone you’ll ever need to contact. You don’t have the IT guys around the corner when the “Blue Screen of Death” appears. And you don’t regularly run into your coworkers or clients in the office corridors.
Despite the challenges associated with working at home, today’s technology makes it possible for home business owners to be as successful and have as many luxuries as they would have in a separate office. Here are seven essential technologies that will help make your home office a success.
1. A Reliable Computer
Whether you opt for a desktop, laptop, or both, a reliable computer is the most critical technology to invest in. First you must deal with the question of whether you should use a Mac or a PC. The answer depends on the nature of your business, the programs you’ll be using, and the computers used by the people with whom you frequently interact. Screen size is another key consideration; a larger screen allows you to view multiple windows with ease. Even if you’re on the go a lot and work primarily from a laptop, you will still benefit having a large screen to hook into when you’re home at your desk.
2. An All-in-One Printer
An all-in-one printer, fax machine, scanner, and copier will save your life. Read some reviews and invest in one wisely. Be sure you always have extra ink or toner cartridges on hand, because you’re almost guaranteed to run out when you need it most.
3. A Home Services Package with Internet and Phone
Having reliable high-speed internet is essential with a home business. Through your internet you’ll probably be video conferencing, downloading and uploading large files, and attending or directing webinars. Your phone will allow you to stay connected with employees and clients, sometimes conducting important conference calls. The available home services depend on where you live, but options include AT&T U-verse Bundles, Verizon Services and Plans, and CenturyLink Bundled Services. Purchasing multiple home services from the same provider will help cut costs and reduce the number of bills you deal with.
4. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) Software
VoIP is the fancy way for referencing programs that allow you to talk to people via internet. Skype and Google Talk (Google Hangouts) are two of the most well-known VoIPs, but there are many other options. If you plan to have web-based meetings, look into programs like TeamViewer, GoToMeeting, and Join Me. Some of these programs cost money, but they may function in just the way you need.
5. Group Communications Technology
Video conferencing is not always the best way to communicate, so fortunately there are many other ways for groups to correspond effectively. Try out some project management tools like Asana or Trello. These tools provide a framework for you to set goals and milestones, share ideas, and track progress. You might also look into group chatting programs like HipChat, which can function similar to a group conference call, but is often more convenient for everyone involved.
6. Access to Cloud Storage
As a business owner, you have some high-stakes files, and it’s critical that they are not lost or corrupted. With access to cloud storage, you can automatically synchronize your files so they are always backed up, no matter what happens to your hard drive. Cloud storage can also be extremely useful if you and other employees need regular access to the same files. There are many forms of Cloud storage; most have a monthly fee, but some, like Dropbox, are free for smaller amounts of data.
7. Data Security
We can’t stress this one enough. Even if you’re not dealing with highly confidential information, it’s crucial that you protect your business files from unauthorized users. You may need to invest in some Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) software to help you monitor your files regularly.
Investing in these seven items will make a world of difference for your home business. Supplement the technology with a functional, important-looking desk and a comfy chair in a well-lit room, and you’ll never want to commute to work again.
(Image: via freedigitalphotos.net)