The ideal home based business will be streamlined to produce the maximum results. The more efficient the tools, the more efficiently work will be handled, and consequently, the better the output and profits. A successful home office needs the best technology to compete with the corporate giants. Unfortunately, the dilemma most entrepreneurs face is wondering how to be competitive with a low budget. Fortunately, this problem is more apparent than real because as technology accelerates, the cost of useful, sometimes essential, office hardware falls.
While there appears to be no end to the amount of technology you can cram into your home office, a highly-functional office will have an excellent PDA, computer, telephone, printer, fax machine, and copy machine. It will also be ergonomically friendly with a stand for the laptop and headsets.
When running your home office, a laptop allows you more flexibility and room than a desktop. The Mac Book Pro, starting at 13 inches at $1199 and going up to 17 inches at $2299, is the best type of laptop.
While there are, of course, other laptops at a cheaper price, the Mac Book Pro has many features that are a cut above the competition. Other top alternatives include the Asus EeePC 900, Asus U2E, Sony Vaoi TZ31MN, MacBook, and MacBook Air.
The MacBooks have an excellent operating system; OS X is far superior to any other operating system. It also has numerous other excellent features including a good sized hard drive, a multi-touch trackpad, quick processing speed, high memory capacity, a high-performance graphics card, long battery life, and excellent wireless connectivity.
Blackberry Bold has many positive reviews in gadget review websites, like Gizmodo and Engadget for example, and will work brilliantly in a home office thanks its has long battery life. This multi-app device makes it easy to look up contacts and access your email. The cost is about an average of $100, depending on various features. While the iPhone has many excellent features, it needs a longer battery life to be a reliable home office device. Other alternatives are HTC Touch Cruise and, of course, the iPhone.
Printing, Faxing, Scanning, and Copying
Most productive home businesses need much more than a simple printer; they also need to fax, scan, and copy. While it is possible to get a specific piece of equipment for each of these functions, similar to those available in a regular office, a home office tends to have restricted space. For this reason, it is best to get a multi-functional printer. Lexmark's multi-functional printer is only $80. The Lexmark X75 PrinTrio 14J0000 is compact yet can print, scan, and copy.
In the event that portability is an important factor in a business, then it is possible to get smaller devices that can print, fax, copy, and scan separately.
Here are some suggestions:
- For printing, consider the compact HP's DeskJet 450cbi, which costs about $350.
- For scanning, consider a portable scanner from Ambir technologies.
- For faxing, consider EFax, an online account will run you $13 a month, and receives faxes via email. You can also get a small, stand alone fax machine that's less than a $100.
By not considering ergonomics, you are at risk for repetitive strain injury. Working for long hours in a confined space and tapping on a keyboard and staring at a monitor can create tension in eyes, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, and fingers, as well as the muscles of the back, in particularly, the lower back muscles.
If using a laptop, set it up as you would a desktop. The Lapvantage Deluxe Dome, costing $80, created by Plasticsmith, Inc, is a stand that allows users to use an external keyboard with the laptop.
If your work involves calling clients all day, it is wise to invest in a headset . These can even come with an adapter for use with your cell phone. Prices vary from $20 on up. Although most people are used to the corded models, wireless connectivity is also available, which is an ideal choice for people who like to pace while talking on the phone.