When you’re launching a business, there are always hundreds of tasks to think about, from exactly what kinds of products or services you’re going to sell, who you’re going to sell them to, who you’re going to go into business with, to what kind of price you’ll charge — and more.
When it comes to the basics, all startups also need to get access to certain supplies required to run a business effectively. While you don’t need to outlay hundreds of thousands of dollars to get ready, there are some things you will need to procure.
Read on for some key items to sort out for your new venture before you’re open for business.
Of course, office equipment is high on the list to source first. Regardless of whether you’ll be working from home or in a set office space, you’ll need things such as ergonomically correct, adjustable chairs, desks, a filing cabinet and/or bookcase and some desk lamps to help provide enough illumination on gloomy days or if working at night.
You’ll obviously also require computers, either desktops or laptops depending on preferences. Add in a multi function printer that can handle not just printing but also copying and scanning. Depending on how big your team will be, you may need to lease a large-scale machine to keep up with demand. This is typically much more affordable than buying a commercial one outright, especially since they need to be updated every few years.
A quality modem is also essential for reliable internet access and wireless connections between devices. You’ll no doubt need some helpful software to get started too, such as Office 360, Outlook or Gmail or some other email program, security software to protect your devices, project-management and time-tracking software and possibly some marketing-related programs such as photo-editing tools or video-creation software.
You may need to get one or more cellphones specifically for business usage, too. Plus, organizations typically require a large whiteboard for brainstorming and project planning and also a paper shredder, powerboard(s) and quality stationery supplies.
Something else to look into is a business phone system. You may be happy to stick with cellphones, but if you have numerous employees, and will need to take, make and field many calls, it usually pays to get a dedicated landline phone system. These allow you to set up workers with individual extensions and voicemail and to redirect calls, arrange conference calls, time and record calls, etc. Alternatively, you could use a remote phone management system and have an operator answer business calls for you and take messages or forward callers to the appropriate mailboxes.
Most businesses require shipping supplies, but wholesalers, online stores and product manufacturers especially go through them. Purchase supplies such as packing boxes, postage scales, mailing labels, scissors, packing tape and soluble foam peanuts or bubble wrap.
Since you’ll obviously need customers to finalize transactions, so you have cashflow coming into your business, another vital element to get sorted ASAP is the payments side of things. You need to set up a way for clients to pay you. Remember: While once it was standard to accept cash payments and bank deposits, today consumers expect a variety of options when they go to pay.
It’s wise to research credit card terminals, so you can allow people to pay by debit or credit cards, whether online or in person. Make sure you choose a quality payment processor, though. You need one that is reliable, charges affordable and transparent fees and has a focus on security.
In addition, when choosing a merchant services provider, look for a company that provides excellent support, so if the system goes down at any point, you can get help to rectify the situation quickly and won’t have to worry about losing sales.
Business forms are another essential part of opening a new venture. There are various types you may need, depending on your venture’s set-up. For example, you’ll probably need employee and supplier agreement templates to work from, non-disclosure forms, a business plan and partnership or shareholder agreements. You will also require bank accounts to be set up and the business name to be established, along with related paperwork.
Other things to consider include estimating and invoice forms, documents relating to trademarks or other intellectual property and checklists and policies and procedures. You’ll have to organize paperwork relating to finance and accounting to help you comply with regulations, complete your taxes, manage a budget and keep records, too (e.g. cashflow projections, costings, accounts payable and receivable, employment forms).