New Business Series: How To Buy Electronics

Photo by Phil Roeder

Last time on the Hansbraun New Business Series, we covered the basics of how to market a new product or service. Hopefully this helped you increase your business and expand your customer base—maybe with that extra cash flow, now is the time to renew your office electronic equipment.

However, buying electronics is not always easy. With so many brands and types to choose from, how can business owners know which ones hold the best value for the cost? Here’s some advice to point you in the right direction.

First things first: set a budget

The first step towards any kind of major purchase for a business is, obviously, a budget. How much can you spend towards new equipment? Can you use credit or obtain a loan from a financial institution to help, especially if you need urgent upgrades to remain competitive in your field?

Next: research, research, research

Now that you have secured the money, it’s time to start researching the best options for your business. Here are some considerations when it comes to computer equipment.

Laptop or desktop?
Laptops are portable and practical, especially if you have employees who travel a lot for their jobs or work from home regularly. However, laptops have downsides: they cannot be upgraded easily and cost more to buy and repair.

Desktops are the default choice because they are cheap, easily modifiable for your specific needs and much easier to repair. If your business is mostly done in the office with little to no travel, desktops are the way to go.

Mac or PC?
Unless you’re in the design business, the default choice is usually PC because they are much cheaper to buy, modify and upgrade. Macs have some advantages but, ultimately, it is a matter of field, preference and budget.

What components do you need?

Most computer companies have a basic business model that works for the average office. However, there are some basic components and configurations recommended by computer experts:

  • At least 4 gigabytes of RAM
  • 500 gigabytes of storage (for individual computers—this does not take server or external hard drives into account)
  • DVD burner
  • Integrated graphics (no high-powered graphics card required for basic business tasks)

Don’t give in to buying expensive graphics cards or extra internal storage—you can purchase more internal storage or external storage as needed later.

Get the extended warranty

Although this is not advice that an individual computer buyer would receive, business owners should purchase the extended warranty to make sure that their equipment is protected in the long term. Like all insurance, this is a matter of risk tolerance, but the extra cost often makes the difference between getting your work done and losing all your business.

While you’re at it, you should consider a tech support package, especially if you don’t have an IT person in your company. These packages save you on hourly costs and ensure that you get priority response over those who haven’t purchased one.

As you can see, buying a business PC is different from buying a personal computer. The considerations on speed, graphics, memory and peripherals are much different, but they will enable you to get the productivity level you need without spending more than you have to.