Getting some cheap furniture for your home business is always a win, here are some cheap ie free tips for setting up the furniture in your home business.
1. Build your own desk. Check out your local home improvement store for clearance counter tops then find some cheap table legs, cut out some posts, or use filing cabinets as the base.
2. Use VOIP for an office phone. Vonage, Magic Jack, or Google voice all provide free to low cost monthly phone service with free voice mail. You can also forward those numbers to a cell phone when your out and about. No reason to run a new phone line to your home office when you already have internet.
3. Use e-fax instead of a fax machine. Paper, toner, and printers add up. Instead of paying for these physical goods, go electronic with your faxes and just view them online.
4. Use a consumer level PC for your office computer. Unless your going to be doing high end graphics work, or running some kind of high end CAD software (and you probably already know what kind of computer you need) then don’t waste your money on a cutting edge PC that is good enough for your teenager to game on. If your running QB, checking email, and updating a website, then your $500 consumer grade PC will be just fine.
5. Back up to the cloud instead of a hardware solution. Automated backups are a must, hardware solutions that require human interaction either a) don’t get done b) are very expensive and there is still a chance that the hardware can fail. Cloud backups are cheap, they run behind the scenes and they allow you to access your information from anywhere. Just make sure you are careful on what directories your backing up. You DO want your business database, you don’t need to back up images from your vacation.
6. Buy used furniture. While a $700 Herman Miller chair is nice, is it really necessary if your only in your office for an hour or two? If so take a look at local used furniture stores, ask your friends on facebook, or visit a thrift store. Often times you can find a nice two hour task chair for little to no money.
7. Decorate with your own photos. Nobody will spend time judging the photos or paintings on the wall. They are back ground and they should make the room look nice but you don’t need to buy some kind of new age modern art to help generate serenity. Just frame up some nice photos you took with your digital camera, or frame some art done by your toddler. When in a nice frame nobody knows if it was done by a five year old finger painting or a European post modern artist. It’s just background art, don’t think about it so much.
8. Do you really need a conference room table? Are you planning on having big board meetings with all of your clients? Would your desk work fine? Would it be better to meet at their location or at a local office space rental location instead? Conference room tables are one of the big dust collectors, don’t buy it unless you need it.
9. Outsource – Value your time. If you spend most of your time doing busy work or running errands instead of focusing on the tasks that only you can do, then consider getting a low wage helper. With some basic time clock software and a free payroll service you can afford to have someone work for you and make you more productive. Just make sure that you are actually using your time to generate more income and aren’t just being lazy.
10. Consult the experts – When it comes to the technical side of your business find someone that knows what they are doing and can take care of that for you or advise you. You do not need to know every detail about merchant services, it’s a good idea to make sure your getting a fair rate, but don’t feel like you have to spend weeks trying to figure out if a .10 transaction fee with a 2.1% rate is better then a .11 transaction fee with a 2.0% fate. Merchant service providers have calculators that they can use to find the rates that are preferable for your business. They can know more about it then you and it is in their best interest to get you a good rate so you stay with them. Same goes for point of sale software. Consult an expert that sets up point of sale systems for a living, they’ve seen all that is out there and can advise you on what you should be using. There is a reason that not every business has jumped on the iPad band wagon.