Guest Blogger: Darla DeMorrow, Certified Professional Organizer ®.
Home-based business owners need a few basic tools as a minimum in their office. Some home office essentials are:
• The biggest one, beyond anything else, is a computer backup solution. If you are running a business out of your home, you actually need TWO backups, one in the cloud and one on site (external hard drive). It almost doesn’t matter which ones you go with, as long as they are automated (don’t require you to hit the button to execute a backup) and you know how to backup and check the file. You can get an online backup service for about $60 per year (Carbonite, BackBlaze, SugarSync, Mozy, etc), and you can get 2T or 3T of external hard drive storage for about $150 (Seagate, WD, and others). Your business is your data, so it makes sense to ensure it is backed up.
• A trash can and a shredder, and a recycle bin if your municipality recycles. (I know, so basic, but you would be surprised!)
• A tech support expert who will come to your office or remote into your technology. Your home-based company needs to build this cost into your price. You have a business to run. Do you really want to spend days battling the latest virus, upgrade, or disk failure?
• A filing cabinet. Even if you are trying to go paperless, you’ll still have some paper. Most of us still have a lot of paper, enough to fill at least 2-4 drawers.
• A Tickler File. A paper tickler file (12 files, labelled by month, holding commitments and to-do’s for later in the year) sitting on top of or near the desk can keep random paper from piling up on the corner of your desk.
• An office supply closet or cabinet. Where are you going to put the extra copy paper? Thank you cards? Presentation binders? You need a place for those.
• A modern scanner. No, not your all-in-one-copier-scanner-fax-printer. You need a dedicated scanner with some current software. The two at the top of the market are Neat and Fujitsu ScanSnap. The speed and ease-of-use that you gain (for under $400) will easily pay you back versus the headaches and frustration that you’ll experience with your old flatbed scanner.
• A bookcase. Your professional library may or may not be large, but it doesn’t belong on the floor or your desk. If a book or binder is worth keeping, it’s worth being able to reach quickly. Bookcase storage just makes sense for books.
What else do you think is a home-office essential?