No matter what kind of business you’re in, you will most probably need to buy a computer to run it. Choosing a computer for your business is a bit different than choosing a home PC. Although computer prices are continuing to fall, ¡t is still important to strike the proper balance between low cost and true value.
Review Available Systems and List Your Needs
Look through the sales fliers for your local big box stores like Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Also check with warehouse clubs like Sam’s Club and Costco if your business has a membership.
Make a list of the components you need in your business computer, including memory, hard drive space, processor speed and networking capabilities. When shopping for a business computer, avoid value and entry-level computers. These PCs are designed primarily for home users, not for businesses. Check that the computer you are considering has at least 1 to 2 gigabytes of RAM, the more the better. Additional memory will help the computer run more quickly and help your business avoid wasted time.
Think About Security
Consider the security implications of removable media when deciding whether to purchase a computer with a CD or DVD writer or just a reader. Giving front line workers the ability to burn CDs and DVDs could inadvertently cause the loss of proprietary information if that media is lost or stolen. Locking down the USB drives with a physical or software lock is a good idea as well.
Plenty of Space
Select computers with a large hard drive, but do not focus too much on storage capacity if you will be using a network. Business users should keep their files on the network for backup and security purposes, so a computer with a 60-80GB hard drive should be sufficient.
Consider choosing a computer with a video card that supports dual monitors, or buying an add-on card for the computer you choose. Having two monitors available can boost productivity and make the screens easier to read.
Choose a computer with a wired network card, even if you plan to use a wireless network in your business. Having a wired network card in place provides additional flexibility and makes it easier to share information. When choosing a network card, be sure the card supports 1Gbit communications, even if your existing network is limited to 100 Mbit. This gives you more capacity for growth without the expense of replacing equipment down the road.
Enter your specifications into the website of a major computer manufacturer like Dell or HP. Make sure all of the specs are correct, then price the PC you have just built. Keep in mind that you might be able to negotiate a lower price on each unit if you plan to purchase multiple computers.
By using the above checklist, you can ensure that you get the best possible computer for the least amount of money. Chances are that money is tight in your new small business, so finding the best deal on a computer will leave you with more money to invest in your new enterprise.