Monday, October 08, 2007

Office Start-Up Costs Verse


Minimize Your Office And Equipment Start-Up Costs

When you set up your office area you have to consider clients, suppliers, family, neighbors and yourself. The balance is easy to achieve when you keep in mind the double function your home has from now on: a home and an office. Below I outline the baby-steps that will help you to achieve this balance.

Define your work area

This is the first step on your path to success. If you don't have a defined work area, a place that says to you "While You Are Here, You Are At Work!", then you will probably stumble in a lot of distractions and by the end of the day you will be surprised with how little you have done. You should not limit your idea of work area to space only. Consider time dimensions, too. Your coach could be your office, if your family knows that you are working and not sleeping, petting the cat or watching TV.

You should always keep in mind your cost. If defining your area means drywall, purchasing that awesome coach and a new carpet, then you'd better reconsider. Your business will be pretty slow for the first few months, so you'd better save that money for promotion and to secure your basic expenses.

Equip it

Equipment is always a two-sided issue—you have to keep your costs at a minimum and at the same time you have to be professional and not to look "cheap".

The first place to start cutting your costs is furniture. Think classic, think second-hand, and think professional use! Don't fall for that brand-new filling cabinet for "home use"—it is likely to become outdated very soon and fall apart just when you need it. You will be better off with a comfortable second-hand chair, table and filling cabinet that were actually used and proved to be sturdy enough.

Now, let's look at the "tools". In most of the cases they constitute of your computer, keyboard, mouse, printer and your website. It is my personal observation that the most sensitive pieces of equipment are the mouse and the keyboard, so I would recommend that you consider the best quality for these two. Your monitor is also very important, but I've found that you don't need Sony in order to feel comfortable and keep your eyes healthy. A good alternative is CTX.

Finally, let's look at your website. Your website is your store- front and here, you'll have to go an extra mile in order to create a good first impression. If you can afford it, I would recommend that you hire a professional web designer. However, if money is tight, there are various alternatives that will help you to create a professional image. One of my favorites is BigStep ( http://www.bigstep.com ) that will help you to create your site in several easy steps. Another good source is Working Solo ( http://www.workingsolo.com ) and the SCORE program ( http://www.score.org ) that offers free consulting for over 500 categories. Once you have your website ready to be published, you should think about finding a host for it and securing your own domain name. InterNIC lists the major ISP providers here (http://www.internic.net/alpha.html ). There are some very good solutions: http://service.bfast.com/bfast/click? bfmid=12768212&siteid=37618938&bfpage=home offers 200 MB of web space for $200 upfront without Any Monthly Fees. This is a good deal, especially if you plan to keep in business for at least a year. Here: http://www.namezero.com you can secure your business name for free (the free service comes with a navigation bar) or upgrade to the deluxe version.

Think about safety

This section includes anything that may jeopardize your business— from word of mouth that a customer tripped in a toy and broke her neck to a costly lawsuit for damages. Don't dismiss any of these possibilities and research carefully how to insure and protect your business.

Finally, I wish you success with your newborn business!

Maria Stefanova is the owner of LG Software ( http://www.lg_software.net ), a company which aims to make SAT, GRE and GMAT preparation more easy, funny and effective, of course!

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