Home based businesses are fairly common occurrences in this day and age. Despite their frequency, they are often seen as under equipped, technologically lacking entities. This doesn't have to be the case though; there is a wide range of useful technology available to home based businesses, some of which will be covered in this article.
It is important to remember that it isn't always the newest or most high tech equipment that is necessary. It is all about ensuring that all the technology used provides an efficient function for your business.
A separate working area – Okay, so I guess this doesn't count as technology, but the technology that comes later in the article will be of no use if you don't have a workspace. It is essential to keep your working area separate from your general home life. Not only will doing this help to keep work and social apart, it will also increase productivity because, let's face it, it's near on impossible to work with interruptions such as children every 5 minutes. I'm aware of the fact that it's not always possible to have a dedicated workroom, but even separating your working space from the rest of the house with cheap dividers is beneficial. Along with this, it can be helpful to alert family members to the fact that you're not to be disturbed (unless the house is burning down).
VoIP – A Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) connection can be of great use to home business owners. Home business owners commonly spend a lot of time on the phone and anything that can help to reduce these costs should be embraced wholeheartedly. VoIP is this technology. Although there are free services available, most businesses opt for a paid service, mainly due to the added reliability and perceived quality improvement. VoIP technology allows users to call local, international and mobile numbers at reduced rates.
A fast internet connection – This is particularly important if the nature of the business means that you spend a lot of the time on the internet. They say that time is money; having an unreliable or slow internet connection can cost a surprising amount of time and therefore money. A quick internet connection will likely cost more per month, but when compared with the amount of time you save, it is well worth it.
Printer/fax machine/scanner/photocopier – While they may seem a little simplistic, you'd be amazed how lost the majority of today's workforce would be without them. I have grouped them together as a whole because you can quite often find them built into one unit.
Cloud storage – A common problem with home offices is a lack of space. The last thing that you want taking up the limited space you do have is excess documents and general paper. By relying on digital documents and storing them in the cloud, you are able to ensure that your workspace remains uncluttered. That isn't the only benefit, however. The other main benefit is the benefit of mobility; once your documents are stored in the cloud, you're able to access them from any location with a working internet connection, meaning that your business effectively becomes more mobile and adaptable.
As with the majority of business situations, there isn't a one size fits all solution. The best technology for some may not be the best for others, it is very much situation dependant.
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