It’s all very well deciding that you are going to setup your own business working from home. But as well as having the business knowledge and ideas of how you are going to earn a living, you also need the tools to run your business.
Putting together a home office can be costly. But, you need the right equipment to get your business up and running. And as you are starting up, funds may be tight to begin with. So how do you create a workable office with a limited budget?
Buying a Computer
The most expensive item for your home office will often be a computer. It may well be better to spend a little more to future proof your computer, but there are ways of keeping costs to a minimum.
Before you buy, decide exactly what you’ll be doing on your computer. If you need email, Skype and a way to write documents, you won’t need as much memory as someone who does graphic design. So when you go to the shop and are approached by the salesman, make sure that you stress the needs for your machine – don’t pay for functions you don’t need.
If you’re not sure what you’ll need in the future, make sure your computer has the option for you to add more memory at a later date.
Read reviews about computers that you are considering as your potential purchase . Are past buyers having problems with a certain model or brand? If so, what actions did they take to get over those problems? And are they problems you are likely to come across? If you are using just email and word processing, problems relating to the processing power when running graphics and video may not be an issue.
You may be able to find a used laptop, but if you choose this route shop carefully. A new model might be just a little bit more. If you do buy used, ask if there is any type of guarantee that will cover the machine for at least a few months.
You’ll often find that sales are common just after the kids have gone back to school, or just after Christmas. Old models will be reduced to make way for newer machines.
Buying Furniture and Office Equipment
When setting up your office, furniture is one area where you could possibly save money to start with. If you buy basic now, you always have an option to upgrade once your business takes off.
Go to charity stores or warehouses to look for desks, chairs and bookshelves. Boot fairs and flea markets are another good option for finding cheap office furniture. You can sometimes find free items on Freegle – sign up to your local group. Keep an eye on Ebay too.
You may find that unfortunately a local company has gone bust – they will often sell their old furniture in an effort to recoup any last small amount.
At the end of each school year, parents may sell their children’s desks now that they have completed their schooling and are off into the business world. Keep an eye out on the local classified adverts in free newspapers or newsagents window.
If you really want to save money, how about making a desk? Look for creative ideas on Pinterest or recycling websites. An old door or a board placed across two small filing cabinets can become a workable desk. There’s also a growing circle of people using old pallets in constructive ways.
Check to see which provider has good local internet coverage and speeds. And balance that with costs. However you can often find discounted introductory rates that may well last up to a year. When they raise the price up at the end of the year, research other providers’ current offers. Threaten to switch and see if your existing provider will lower their offer – if not, follow through with that threat.
Funding Your New Office
If you are considering using a credit card to purchase the items you require, ensure that you shop around first. You may want to apply for a new credit card to buy your office equipment, so make sure that you have the best current best interest rates.
Make sure you only buy what you need, and of course shop around to ensure you don’t pay over the odds for your purchases. Pay it off as quickly as possible, thus reducing interest charges. Using a credit card wisely will ensure that you don’t need to spend so much money up front, just be sensible and don’t splash out on items that are not necessary.
Raising Extra Cash
If you still need to raise some extra cash, then how about running a special start-up offer for quick and easy services of yours. Announce that these are your “Grand Opening” prices and only good for a limited time. This will not only raise some cash but may well get your name out there quickly.
Take a look at your possessions, and decide whether you really need them. Anything laying around the house that does not have a purpose could be sold. This will help you de-junk and raise cash. If you have enough stuff, hold a garage sale or take a stall at the local boot fair.
You can also save money by doing work yourself – decorating your office yourself will save a lot of money. The same goes for other jobs that you have the skills to complete – but if you don’t have the skills then seek professional help.
Setting up an office with a small budget is possible using a little creativity and planning. Now go out and be the success that you always knew you could be, upgrading your home office as time goes by.