The right decisions at the beginning will save you a fortune in IT Support bills later.
Your choice of software applications will determine which operating system you run and thus your hardware purchases.
Try to avoid desktop applications and go for cloud based, web browser centric applications wherever possible so that:
- You are not tied to a specific operating system or device.
- It's easy to get access to your business data from any location. (Vital if you have people on the road a lot).
- You don't have to run a file server.
- You do not have to worry about backups, it's done for you.
- You are not dealing with a lot of application support headaches (updates etc etc).
- When a desktop machine goes down, it doesn't drag your operation to a halt: ie you can move that person to another machine quickly and easily.
- Use an online accounting package if you can. Eg: QuickBooks online, Kashflow, Xero etc. Consult with your accountant to make sure it meets your requirements.
- Use Google Apps for your spreadsheets and documents etc. Avoid Microsoft Office if you can. Look at LibreOffice if necessary.
- Use GMail or Hosted Zimbra for Email. Do not use Outlook or anything which runs as a local client application. Never use POP3.
If the speed of your Internet Connection is terrible and unreliable then cloud based solutions will NOT work
- If you are going to look at a phone system, use VOIP if, and only if your ADSL connection is fast enough. (Greater than 30MB/s).
- Make sure the cabling in your office network is reliable and solid.
- Ensure you secure your WiFi access. Use hard wired ethernet connections whenever possible.
- Ensure a stable power supply for your computers. Use Uninterruptable Power Supplies (UPS) if necessary for your kit (including routers).
- I tend to buy Dell PCs and run Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit.
- Computers do not need expensive graphics cards or the latest, fastest processor unless you are video editing or doing CAD work.
- Ensure that any PC you purchase has at least 8GB of RAM.
- Big monitors increase productivity.