When starting a business, there are many aspects that you cannot afford to overlook. From acquiring all necessary licenses and permits to finding the right staff all the way to developing a successful marketing strategy, you will have your hands full. However, equipping your business properly is also important if you want to be successful, as not buying the right equipment will restrict your growth and capabilities.
While what you need to buy for your business will, of course, depend on the line of work you are in, there are some general guidelines that you should take into account. With that in mind, here is what you need to know about getting your company equipped.
Understand your needs
For starters, you don’t want to make any rash purchases. Begin by assessing your business’s needs to see what your day-to-day operations look like and what you will need for everything to run smoothly. Then, ask yourself how the piece you plan on purchasing will help you grow and meet future goals. You also have to take into consideration how many people will be using the item and if your company needs several pieces so that you are more productive.
Moreover, it’s only normal that you have a long wish list of devices and machinery that would benefit your company; however, in the beginning, it’s essential that you first think about your uttermost necessities. Plus, seeing as how equipping a laboratory is not the same as equipping a construction company, it’s also important to keep your line of work in mind. While there are some items like desks that most industries can use, there is no need for heavy machinery such as bulldozers in a lab just like there is no need for fridges in the construction industry.
Work out your budget
Once you have listed all the equipment that you might need, it’s vital to take a look at your budget. If you’ve made a business plan that includes your finances and accounts for equipment acquirement, you probably know where the money is coming from. For example, you might already have some savings that you can use for this purpose. On the other hand, if money is tight, you can also consider other financing options. For one, turning to friends and family for some cash might be an approach worth mulling over.
It’s recommended to make a contract and payment schedule that will ensure no arguments ensue due to debt. Then, opting for a bank loan is also a possibility. If you haven’t already taken out a business loan, you can look for a bank that offers the best business equipment loans. Something else to think about is inviting an angel investor on board. However, keep in mind that this comes with some strings attached as you might lose complete control over your company. Decide which approach would benefit your business the most and ensure that the monthly payments will not affect your cash flow.
Decide if you want used and refurbished items
While on the topic of your budget, it’s also advisable that you think about getting used and refurbished items. This method works great when you don’t need some state-of-the-art pieces. For instance, equipping an office means that you can look into previously used desks or armchairs for the lobby if they’re in decent condition. However, even though their price is often a big plus, you also don’t want items that don’t match your health and safety standards.
Compare them with newer models to check if they’re lacking any necessary features and see if there is a specific reason why they are on sale. You can find plenty of sales online and even look into companies that are closing or liquidating all their assets.
Choose between renting and purchasing
Another dilemma that you will have to think about is whether you will be renting or purchasing your equipment. For example, if you don’t have enough cash to pay for construction equipment upfront, leasing is a great option. Moreover, depending on your contract, you can always get the latest technology in case what you’re currently using becomes obsolete. On the other hand, by purchasing lab equipment like freezers, centrifuges and, safety storage cabinets outright, you will be paying less than if you were to lease it for a few years. What is more, you will not be tied up in any long-term agreements. With that in mind, calculate the costs of purchasing and maintaining the equipment and compare it with what you would pay if you were to lease everything.
Look at all options
Before making your decision, you should remember to shop around and look at all the options at your disposal, both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Read reviews and comments online, visit trade shows for some first-hand experience, and ask people in your niche for recommendations.
If a piece is not necessary immediately, wait a bit to see if there is a sale coming up so that you save some money. However, don’t let the price be the only criteria but make sure to look into the supplier’s reputation and the warranties you will be getting, as only then you can rest assured that you’re getting your money’s worth.
Keep it energy-efficient
Something else you should pay attention to when purchasing equipment for your business is its energy efficiency. Finding pieces that use less energy will not only help you save money in the long run but you will also be doing your part in saving the planet. Put in some work to learn more about the impact that your equipment has on the environment and look for ways how you can offset your carbon footprint.
Furthermore, if you’re replacing some old items, make sure you find the right ways to dispose of them to minimize your impact even more. For example, if they are still functional, perhaps you can find someone to buy them and give them a new life.
Put safety first
In addition to ensuring your equipment is safe for the environment, you also want to make sure it’s safe for your employees. With that in mind, check reviews to better understand what kind of equipment you are buying. See if there were any incidents involving that kind of equipment and thoroughly research the local health and safety measures. You can also check with your human resources department whether the work environment meets all safety requirements. If a piece you require is not deemed safe, look into better alternatives or ways how you can improve its safety.
Don’t forget about training
Lastly, when equipping your business, you also have to keep in mind the training that might be necessary to operate the equipment you are implementing into your daily operations. Both the safety and productivity of your workers could be endangered if they don’t know how to properly use the tools you’re providing them with. To prevent such scenarios, you want to train them and give them time to adapt to new technologies.
When purchasing new equipment, there are several things to keep in mind. From what you need for your company and the budget at your disposal to decide between new and used, carefully consider your options to ensure a healthy, productive, and environmentally friendly workspace.