Presumably this is something you will have thought about before you even get to the first full day as your own boss, and your first day working for yourself won’t be spent shopping for a laptop and mobile phone. The most basic things you will need when setting yourself up as a business owner are the tools of your trade.
For me, these consist of the following absolute bare essentials:
Laptop and phone Don’t scrimp on these; they’re the tools of your trade and you’ll be using them a lot. That mac you’ve always wanted? Now’s the time to get it. Got no money? Find some. Borrow some. This is not a gamble, you will get value out of these tools, don’t shy away from the cost of setting yourself up properly.
Anything you can do to streamline your life with these tools, you should also consider.
Make sure you get a phone with plenty of data. If you’re on the move a lot, you’re going to be using it a whole lot more than you used to.
Mobile battery pack If you’re out and about using your phone a lot, you’re almost certainly going to be using it more than you used to. Battery packs aren’t expensive or heavy, and can get you out of a bind. The last thing you want is to be on a call to a customer or potential supplier and the battery die on you.
Laptop case Especially if you travel a lot, get something that will protect your laptop from the knocks and scrapes that it will inevitably suffer. The more clumsy you are, the more carefully you should protect your items. I opted for a Ziki neoprene laptop sleeve.
Cloud storage Please, please back stuff up from day 1. Don’t, for Pete’s sake, save everything on your laptop harddrive and then be surprised when your laptop breaks and you can no longer access it. Back stuff up multiple times, save it in different places if it reassures you. Save stuff in the cloud, so that if you drop your laptop or phone in the bath, or it gets run over, your business won’t cease to exist. The quickest and easiest way to save stuff nowadays I find is in the cloud, which has the advantage of being accessible from any computer, any time.
Email address Am I really writing this? Surely this is so obvious you don’t need me to mention it. Presumably you already have a personal email address. Consider whether you want to have a separate email address for your business contacts. Get this set up as soon as you can. It’s quick, cheap (or free, depending on which option you go for), and generally offers a very reasonable amount of cloud storage. Gmail is my first stop for this.
Access to word processing and spreadsheet packages Get a subscription to whatever office package you prefer working with. I use Office 365, because it’s what I’m familiar with and means I don’t have to spend time learning a whole new set of commands. I can access my files from any computer in the world, and edit directly into documents on my laptop. They sync automatically.
And - no exaggeration - that’s literally all you need to start a business (before you actually start with building anything – we’ll come to what you need to actually build things later).
I'm Claire Ransom, and I'm a writer and business owner. I founded Lazy Flora, a garden-in-a-box delivery company, in February 2017. This blog post is part of a series on things I learnt during 100 days of starting my own business.
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