What to Consider Before You Upgrade

I’m always looking for a good deal on office equipment. Who isn’t?

Sometimes I find something for a low price and use the product for years with no problems. But other times a product that I bought at a ridiculously low price breaks constantly and reminds me daily of what a bad deal it was.

Before you spend any money on new equipment or modify your existing equipment, consider a few questions.

Will the new equipment help you save time?

Each month when I see my cell phone bill, I cringe. It’s more than I want to spend, but it’s worth the amount of time my iPhone saves me each month. When my clients need information or photos, or have any questions, I’m able to respond quickly.

Consider whether a new smartphone will improve your productivity. Then consider the other equipment in your home office. An all-in-one machine that prints more sheets than your current printer, can cut your printing time and printing costs significantly.

What’s your budget?

Can you afford to buy the latest, greatest, top-of-the-line computer or will you have to settle for a less expensive, less effective system? If possible, wait until you can afford the more reliable, better-performing system. The money you spend now, will help you save time later on.

Will you know how to use the equipment?

If it’s going to take you six months to learn how to use something, or if you’re like me and you refuse to read manuals, be willing to pay someone to teach you how to use the equipment immediately. Either pay a high school or college kid to figure it out — trust me, they can do it — or use a professional service like Geek Squad. Keep in mind that it takes time to save time, but the time you save can affect your bottom line.

When you own your own business, every penny counts. You may think that you can’t afford to upgrade your equipment, but in some cases, you can’t afford not to upgrade.

Which piece of equipment in your home office helps you save the most time?

Comments

  1. As a charter member of the Lancelot advance team of the bleeding edge society, I understand the “need for speed”. And, the love of the novelty.
    However, for my clients’ needs, I am always cognizant of their psyche (personal and corporate). A careful blend of cost v. advantage must be imposed on all such decisions. Not having any device (say a scanner) versus acquiring one is a little simpler. Do “we” need it to accomplish our mission? Does it advance our mission – and at what cost.
    But, what happens if you already have a printer on every desk. And, that new, high speed one is calling out to you? What does it cost? Will you sell the old one or donate it? What is the cost for toner? Are there jobs that are farmed out because we can’t finish them in house? Again, similar questions abound.
    Or, do we really need to convert to Windows 7 from XP? OK, this is a ringer. YES, you do! NOW. XP is not supported and 7 is so much faster. But, that’s the kind of analysis you should employ.

    Lisa, you are absolutely right in framing this issue!
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. @Cerebrations.biz recently posted..What DO you do all day?My Profile

    • Excellent questions, Roy. It’s definitely frustrating when you buy something (iPad) and a new version comes out every few months (iPad). One of my favorite expressions about technology is that keeping up with the latest technology is like changing a tire on a moving car…it’s impossible (and expensive).
      Lisa recently posted..What to Consider Before You UpgradeMy Profile

  2. Lisa, I always find myself starting with the low cost item and then buying up. When I do that I wind up spending much more than if I got the right one in the first place. On the other hand I can be so cheap that I am still using an old office chair that won’t go up and down any more. It is stuck down. This is not good for my sight or my typing. But do I get a new one? Nope. Silly me.
    Ann recently posted..Sandwich Generation Money GuideMy Profile

  3. I think the key for any small business — especially home based ones — is to remember that time = money. Cheaper tech may seem easier on the budget but if it costs you time in the long run, it’s not a good deal.

    For learning a new software skill or getting familiar with hardware: Google it! Chances are you can find tutorials (sometimes even video tutorials) and walk throughs for a lot of common tech. If you can’t, check either the local library or adult school in your area for classes on common software. It’s far better to spend one evening and $50 on a class than spend downtime figuring out the software without a guide.
    Michelle Mista recently posted..4 Tips for Productive DowntimeMy Profile

    • I couldn’t agree more. YouTube has videos that cover every technical issue. Thanks for the reminder. If you can learn how to use software and not have to hire someone to help you, that’s a nice savings as well. Good point about downtime and how small business owners can’t afford to have any.
      Lisa recently posted..What to Consider Before You UpgradeMy Profile

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