Running a business from home certainly has its perks – the ability to do your work in your own home where you are comfortable, being able to wear what you want and most importantly the opportunity to save money on overhead expenses.
It should come as no surprise to you that according to that 69 Percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses at home (Source: 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Report).
Some additional perks of running a business from home are:
- Startup costs are not as expensive
- Saving money on travel expenses and long commutes
- Taking advantage of home office tax deductions
- More flexible working hours
Even with all the advantages, most home-based entrepreneurs have their share of challenges as well. That’s why it’s important to have all the right tools to make running your business from home as easy and seamless as possible.
If you are thinking about starting and running a business from home, or already have one, here is a great list of 10 must-have tools for home-based entrepreneurs:
1. Productivity Applications
Regardless of what type of business you own, Microsoft Office is pretty much an essential productivity application.
The two main programs that business owners tend to find the most useful are Word and Excel. Word allows the user to do basic word processing, and Excel is used to create spreadsheets and do a variety of more complex processes.
If you are running your business on a shoestring budget, you should try using OpenOffice.org. Open office also allows you to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations for FREE.
2. Cloud Based Phone System
Cloud based phone systems are perfect for entrepreneurs running home based businesses. All that’s needed for this service is an internet connection and a smart phone.
Cloud based phone systems like Ringcentral and Grasshopper are very inexpensive and will give your business a professional look without the expensive costs.
With these systems, you can download their smartphone apps to make and receive phone calls from your cell phone – yet the calls will show up to your callers as your small business phone number. How cool is that?
3. External Hard Drive
External hard drives are perfect for protecting and storing files, and offers more security than storage on the cloud. Five of the top external hard drives of 2014 are:
- Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Ultra-portable Drive
- ioSafe Rugged Portable Hard Drive
- LaCie Rugged USB 3 Drive
- WD My Passport Ultra 1 TB Hard Drive
- Toshiba Stor.E Basics 2 TB Hard Drive
4. An excellent desk chair
If your chair isn’t comfortable, forget about getting any work done. You have to be able to sit for long periods at a time, so using a good chair is essential.
5. A Fast Internet Connection
Make sure you have the fastest internet connection out there – if yours can be upgraded, do it right away. It will be worth the money.
6. Online Invoicing App
Online invoicing apps such as Invoiceable or Freshbooks are excellent cloud-based accounting systems designed especially for small businesses. These apps allow you to do time-tracking, manage expenses, and send invoices.
7. Cloud Based File Sharing Applications
A free cloud-based file sharing and content management service that allows you to collaborate and work with others over the web. With Box.com or dropbox you can send, store and manage files all from one online dashboard.
There is also a mobile version of this program available as an app that you can use on your smartphone.
8. Smart Phone
While the landline is certainly useful, a smart phone is essential as they have so many varied and helpful functions.
You’ll be able to access your email at all times, organize your day and all your appointments, plus do a multitude of other organizational tasks.
9. Laptop Computer
You may want to do the majority of your work on a desktop computer from your home office, but it’s a smart idea to have a laptop in case you need to work while traveling.
Five of the top laptop pcs for this year – as mentioned by PCMag.com are:
Evernote allows you to do all different types of note-taking. These notes can be anything from excerpts from a webpage, or even a handwritten note.
Having these basic tools for your home-based business will help you stay organized and work comfortably so you can focus on the important tasks involved in keeping your business going. Cheers All!