Getting more from business computers

Tips & Hints

Getting more from business computers

Posted 22 March 2002

Computers are essential to most small businesses. With the GSTand the increasing complexity of running a business they are almost impossible to do without. For many small businesses the computer systems could be the most important purchase they make.

But many businesses are not getting the most from their computers. We’ve put together a checklist to help you get your computers to work harder.

  1. Computers are an investment, not a cost.
  2. This is important to remember, your computer investment should show a return to the business with increased productivity or better services. Money spent on sensible computer purchases is not wasted.

  3. Grow your computer systems with your business.
  4. One of the most common problems we see are businesses with a dozen employees struggling along with old computers, a slow Internet connection or a printer designed for home use. Get the tools appropriate for the job.

  5. Get a good printer.
  6. Even a one person office can be hamstrung with a slow, expensive to run inkjet. An office trying to run a network with a home printer is spending too long waiting for things to print and probably spending too much on consumables. If a staff member worth $20 an hour waits 15 minutes a day for things to print then that printer is costing you a thousand dollars a year.

  7. Retire computers when they start to struggle.
  8. You can expect a life of three to five years for the average business computer. But as soon as a computer starts getting cranky, get rid of it. If a computer crashes once a day the time spent rebooting is costing over a thousand dollars. Add the lost work and damaged databases and the cost skyrockets.

  9. Keep junk programs off your computer.
  10. If is isn’t relevant to the business, keep it off. The fewer things on your computer, the less there is to go wrong, not to mention the problems presented by spyware and pirate software. If you have a home office, buy the kids another computer.

  11. Have an anti-virus program and keep it up to date.

  12. Maintain your computers
  13. Clean them up, defrag and get rid of temporary files on a regular basis.

  14. Don’t skimp on your equipment and support.
  15. Shop around and get quality. Don’t buy on price and don’t just accept that a name brand is good value.

  16. Backup your data.
  17. It’s not a question of if you will lose data, it’s a matter of when. Your data is the most important thing on your computer. Backups have to be automatic and regular.

  18. Network your computers
  19. Sharing resources can save your business a fortune. With a network you can share printers, files and Internet connections. When you set up a network, make sure the cabling is done professionally.

  20. Get a server.
  21. If you have more than two computers, designate the most powerful one as the server. Then move all the important data to it and setup your backup system on it.

  22. Get some training for you or your staff.
  23. You wouldn’t expect staff to use a lathe or a forklift without training. Having staff who know what they are doing increases their productivity and means less support costs.

  24. Get advice.
  25. Running a small business is hard enough without being the IT manager as well. Once you find a good consultant, retailer or technician, ask them for their advice before going ahead with a purchase or subscription. Their advice could save thousands.

  26. Cost of ownership.

The purchase price is only a small part of what a computer will cost over its life. Make purchasing and support decisions that understand that. A more expensive,better quality system may actually be cheaper. A three year extended warranty for a couple of hundred dollars is probably money well spent.

In many ways computers can be compared to cars. Keeping a car well tuned and maintained improves its performance and reliability. This is true to with computers. The difference is that for a fraction of what your car costs, you can have a system that benefits the whole business.

PC Rescue Pty Ltd
Suite 236, 4 Young Street Neutral Bay NSW 2089
ABN 082 635 765
ŠTechnology Publishing Australia, 2011