Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Small-Business Owners Should Consider Laptops

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Small-Business Owners Should Consider Laptops

Article excerpt

The economic downturn has led many people to launch home-based or small office businesses, even as a secondary source of income. There are 28 million small businesses in the U.S., the National Economic Council reported in May. They employ 60 million Americans - roughly half of the private-sector workforce.

Placing even a portion of your livelihood in the hands of technology involves risks and balancing budgeting and productivity can be challenging for small firms. I'm often asked what technology small-business owners really need and what they can live without. Here's my advice.

Buy laptops, not desktops or tablets. The largest technology expense for a small business, especially one just starting out, likely is computers. Desktop computers are typically the most versatile, particularly for those who require a specialized configuration such as dual monitors, upgraded graphics capability or multiple peripheral attachments such as cameras, custom keyboards or audio equipment. However, desktops lack mobility, often making it a hassle to work from home or on the road.

According to a Yankee Group report published in 2008, more than 50 million U.S. workers are considered mobile (i. e., away from their primary workspace more than 20 percent of the time). To a small-business owner or executive, the ability to access a work project from outside the office often is pivotal to success and productivity.

Some offices accommodate this with an FTP or cloud-based file server that users log into when they are away from the office.

However, specialized software can be costly to install on multiple machines. While workers could use a remote login program such as LogMeIn to access their work computer while away, their productivity will hinge on the strength of their Internet connection.

Instead, consider equipping employees with laptops and docking stations. This will give you the best of both worlds at minimal additional cost.

A docking station allows users to connect a laptop to a multitude of additional devices with one plug, typically via USB. …

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