Let’s face it. Every small business needs computers to operate efficiently but we don’t have to break the bank when purchasing them. Here are my top seven tips for stretching a dollar when buying computers for your small business:
- Know how much computer you really need. It is easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest and greatest computers with all their bells and whistles but do you really need them? For instance, do you really need a Blu-Ray DVD writer/player that adds another $100-$200 to the total cost of a computer? Concentrate on maximizing the things that matter: memory, hard drive capacity, graphics card, and sound card. Set a budget and stick to it.
- Purchase a computer that you won’t outgrow for at least 3-5 years. Think about your long-term goals and how the computer will help you achieve them. For example, if you purchase a particular computer, can it be easily upgraded with additional memory for more speed? Technology changes at a rapid rate but you don’t want to buy another computer every time . Use what you have until it become counterproductive or obsolete.
- Know the right time to buy. January, July, August, November, and December are good times to shop for computers to get the best deal. Stay informed of deals online as well as offline.
- Know your computing style. With laptops becoming more affordable and powerful, do you really need a desktop? Maybe a netbook? Regardless of whether you choose a laptop or desktop, know your computing style so that you can stretch your dollar to get the best deal.
- Compare prices online and offline. Once you determine how much computer you really need, start comparing prices online as well as offline. Also, check with local computer shops in your area as well as retailers such as Staples and Best Buy (don’t forget to use your rewards card) for deals. Here are a few online resources to look for computer deals to get you started:
- Consider buying closeouts or refurbished computers. HP , Dell , and many others offer refurbished computers on their websites for substantial savings compared to new computers. Many carry a 90-day warranty or will allow you to purchase additional warranty coverage. This is a great way to stretch your dollar while getting a good deal on a computer.
- Sign up for email updates and use social networking resources. Many online retailers are utilizing social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about special sales and deals. Also, don’t forget to sign up for online retailers’ email updates as well as RSS feeds to stay informed of deals. Don’t forget to look for coupons online and offline!
With these seven tips, you are well on your way to stretching a dollar when buying computers for your small business.