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Last Updated: Thursday, 11 September, 2003, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
How to approach information technology
Computer user
Be clear about what you want - don't be tempted into unwise purchases
Computers can be vital for your business, but it is important to be clear about how you want to use them, or your IT spend can spiral out of control.

A basic business system for one person should cost between 1,000 and 1,500, including a monitor, keyboard, software, printer and scanner.

Take the time to learn how to use it - if you are a beginner you can enrol on a course at your local small business centre or library.

Even the most basic system can benefit your business - it will improve the quality and efficiency of your work, help you avoid errors and spelling mistakes, and save time.

The right system

Once you are feeling more confident you can use it to control your finances, provide information about your customers and access the internet for email, purchasing, research and even e-commerce.

Buying the right system means being an informed customer. If you know what you want your chances of getting the right results are much higher.

HOW IT CAN HELP
Keeping track of finances
Streamlining the supply chain
Providing e-commerce opportunities
Speeding up customer ordering time

Here are some things to think about when buying your equipment:

  • tell the supplier exactly what your system needs to do (what documents you need to produce, how your business might expand in the future, etc.)
  • ask your own business contacts and friends for a recommendation
  • find out what support and training is available, make sure the computer can be upgraded and check what guarantees, technical support and service agreements are included in the purchase price.

It always a good idea to try out different computer packages before you buy. Shop around for the best deal.

Get help and independent advice if possible and try to build up a good relationship with your supplier - that way if things do go wrong they should be there to help you out.


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