Start Up Your Start Up

When starting a business, you are faced with a lot of expenses. You need to consider what kind of office furniture that you will purchase, what software your company will use, and how you will handle your HR and accounting staffs. Here are several ways to cut your expenses without sacrificing the quality of your business.

  1. Invest in office chairs: The comfort of the chair increases the productivity. If your employees cannot get comfortable within their chair, they are not focusing on the tasks at hand. Make sure that the chairs are adjustable and that they are large enough to accommodate larger employees. You can pick up some great chairs at used office furniture stores and thrift shops for significantly less than new chairs.
  2. Think before you buy: Are you going to be using this giant conference room table every day? Do you have a conference room? Do you need a gigantic coffee machine if there are only a few people within your office? Only purchase the item if it will not be gathering dust so you’ll definitely need franking supplies from nslmailing.co.uk
  3. Do not get a phone system: Your employees use cell phones and instant messaging to talk to one another. Train your customers to use instant messaging and email. Designate a cell phone as the public phone of the company, but do not worry about transferring calls and putting calls on hold when your business is beginning. Explore the features of Google Voice, a service you can use to track and record calls.
  4. Outsource: As a startup owner, you probably do not need to have a dedicated accountant or human resources person. Outsourcing is cheaper. You do not have to pay to keep a roof over their heads, nor do you need to deal with the paperwork of taxes. There are several services, including administration, accounting, legal, programming and human resources that you can outsource to save money.
  5. Do not immediately invest in software: Consider saving money by using open source alternatives to major software packages. OpenOffice offers similar applications to licensed programs, including word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and databases, to make your office flourish.
  6. Learn the art of negotiation: Negotiation is an important weapon in any business owner’s arsenal. Remember that there is no service which is set in stone. Shop around for the best services and take them back to your first choice. See if your favorite vendors will offer you a discount for not going to their competition. Do not be afraid to stand up and ask for discounts.
  7. Procrastinate on the purchase of office space: Startup businesses do not have every factor set in stone. You may have a general idea of where you believe your company is going, but the real details are still up in the air. Do you need to purchase office space immediately? Do your customers see your office, or are most of your transactions performed online? You may find that it is just as easy to conduct business out of your home office.
  8. Invest in bulk products: Look for bulk discounts. If you choose to set up an office, you will need toilet paper to stock in the bathrooms. By going to a wholesaler, you can receive discounts for something which never goes bad. The same principle goes for office supplies. Every company has a use for pens, paper, and post-it notes.
  9. Trade: There are small businesses around your area who need your products or services. Chances are, you need their services. When you barter, you create mutually beneficial relationships. You also teach others that you have more to offer than your cash. Information and products are sometimes worth quite a lot more than the money paid.

Starting up your business is an expensive proposition. You are faced with the prospect of buying office furniture, computers, and software for a lot of employees. Look into the possibilities of telecommuting. Do not be hasty to jump into a several year lease for new business proposition. When you save money now, you will have more money for when you know exactly what you want.

Office Printer Tips You Need The Most

Sharing a printer among as many employees as possible makes practical and financial sense. To do this, the printer must be connected to your office network, which allows users to print to a single machine from their respective desktops, laptops, mobile devices and, sometimes, remotely. There are two ways to go about connecting a laser printer to your office network: buy a printer with blackbox-solutions.co.uk that has built-in networking capabilities or attach a printer to a dedicated print server.

Printers with built-in capabilities are simpler to connect but will likely cost more. Either way, you can either hire an outside vendor to do the setup (if it is not included in the purchase or lease price), or rely on your internal IT staff (if you have one). Many offices need more than one printer. Only so many employees can rely on the same printer without running into logjams, so businesses often choose to buy a laser printer for each department, group or team. Separate printers can reside on the same network, allowing employees to switch back and forth among them. This is particularly helpful if employees need to switch from a monochrome machine to a colour machine, for example. Or, you can use sub networks that allow certain users access to only certain printers. These are sometimes used to limit or restrict access to colour printers because their operating costs are so much higher.

Ah, the magic question: How much will I have to spend? This is a difficult question to answer without knowing the specific needs of your business, but we’ll give you a general idea of what to expect. You can purchase a basic home printer for less than $100 these days, but don’t expect business printer prices to be comparable. Business-quality printers are far more advanced and sophisticated, and the price reflects that. Basic inkjet printers designed for very small businesses start in the $150 to $300 range, but these are not robust enough for most offices. Sure, they’re an option if you’re on a very limited budget, but also factor in the total cost of ownership, which includes ink replacement.

At a certain level of printing volume, the cost of an inexpensive inkjet plus the cost of ink exceeds buying a more expensive laser printer that has low ongoing costs. The most basic colour laser printers start at $300, but models that are suitable for small to mid-size offices usually cost $750 to $3,000. High-end laser printers with networking capabilities often cost $5,000 to $10,000 or more.

How To Choose A Colour Photocopier

Most companies only need black and white photocopiers from blackbox-solutions.co.uk, in general for internal use. In some cases, however, more elaborate machines which can also process colour documents are necessary. Printing and copying flyers, brochures and marketing material call for the use of colour copiers. These units are usually more expensive, so choosing the right technology and finding the best price are essential.

Features and functionalities. Modern photocopiers from blackbox-solutions.co.uk are most of the time multi-function printers (MFPs) which can scan and print documents as well as copy them. Two technologies exist: inkjet or laser. Laser units are at the higher-end of the price range, but the toner they use is considerably cheaper than ink cartridges. Depending on the size of your business or the volume and quality of work that needs to be done, the choice of your colour copier is crucial.

Standalone or desktop?

Desktop copiers are perfect for home users, or small offices. They fit on any desk or counter, can scan, print and copy in black and white or colour, and are simple to operate from a computer. They’re also cheap, and toner or ink refills are affordable. However, ink-jet cartridges tend to run out quickly, some colours more than others. They’re appropriate for small volumes of average-quality colour prints. Standalone MFPs are heavier and more cumbersome, and of course more expensive. They mostly use laser technology. They’re suitable for larger companies processing important volumes of documents, and some high-end machines are totally appropriate for copy professionals thanks to their high resolution and elaborate features.

Speed and volume

While entry-level MFPs are able to process between 20 and 30 pages per minute, a mid-range freestanding unit will have a 40-50 page-per-minute output, which is enough for most uses. Professional photocopiers can process 100 pages per minute, but they cost a lot and must be reserved for specific companies. In addition to speed, the paper tray volume is another important point. As a matter of fact, frequent paper refills will take time and impair your staff’s workflow. Connecting a photocopier to the company’s network generally increases volume by 20-30%, so it’s better to overestimate your needs than the contrary.

Finishing tools

If you intend to use your colour copier for such jobs as printing brochures or promotional material, finishing tools such as staplers or document folders might be necessary. Likewise, built-in fax machines and internet connectivity are appreciated features. All these options obviously have an impact on the overall cost, as they’re rarely available on entry-level models.

Finding your colour copier at the right price

You really need to pinpoint your needs before purchasing a colour copier. If it’s too small and slow, it will not fulfil its role properly. On the contrary, if it’s too complicated or equipped with unnecessary features, staff may need a long and costly training period, which is a waste of time and money. However, other options than outright purchase exist, reducing prices and improving services.

Renting and leasing

By paying for your copier in monthly or quarterly instalments, the financial impact will be greatly reduced. For example, a £1,000 MFP paid for through a 5-year lease purchase contract will only cost you around £20 per month, and you will own it when the contract expires. Renting is perfect for occasional uses. In general, service and maintenance are included in rental or lease fees

How To Choose A Colour Photocopier

Most companies only need black and white photocopiers from blackbox-solutions.co.uk, in general for internal use. In some cases, however, more elaborate machines which can also process colour documents are necessary. Printing and copying flyers, brochures and marketing material call for the use of colour copiers. These units are usually more expensive, so choosing the right technology and finding the best price are essential.

Features and functionalities. Modern photocopiers from blackbox-solutions.co.uk are most of the time multi-function printers (MFPs) which can scan and print documents as well as copy them. Two technologies exist: inkjet or laser. Laser units are at the higher-end of the price range, but the toner they use is considerably cheaper than ink cartridges. Depending on the size of your business or the volume and quality of work that needs to be done, the choice of your colour copier is crucial.

Standalone or desktop?     

Desktop copiers are perfect for home users, or small offices. They fit on any desk or counter, can scan, print and copy in black and white or colour, and are simple to operate from a computer. They’re also cheap, and toner or ink refills are affordable. However, ink-jet cartridges tend to run out quickly, some colours more than others. They’re appropriate for small volumes of average-quality colour prints. Standalone MFPs are heavier and more cumbersome, and of course more expensive. They mostly use laser technology. They’re suitable for larger companies processing important volumes of documents, and some high-end machines are totally appropriate for copy professionals thanks to their high resolution and elaborate features.

Speed and volume

While entry-level MFPs are able to process between 20 and 30 pages per minute, a mid-range freestanding unit will have a 40-50 page-per-minute output, which is enough for most uses. Professional photocopiers can process 100 pages per minute, but they cost a lot and must be reserved for specific companies. In addition to speed, the paper tray volume is another important point. As a matter of fact, frequent paper refills will take time and impair your staff’s workflow. Connecting a photocopier to the company’s network generally increases volume by 20-30%, so it’s better to overestimate your needs than the contrary.

Finishing tools

If you intend to use your colour copier for such jobs as printing brochures or promotional material, finishing tools such as staplers or document folders might be necessary. Likewise, built-in fax machines and internet connectivity are appreciated features. All these options obviously have an impact on the overall cost, as they’re rarely available on entry-level models.

Finding your colour copier at the right price

You really need to pinpoint your needs before purchasing a colour copier. If it’s too small and slow, it will not fulfil its role properly. On the contrary, if it’s too complicated or equipped with unnecessary features, staff may need a long and costly training period, which is a waste of time and money. However, other options than outright purchase exist, reducing prices and improving services.

Renting and leasing

By paying for your copier in monthly or quarterly instalments, the financial impact will be greatly reduced. For example, a £1,000 MFP paid for through a 5-year lease purchase contract will only cost you around £20 per month, and you will own it when the contract expires. Renting is perfect for occasional uses. In general, service and maintenance are included in rental or lease fees

Purchasing Or Leasing Hardware

When you decide its time to get new computer hardware with blackbox-solutions.co.uk, you have a choice between buying outright, hire purchase or leasing. The route you follow will depend on your business needs, your budget and the level of advice and support you need. When choosing hardware, make sure that any new or replacement components are compatible with your existing computer equipment. Look carefully at the overall costs, including if it might be cheaper to install a new system rather than upgrade existing components.

Buying computer hardware outright

Advantages of buying equipment outright with blackbox-solutions.co.uk include:

  • For small businesses, being able to deduct a percentage of the value of their IT investments from their taxable income. This includes hardware, software and mobile phones. Read more aboutcapital allowances.
  • Not being tied into medium or long-term agreements which may be difficult to end if your needs or circumstances change.

Disadvantages of buying outright include having to:

  • Pay the full cost up front. This may cause cashflow pressures as you can’t easily spread the cost to coincide with money coming into the business.
  • Replace equipment regularly. Computer equipment depreciates quite quickly and may be obsolete after a few years, requiring a further investment.

Advantages of hire purchase or leasing of IT equipment include:

  • Financial flexibility – you can spread the cost of your equipment over a period of time so its impact on your cashflow is less severe.
  • Tax benefits – as with purchasing, leasing can also offer tax benefits. Businesses can usually deduct the full cost of lease rentals from taxable income. Consult your accountant for specialist advice in this area. Find out how tochoose and work with an accountant.
  • An integrated maintenance contract and replacement equipment (in the event of total failure), often as part of the deal.
  • The possibility of a periodic upgrade or replacement with new equipment as part of the package, keeping your office technology up to date.

Disadvantages of hire purchase or leasing include the following:

  • The equipment’s overall cost may be greater than if you’d purchased it outright.
  • There can also be more administration involved.
  • When leasing, your business doesn’t actually own the equipment. It remains the property of the supplier.
  • When using hire purchase, your business will own the equipment at the end of the contract, by which time it may be obsolete.

When deciding if you should buy or lease your hardware equipment, it’s important to also consider your needs around hardware installation, maintenance and support.

What You Need To Know About Multifunction Printers

Why take two or even four devices into your office when one can do the job just as well? The modern multifunction or all-in-one printer does exactly what it says on the tin, more than one job and usually a lot better and faster than older standalone models can manage.

For a small business – or larger company used in specific departments – choosing the right model is essential with blackbox-solutions.co.uk. The right multifunction printer can be an office powerhouse cranking out office documents and scanned forms by the tens without breaking into a sweat. Choosing the wrong model though can cause frustrating delays, poor quality and costly downtime.

Making the right choice depends on selecting models with a high-enough work rate for a business environment, low-enough running costs to meet budgets, the connectivity to seamlessly fit into your IT infrastructure and of course the right range of features to do the jobs you need. blackbox-solutions.co.uk  can help you here. The key features to look for when making buying decisions are outlined below:

Connectivity

For home use printers connect via a USB port. It’s simple and the device can even be shared over a network via the PC. The office choice is a network printer. These models provide the advantage of tying directly into your existing office network and being made available to everyone. Networking options will be either wired Ethernet or a wireless connection. Depending on your office infrastructure one, the other or both may be more suited.

PC-free use

It should also be pointed out that many multifunction printers provide PC-less features. So many will print, copy and fax without the need for a computer at all. This offers the advantage of lower overheads, reduced training and easier installation in the right circumstances.

Printing

The printer element is the main power behind a multifunction device. It’s important to choose the right type to meet business needs, in terms of duty cycle, capacity, speed, quality, colour output and costs. ● Duty cycle is the upper number of prints a device is designed to handle per month. A basic no-frills consumer-grade printer will handle fewer than 2,000 per month. A low-end business printer will be around 10,000 prints per month and this figure moves upwards with price. The model you choose should have a duty cycle far higher than your expected monthly print demand.

  • Capacity is based on the cartridge or toner a device uses, it’s important that these can last long enough to be economical and deliver enough pages to be useful.
  • Speed – It’s no good getting a device just to have employees stood around waiting for jobs to finish. Speed is measure in Prints Per Minute, usually based on an industry standard coverage amount of five per cent per page.
  • Quality of documents – Almost all new devices should produce satisfactory office documents for day to day use. If presentations are required something higher-end may be required in terms of colour in conjunction with a more expensive paper stock.
  • Colour – You’ll need to decide if you want black and white, basic document colour or photo-quality output. As each requires an increasing amount of money for a suitable office device.
  • Costs – build up from a combination of the amount of usage and price per print. Tied to this is the paper stock used and the type of cartridge or toner chosen.
  • Input/Output trays refer to the paper trays used to store blank and printed pages. If you’re expecting a high turnover then ensuring a unit offers multiple 250 or better 500 page input trays is ideal. As one empties the unit will automatically switch to using the full one.

Scanner

Dedicated scanners are still available and for film, slide or restoration jobs could still be preferable. However even multifunction printers offer slide and negative film scans, alongside standard photo and document scanning. Basic all-in-one devices should provide colour 600 dpi resolution, which is the minimum required for office work. More important is the time required to complete an A4 scan.

Money-Saving For Your Printer

The dream of the paperless office is for many businesses, just that, a dream. Most companies simply can’t sustain an entirely paper free environment, no matter how hard they try. Records need to be kept, contracts need to be signed, hard copies are needed for meetings and training, publicity material needs to be mailed and communication has to be prioritised. So it is vitally important that we use our business printers from blackbox-solutions.co.uk and photocopiers responsibly in order to minimise waste, along with recycling and other green initiatives.

But saving paper does far more than improving your business’s green credentials. Most importantly it can save your office a lot of money. Considering how much you may have invested in business printing with blackbox-solutions.co.uk, with buying printers and photocopiers, paying service fees and ordering printer accessories and consumables, it makes sense to minimise running costs as well. The golden rule is, if you cut waste, you cut costs.

Breaking bad habits

When it comes to printing solutions, many of us fall into bad habits, which can be hard to break. But studies show that the more proactive the management team is at encouraging economical printing, the greater the long term success will be. All of these money saving tips are easy to achieve and require no initial outlay. Whilst individually the savings may be small, over time and when combined the benefits will really be felt:

  • The simplest way to save money on your business printing is to reduced usage, so raise awareness and make sure that electronic communication is being fully utilised.
  • Reuse paper where possible for internal documents. If your printer has multiple trays, designate one for paper which has already been used on one side.
  • Use the print preview function to check for any mistakes before printing.
  • Set your default printer mode to duplex printing, so that you automatically print on both sides. You can also print more than one page on each side of a document.
  • Utilise the digital document storage facilities. The majority of printers and photocopiers will have the facility to email documents or save them to a USB stick.
  • Most printers will have a hibernation or standby mode which uses less electricity. Make sure that this is enabled. Today’s sophisticated printer and photocopier models will take very little time to warm up again.
  • Always switch off printing devices at the end of the working day.
  • Place a cap on how many pages can be printed or copied on each machine in one batch.
  • Print consumables such as ink can be professionally refilled far more cheaply than purchasing a brand new one. If not, many suppliers reward toner and ink recycling with discount vouchers.
  • If you are looking to purchase a new, more energy efficient machine, consider buying cheaper refurbished printers and photocopiers or renting from a reputable supplier. Always search forEnergy Star approved equipment, guaranteed to have the highest efficiency ratings.

There are lots of initiatives and agencies out there who are able to help. Speak to your local council about reducing waste or look for more money and paper saving tips at the WWF. Always go with a company like blackbox-solutions.co.uk for your printing needs

 

Choosing Whether TO Rent Or Buy Your Printer

One of the most important assets for any business is its employees. Highly skilled and experienced employees have the ability to take a mediocre business and turn it into a superstar in a very short time. However, even the best employees can’t amount to much without the right tools. One of the tools that good employees need to excel in their given assignments is a high quality printer.

However, it has to be the right kind of printer from blackbox-solutions.co.uk. Entry level, basic printers are not good enough to handle the workload and quality requirements of an ambitious business. However, as is the case with most expensive office equipment, the modern printer or copier can be acquired in two ways i.e. lease and direct purchase. It is because of this that most businesses have to face the dilemma of leasing a printer vs. buying a printer sooner or later in their growth trajectory.

Let’s approach this question in a structured and step by step basis. The printer is an important piece of machine irrespective of which industry the business works in.

The printer or copier has the capability of making the office more efficient because printing is a much faster process than typing or even visiting the local store.

That establishes the fact that the printer is important. Now, let’s consider the financial side of things.

A successful business would not settle for an entry level printer because it will not provide the same kind of features and versatility that more advanced models will offer. Unfortunately, the more advanced printer models cost a good deal of money.

This cost vs. functionality dilemma is the real cause behind businesses thinking twice before deciding on leasing a printer or buying a printer. Since we are here to resolve this dilemma for you, here are pros and cons of both leasing a printer and buying a printer.

The problem with any kind of technology is that it becomes obsolete very quickly. Computers, tablets, smartphones, and printers all have a very short lifespan not in terms of durability but instead in terms of technological relevance.

Therefore, if you buy a printer tomorrow, then two years down the line, you may find yourself stuck with out of date technology. This problem, however, won’t exist in the case of leasing a printer. When you lease a printer, you sign a lease for a certain period of time. Once that lease expires, you can simply not renew the lease and instead lease a new printer.

Leasing a printer also brings expensive technology within your business’s reach. For instance, small to medium scale businesses often have to think twice before buying an expensive piece of equipment because the required investment is so high. Such businesses can simply choose to lease that expensive printer because monthly payments are smaller and more manageable than huge acquisition costs.

Another benefit of leasing a printer is that it usually doesn’t require any kind of down payment. Moreover, leasing a printer also means that your business will know precisely how much money it will be required to pay every month. This absence of down payments and predictability of monthly payments make leasing a printer one of the most financially stable elements for a business to rely on.

Your Responsibilities With Hiring A Rental Car

If you’re driving a rental car and are involved in a collision with another car whose insurance is responsible for the damages? If this were a privately owned or leased vehicle, naturally, the driver “at fault” would be responsible for the damages. Using a car damage Inspection App when you take out a rental car can help you avoid some of the pitfalls that face a person on getting a rental that they crash. Because you are renting a vehicle (the rental company that legally owns these vehicles), you owe some legal responsibility to that entity. When you rent a car or a truck, you are responsible for any and all losses or damages that occur during your rental period. Remember, you’re assuming responsibility for the rental car is not conditional. You are agreeing to take responsibility for whatever condition the car is in.  The same principle holds true if someone else collides with you. Even though the accident might be technically their fault, you will still be responsible for any damages incurred, according to the rental company. The only exception to this rule is if you accept and sign a collision and loss damage waiver contract offered by the car rental company. This contract states that in exchange for a fee, the driver will not held be responsible for damages that are accidental or unpreventable.

If you currently pay for liability coverage or full coverage on your home vehicle, then sometimes, the same coverage will apply for your rental car. However, this is not always the case and this can be an expensive mistake to discover long after you take that first drive. Under a very generous policy, liability coverage follows the owner, even if he or she is driving a rental car. Needless to say, not all rental coverage policies are that generous. Some policies only agree to pay liability insurance for insured cars, not just their drivers. What commonly happens is that over-confident auto renters assume that because they have liability insurance and a credit card, they are fully covered for any rental car damage. This couldn’t be further from the truth!

Only some credit card companies completely cover car rental arrangements, while others make conditional promises, and some do not cover rentals at all. Credit card insurance is usually supplemental insurance by nature. That means that the company will reimburse you for whatever damage is not covered by another insurance policy. If you are responsible for damaging someone else’s vehicle with your rental car, then you will have to pay for those damages as well. If someone injures you because of their negligent behaviour, then their insurance company will have to pay for your medical expenses. If you live in a no-fault state, then your insurance company must pay for the expenses. In regards to property, however, the only person you answer to is the rental company, because this is the party you first made the agreement with.

The car company will not cover any damages unless you purchase additional insurance policies. If you are involved in an accident, then always call the police to file a report. This can help to determine fault and prevent you having to pay for the other negligent driver’s expenses.

Always know what coverage you have before your rent and drive. Get this information from your liability insurance coverage, your car rental agreement, and your credit card company. You do not have to buy an insurance agreement directly from the rental company. You can find independent rental insurance companies online.

Reasons For Migrating Data

Data migration is becoming more prevalent today, be it personal user data migration, or data migration within larger companies. In order to facilitate and optimise data protection, data sometimes has the need to migrate (and I don’t mean south for the winter). Simply put, data migration is the process of transferring data between storage types, formats or computer systems, and forms an integral part of data management.  The primary need for data migration can be attributed to optimising data security. And different actions can be taken and policies implemented in order to improve the overall data protection.

The three most prominent actions that will have data migration as an implication are listed below:

  1. Storage Migration. The data backup industry is seeing a lot of this happen in recent years. Companies are changing the way in which they store their data, and this change in storage procedure leads to data being migrated, usually from unreliable forms of storage systems like on-site tape backup, to more efficient Cloud or Hybrid Cloud storage methods.
  2. Database Migration. At some point in your data management process, it might be necessary to move from one database vendor to another, or upgrade the software in use. This will most probably require changing the format in which the data is stored.
  3. Application Migration. Changing your central data management application like your CRM or ERP system will inevitably require a substantial amount of data migration.

Risks Involved With Migrating Data

Even though the initial reason for using a data migration specialist could be to ensure data security, there are also considerable risks to data protection involved when migrating data:

Data migration time. The time it takes to migrate the data is definitely something to keep in mind before you start the process. Data migration might take weeks, sometimes months. And if you didn’t back up properly or ensure a copy of the data, you won’t have access to that information for the duration of the migration process. This will cause downtime in your environment, and if you run a company dependent on that data, your company could end up bleeding unnecessary capital. Ouch.

Compatibility issues. A large percentage of data migration is not successful due to file corruption and lack of application compatibility.

Data loss. Data loss is the biggest concern when data migration is involved. By having a data migration strategy in place and a proper data backup policy, you are able to ensure the security of your data and prevent any loss. The irony is that most data migration projects are initiated to prevent data loss and optimise data security.

If data protection is not a key consideration and your data migration is not approached with care and diligence, the process could result in multiple incidents of data loss along the way.