So you are in business now and actually have your own office. Congratulations! Now’s the time to think of the basic office supplies you need to get your business running smoothly from Day One. Set aside a reasonable budget for these essentials. It will pay off in time and bother saved.
Let’s start with your desk. You need a functional desk and a comfortable office chair for the long hours you will be working. Shop around and get the best you can afford. If you have the space, a small couch and side table for visitors is a thoughtful addition. It also makes your office look more professional and inviting.
The absolute basics for your desk would be pens, pencils, erasers, sharpener, paper clips, highlighters, scissors, glue stick, scotch tape. You also need a good supply of notebooks, notepads, envelopes, paper for your printer. Make sure there’s an extra cartridge so you always have plenty of ink and pages don’t get blank and get you into a panic before an important meeting or presentation. Keep your letterheads and business cards in a designated place where you can easily get at them. Keep the business cards you collect from the people you meet in a separate place. It’s a good idea to jot down some essential information at the back of the card to jog your memory. If there’s no mobile number on the card, this is where you should note it down and transfer to your address book if the contact is worth following up.
How about a filing cabinet with a lockable drawer? These are now also available in different colours and small sizes. Get a set of hanging files and label them clearly to access the papers you want quickly.
A laptop or desktop is an essential tool. Do some research or consult an expert to get the model that best works for you. Your smart phone can do some of the work but you still need some apps for your computer to help you manage your business and handle tasks like tracking payments and invoices, scheduling appointments and keeping tax papers up-to-date.
Everyone has 24 hours in a day. How you spend your time impacts your business directly. So pay close attention to time tracking and planning. A wall calendar well in sight will help you keep track of your appointments, deadlines and to-do lists. It’s advisable to have one which shows you the month at a glance with dates in large blocks. Mark off holidays and birthdays and anniversaries you need to remember.
A whiteboard is a good investment. The day’s priorities can be written down for everyone to see. It’s also great for brainstorming sessions where ideas can be jotted down as they occur.
However small your office you can make it look appealing with a little imagination. Put up colourful pictures or posters. Have a corkboard on which photographs, newspaper clippings and notes can be pinned. How about a thought for the week? A poem or cartoon? Even if you work alone, make it a point to vary the items on your corkboard for a fresh look and a new perspective.
Create a small pantry area with an electric kettle, teabags, coffee jar, milk and sugar sachets and some colourful mugs. It makes your office space look more hospitable. And, as they say, anything can happen over a cup of tea or coffee.
It doesn’t matter what your business is. You could be an accountant, a business consultant, a freelance writer or artist. Start with these basics as your foundation and build from there. They will help make your day more productive and enjoyable as well.