So, congratulations — you’re the proud owner of a new business! As an independent entrepreneur, you’re about to embark on one of the most rewarding journeys a person can take. But on any great adventure, you need to pack the right preparations, and that’s especially true when running a small business.
You’ve probably been working hard to figure out how and when you’ll buy all the specialized equipment that your business requires. But there are a lot of items that almost every business needs, from writing utensils to trash bags to backups for key documents. While this checklist isn’t comprehensive, it’ll help you remember the Day One must-haves for a successful business.
Although today’s small business owners handle most of their communications digitally, that doesn’t mean the humble pen and pencil are obsolete. Far from it — you’ll find yourself reaching for them when you need to jot down a phone number or work out a concept visually. Keep a sufficient supply of writing instruments available so that you never have to go hunting for one.
2. Wi-Fi Router
Just about every business today needs to have at least an internal Wi-Fi network for employee use, and quite possibly a public one for customer use as well. Consider a dual-band Wi-Fi router if you need to create multiple networks, and remember that you might need range extenders to get sufficient coverage throughout your facility. Don’t forget to use the best practices of business Wi-Fi security to keep your network safe.
3. Power Strips/Extension Cords
Almost all businesses constantly use electrical and electronic devices like computers, phones, and point of sale systems. To ensure that there are enough outlets for everything, your business will probably need several surge protector power strips. A surge protector will also help guard your equipment against hazardous surges.
4. Accounting Software
Good financial hygiene starts with documenting all of your business’s finances from the very beginning. You should be tracking expenditures, assets, invoices, receipts, and the many other key elements of small business accounting. Fortunately, many accounting software products now have small business-focused offerings at an affordable price, and some even offer capabilities for performing other key functions like payroll.
5. Trash Bags
No matter what kind of business you own, keeping a supply of trash bags is an essential part of safe waste disposal. For businesses like restaurants or construction contractors, you’ll need to purchase some heavy-duty trash bags, while offices often choose the smaller 4-gallon trash bags for their wastebaskets. Trash bags are also available in a huge range of designs, including colored trash bags and clear trash bags for those who like a specific look.
6. First Aid Kit
Medical emergencies can strike at any time, and being prepared can save lives. That’s why every business needs sufficient first aid supplies on hand. A first aid kit should include bandages, antiseptic wipes, tweezers, burn ointment, and several other workplace first aid essentials that will help provide basic treatment in an emergency. If you have company vehicles, consider adding first aid kits that employees can take on the go with them.
7. Landline Phone
It’s not uncommon for people to go without a landline service in their homes, but for businesses, it’s often still important to have a landline connection. In many industries, your customers will expect the reliable connection that a landline provides and that you may not necessarily get from alternatives like cellular service or VoIP calls. A landline is also a potentially important way to contact help in an emergency situation.
8. Utility Knife
The simple utility knife is another MVP when it comes to versatility. You’ll probably need one for tasks like opening boxes and cutting zip ties, but there’s an amazing variety of other things that a utility knife comes in handy for, too. Plus, they never need to be sharpened — just snap the blade off and a fresh edge is ready to go.
9. Sticky Notes
Sticky notes are an amazingly simple but versatile tool that will prove useful in many places around your business. They’re as good for jotting down quick reminders as they are for organizing a brainstorming session, and their variety of colors and designs also helps bring some levity and visual pop to your workplace environment.
A whiteboard is an ideal place to workshop ideas, write down important tasks, and generally organize the information side of running a small business. Many businesses add a small or medium-sized whiteboard to a common area to provide relevant information and reminders, like tracking daily specials and 86’d items in a restaurant.
11. Cloud Document Backup Service
All of your most important documents should be backed up to the cloud to protect them from potential hazards. Many different services provide cloud backups, and for some businesses, free options like Google Drive will be enough. However, larger businesses with lots of files will probably want to invest in an upgrade to a paid service that provides more storage space and more security options.
12. Open/Closed Sign
If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar business, don’t forget your open/closed sign! You won’t attract many customers if passersby can’t tell whether or not you’re open. Businesses that rely on walk-in traffic should think about investing in a large and prominent open/closed sign, preferably one that has features to attract customers’ attention.
Even in our cloud-based era, some documents still need to be printed. That means your business needs a printer, and it’s worth investing in one with the good build quality and multiple functions, such as the popular “all-in-one” printer-scanner-fax machine models. And while buying ink is never anybody’s favorite task, choosing a high-quality printer that uses less ink will make the process less frequent.