1. Important: Please read our guidelines and tips for new players before posting, particularly if this is your first time. If looking for answers, start with a search of past topics.

So What IT do you need when going solo?

Discussion in 'Talking technology' started by exstatic, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. exstatic

    exstatic Active Member

    Messages:
    304
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    28
    So, if you are planning on going solo, or have gone solo, how did you go about setting up all your IT, i.e; Computer, Printers, Internet, Website, Phones etc.. Did you just go to harvey norman and buy all your stuff there and set it up yourself? Or did you pay someone to set it up properly?

    Then, what if you have a problem, who do you call to sort it out?
  2. ray_223

    ray_223 Active Member

    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    98
    Trophy Points:
    28
    The answer to your questions will be:

    It depends!

    It depends on what knowledge you have, and it depends on what your business is.

    If you have the knowledge and skill to set everything up yourself you can save some money (and have things setup the way you want it).
    If you don't you'll need someone to do it and better yet, would be great to form a good relationship with the person who does it for future work and as you say support.

    Depending on your website needs (which depends on your business) ... if you have some knowledge you "may" be able to get away with creating your own (I believe lots of people here have). If your website is the major facing storefront it may be better to pay a professional.

    So, as I said .."it depends".

    You need to gather all of your requirements, then work out your funding requirements and then prioritize until you are in a position to start providing your goods / services.
    Then re-iterate for ever!
  3. Adam Randall

    Adam Randall Member

    Messages:
    382
    Likes Received:
    3
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I would discourage going to HNs for business computers, you will get sold whatever stock needs moving for that particular week.

    The amount of times I have given good advice only to have that advice totally ignored and they plod off to HNs and buy everything on a spur of the moment on a saturday morning only to find they bought the wrong stuff, well I could probably retire.

    They sell great gear if you need something to do your childrens homework with or you already know what you are looking for.

    The sales staff are very hit and miss, you might get someone straight out of school who knows very little about setting up a business IT system - even for one person there is quite a bit of work if you want it done properly.

    I would at least pay for a couple of hours of advice from a reputable and experienced IT business even if they do not do the work, they can point you in the right direction and prevent you making common mistakes.

    The problem with people setting up their own systems is you may hear how easy it is and that you dont need anyone else to do it, however because they are unable to compare their setup to something thats correctly setup, they have no point of reference.
  4. Sef

    Sef Member

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Sorting out hardware is probably the easy job, compared to sorting out the business systems / software you require

    Two very important things to consider are:
    Accounting system: Will your accountant do all the work for you, so you can possibly get away with a basic office package? Is your business 'simple' enough to be able to run it with 'entry level' systems like MYOB or do you need a full ERP style solution to help with advanced issues. At some stage you will be placing purchase orders, raising invoices, require material control procedures, plan your work etc. It is very important to have the right tools for your business to be successful.

    'Exposure systems' (can't think of another generic term): Will you trade via the internet and require an on-line store? Will you require your own website to reach your prospective clients. Also in this area solutions vary from Rolls Royce solutions to free webhosting.
  5. LukeH

    LukeH New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    Find others you can trust and then use them. If you're struggling to know who to trust, ask around and you'll get referrals for trustworthy businesses.

    And it doesn't have to always cost a lot of money. If you're looking for help with phone and internet I'd look for a broker. In many cases their advice won't cost you anything if you set up services through them. They get paid by the phone company. You then have someone to call on if you need help or have problems.

    With IT you'll likely have to pay money, but the time and effort you'll save yourself will be well worth it.

    Be discerning with what you pay for and from whom, but by utilising others you'll free up more of your own time to work on your business. By contracting other businesses, you will have other entrepreneurial people working for your business to give you a great result.

    In terms of a building website, a forum like this is often good because you'll get a range of opinions and experiences.
  6. nicoletiern

    nicoletiern New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    I believe if you're not pretty good with hardware and all that geeky stuff, it's best to leave it to a pro, they know way more than you do and by paying a week's work to a guy you can make sure your office won't break down due to faulty equipment. Get advice on what you need, it's not that expensive and in the end it pays up to have good equipment.
  7. Heidi Price

    Heidi Price Member

    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    If you're talking hardware I would recommend a "white box", that is, a custom built computer over an off-the-shelf. You decide (with help from your friendly independant computer shop person) what you will need and they put it together.

    You will get a much better system for your $$ than a standard computer at a major retailer. And the independent computer shop is likely to be another soloist/SME and might be interested in an affiliate deal :)


    Now if you mean a website, well the developer in me screams - this is your business, give it the respect it deserves and invest in this important business tool and AT LEAST get some quotes from professionals.

    I can't tell you must have it designed for you, but I can recommend you speak to at least 3 professionals (making sure they give free consultations/quotes) and pick their brains.


    Heidi
  8. 2way Technology

    2way Technology New Member

    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    3
    I have to add a comment to this.

    There are a number of 'cons' against White-Box. Personally I wouldn't ever recommend a White-Box (AKA 'Yum Cha') to any business.

    Why?

    1. Post Sales warranty. A White Box will never come with next-day business warranty offered by companies like HP, Dell etc. If you're running a business with a White-Box, you need to ensure it's working 100% of the time. Chances are if your White-Box dies, you'll spend more money trying to get it fixed - wouldn't you rather know you can call a vendor and they'll come out to your office the next day with a replacement if necessary?

    White-Box vendors typically rely on the manufacturers warranty of the individual components. e.g. if the Power Supply dies, they typically get 1 year warranty coverage, but the memory might have 3 or even 5 years. It's a matrix of what's covered and what's not and for how long. With something like a HP, it doesn't matter what component is faulty - they cover the unit as a whole so regardless of what component has failed, they'll replace it.

    2. Documentation and Supportability. A White-Box never comes with a document (let alone a comprehensive website) detailing what components have been used and a single point of information. This makes supporting the system at a later date extremely difficult. If you ask an IT provider to come and take a look at your White-Box PC, they have to spend time starting from scratch becoming familiar with the system - learning what it's made up of and what has been used inside (time you'll pay for).

    Difference being, if it's something like HP all they would have to do is visit the product page on the company website and they have all the information they need within 5 minutes. Not to mention people who can be called for further support and information.

    3. Availability of Components. If in future you need to replace a faulty component, let alone download a software driver - you'll spend twice as much time trying to find out what the component is then tracking down the manufacturer (of which most of the time they're Taiwanese without English websites) and then hopefully you'll get what you're after. It's not fun when you can't identify a hardware component during a system install.

    4. Hardware Compatibility. Most White-Box PC builders don't conduct the neccessary checks to ensure all of the components they've used will play nicely together. The amount of White-Box PCs I've had to diagnose with unexplainable bugs and glitches which turn out to be the result of a slight incompatibility between two pieces of hardware... It only takes a small hardware conflict to create a buggy and poor performing system.

    5. CNN (Cheap n' Nasty). Almost all the time cheap and nasty components are used in White-Box PCs - cheap motherboards, cheap power supplies, cheap network cards and cheap video cards. Half the time they're not even branded. This equates to poor quality systems and poor performance (much like bying an Acer) and typically cheap components don't last anywhere near as long. You have to remember, these PCs aren't built CHEAP without using CHEAP components.

    The amount of cheap White-Box PC cases I've had to work on where something as simple as a screw thread will strip out when trying to put the things back together is so annoying and it usually happens because the case hasn't been pressed properly and so screw holes don't align correctly resulting in bad fitment of the components. I've even had to drill extra holes and cut out sections of cases just to fit a standard sized power supply.

    6. Illegal Licenses. It's a common practice for Systems builders (big and small) to use illegal or counterfiet copies of Software such as Microsoft XP and Office. Even larger "trusted" companies that should know better have been caught and fined for distributing PCs with illegal copies of software.

    As a Microsoft partner we are well informed about Microsoft's activities in pursuing system builders selling computers with illegal and pirated software. If you want some interesting reading material with companies named and shamed, download the following documents.

    http://www.2way.net.au/downloads/Infringement_Alert_August_2007.pdf
    http://www.2way.net.au/downloads/Infringement_Alert_December_2008.pdf
    http://www.2way.net.au/downloads/Infringement_Alert_January_2007.pdf
    http://www.2way.net.au/downloads/Infringement_Alert_June_2008.pdf
    http://www.2way.net.au/downloads/Infringement_Alert_March_2008.pdf
    http://www.2way.net.au/downloads/Infringement_Alert_November_2007.pdf
    http://www.2way.net.au/downloads/Infringement_Alert_October_2006.pdf

    You'll be suprised at some of the Sydney companies that have been prosecuted.


    Overall, you need to weigh-up the cost difference AND the benefits between a $500 White-Box PC and an $800 - $1000 branded product (e.g. HP).

    I strongly beleive if you're using the computer for a business, chances are it's mission-critical. If the system becomes unavailable, how long can you hold off before it's restored?
  9. David Tulloh

    David Tulloh New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    If it's half the price, just buy two ;)
  10. SydneyWebService

    SydneyWebService Member

    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    Hi,

    If you are just starting and wondering what type of IT equipments you need to have, well I can only say that it really depends on the stretch of your budget. To me it really doesn't matter if it is a custom built or an off the shelf solution. What you need to do is really list everything that you need to do with your computer. I'd suggest to keep the list short and prioritize the importance softwares that support your day to day activities, such as accounting software, or essential office suites.

    If you are savvy enough with computer or willing to ask around when you have problems, commercial available software such as Microsoft office suite can easily be replaced with Open Office Suite, although with some pros and cons attached to it.

    If you are not willing to spend to much on computers (I wouldnt suggest you to spend too much on office computers anyway), there are always second hand options, although the warranties are the biggest issues, but then again, computers dont just break. The people that uses it that causes the computers crashed for example (of course this doesnt include spilling your coffee into your computer while trying to pick up the phone at the same time. Funny enough this happens to almost every person that I know, at least once :) )

    So really, with just $500 you can get a pretty good and working computer that would supports your day to day activities. If you are into second hand computers:

    Check on Grays Online, there are always good second hand computers that suit you (beware the expensive delivery cost though, compared to Ebay).

    Ebay is sometimes good too, but make sure you always have someone to ask to about the computer specs before you start bidding the items.

    Anyways....I can only write so much here, but if you'd like you can drop me an email anytime you want when you need advice.

    Lukas
  11. Glenn Wallace

    Glenn Wallace New Member

    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hi,

    If your system includes PC computers I have found recompute.com.au have great prices, have a good range to choose from on their website and they are very helpful.

    The are located in Bankstown Sydney and deliver Australia Wide.

    Regards,

    Glenn
  12. BrightSpark

    BrightSpark Member

    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    18
    I suggest you get in touch with a friendly local computer shop, staying away from the HN's and the like. Also buying a branded system doesn't mean that you won't get a lemon either. If you talk with your local person you can decide if you want to go a "no Frills" system, similar quality as a branded name or they can use even better quality products. The local bloke will also be able to deliver and setup your system as well. By getting it done right the first time you will save heaps over time.
  13. Heidi Price

    Heidi Price Member

    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    So tru BrightSpark!

    The only computer we do not have problems with (out of 4) is our purpse-built one. The other 3 are big-name brands and seem to all go out in sympthy together :(

    Heidi
  14. SteveDavidson

    SteveDavidson Member

    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    8
    It does very much depend on your business requirements.

    As a consultant, 90% of my business is mental. I can pretty much work from any computer and carry my entire set of documentation templates around on a USB chip the size of my fingernail. Practically any PC/printer combo will work for me.

    Other businesses might need computers for all kinds of things. Are you in retail? Are you tracking stock? Are you in IT services, maybe running domains and websites? If you're in graphic design, will you need good quality screens and a PC with lots of graphics grunt and storage space?

    Are you going to need a laptop to take on the road? What about backup systems? Offsite storage? Security aspects?

    Do you want/need to host your own website and email server? Will you need an FTP service? Are you going to need a fast internet connection, if you pull a lot of information off the net?

    And then there's software. Do you work with client files? Are you going to need compatible applications? Are there industry standards?

    Are you going to want/need a web-based ordering system making 24/7 sales for you? How about an in-stock indicator? Should you have an eBay storefront as well?

    The answers will be different depending if you're selling art, making custom origami, or booking children's birthday parties. One way to get a handle on requirements is to see what other providers in your or similar industries are using, and modify that to your own particular setup.

    Whichever situation applies, it'll generally be business driven for anything above and beyond the stock standard PC-with-internet used for keeping basic records, doing research, and sending/receiving email.
  15. No mans land

    No mans land Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    If you are asking these questions then you may have little knowledge of running a business. A small business course is worth its weight in gold.
    Basic book keeping is a must.

    IT will depend very very much on what business you are stepping into.

    http://www.sbdc.com.au/
  16. Heidi Price

    Heidi Price Member

    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    There is an old saying that the only stupid question is the one not asked


    Heidi
  17. No mans land

    No mans land Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    >>There is an old saying that the only stupid question is the one not asked<

    Yes that is entirely true. Its definitely not a stupid question. A very very good one.

    Even more so in a forum where people pull the information out of the following content applicable to them. :)

    People wishing to start a business should have good understanding of accounting and associated infrastructure prior to starting. :)
  18. Heidi Price

    Heidi Price Member

    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    And yet some of the most successful business people have no formal training or education.

    What they do have is an instinctive understanding of how to make a dollar work as hard as possible :)

    Oh, and the ability to see a setback as an opportunity


    Heidi
  19. No mans land

    No mans land Member

    Messages:
    34
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    6
    I hope I haven't been misinterpreted a condescending git?
  20. Heidi Price

    Heidi Price Member

    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Nah No mans land - hehe I just opinionated LOL

    I have formal qualifications - but have learnt MUCH more in the real world. Especially from my Grandfather who spent a life-time wheeling and dealing :)

    So while I see the benefits of study etc, for some people its just not necessary

    Heidi

Share This Page