Contents: Accessibility | What you can do | Related Equipment | Benefits | Learning
A computer is a tool. It can save you time and when used correctly, add professionalism to your output that simply was not previously available to Micro businesses. Technology is the main development that has allowed for the successful growth of Micro and Home Based Businesses over the last 10 years.
- Computers are very affordable, with prices decreasing constantly (5 years ago you would pay in excess of $3,000 for a PC. A powerful computer can now be purchased for under $2,000)
- Easier to use — Software development actually teaches you how to use the computer as you progress
- Smaller — Size is constantly decreasing, enabling you to fit more equipment (eg. Scanner, modem, printer, etc) into smaller space.
- Portable — Laptops have more power than the first space shuttle!
What you can do
- Not only can you type, but you can delete and cut and paste on the screen, without the worry of making mistakes to final documents.
- You can automatically set margins, headings, font type and size, templates, etc
- You can develop a professional appearance by changing fonts, adding colour, watermarks or a border, etc.
- There are numerous programmes that give you animation and graphics simply and effectively eg. Publisher, Power Point, Pagemaker, etc.
- Maintain lists, search on specific data eg. Post code, keywords, etc, and print out information (lists, labels, etc)
- Handle complex calculations instantly eg. Statistics and mathematical calculations
- Accounting/bookkeeping packages can automatically work out GST, summarise income and expenditure, etc.
- Allows you to see at a glance how much you owe and how much is owed to you (keeping constant control of cash flow)
- Flow charts, pye and bar graphs, etc can be used to give visual support to a presentation or allow you to see more easily what your business growth and direction is.
- Printers come in many shapes, sizes and prices. Printers suitable for Micro businesses can cost under $200 or around $1,000
- Printers can be bubble jet or laser
- They can print in colour and can speed print with an immediate dry surface
- Printers allow you to achieve a very professional finish to your work
- Allow you to add photos, artwork, pre printed material, etc, to your presentation
- You can communicate with other computers. The most common use is for e-mails and the Internet
- You don’t need film. The image is stored on a disc, which your computer reads and prints out for you. The image can be added to text to create cards, letters, promotional material, etc
- You can play your musical CD’s on your computer! There are many CD’s designed to give you added information eg. Encyclopedias, clip art, telephone directories, etc. You can also ‘cut’ your own CD, combining text, graphics and sound to produce exciting promotional material
The investment to purchase hardware, software and training can certainly be justified in the enormous savings to Micro Businesses.
For those business operators who would prefer to rent, they can save on the Capital outlay and can upgrade or add to the original package without any penalties. Of course, payments are 100% tax deductable and the GST portion is immediately claimable.
Micro Business operators are usually a ‘Jack or Jill of all trades’ having to cope with many skills and jobs. The computer allows them to do this with more speed and more professional output.
Imagine the saving to you if you:
- Produce your ‘own’ business cards, brochures, flyers, and presentations. No big runs necessary, no debate on colour, fonts, layout, etc
- Have your accounts presented in their correct format so that your accountant simply has to check and sign off on them (at $100 per hour for accountants, what a saving!)
- Can research your competitors, place orders with suppliers, take orders, check on government regulations — at a time to suit you, without leaving your office (no travel costs, no inconvenience, no time taken from your work day, etc). The Internet lets you do this.
- Meet GST deadlines of 21 days from the end of the tax period (no fines or interest added, as you won’t be overdue)
As with most learning, some time has to be given to acquiring new skills. It has nothing to do with age or gender — it has everything to do with desire and determination to improve your business skills.
Trainers will come to your office to teach you the skills you need. Don’t have long sessions, or try to learn too much at once — you will simply forget most of it. Learn what you need when you need it. There are training kits on CD and Internet sites, which will teach you by sight and sound. There is no excuse not to be able to use a computer.