ELLTX Computers

The Ultimate Small Business Computer Buying Strategy:

Making Informed Decisions for Success

.Difficult decision making in the office

In today's digital age, having a reliable and efficient computer system is essential for small businesses. However, with the myriad of options available, choosing the right computer equipment for your specific needs can be a daunting task. That's why having a well-defined buying strategy is crucial. In this article, we will explore the best small business computer buying strategy to help you make informed decisions that will set your business up for success.

Assess Your Needs

Before embarking on your computer-buying journey, take the time to assess your business's specific requirements. Consider factors such as the type of work you do, the software you rely on, and the number of users who will be utilizing the computers. By understanding your needs, you can prioritize the features that matter most and avoid overspending on unnecessary specifications. Take the time to prioritize the various employee roles and how they relate to needed computer processing power. 

Set a Realistic Budget

Setting a budget is an essential step in any purchasing decision. Small businesses often have limited resources, so it's crucial to allocate funds wisely. Determine the maximum amount you are willing to invest in computers while considering your current financial situation. Remember, striking a balance between price and performance is key.

Choose the Right Form Factor

Small businesses typically have limited office space, so choosing the appropriate form factor is important. Consider whether a desktop, laptop or a combination of both would best suit your needs. Desktops generally offer more power and flexibility for complex tasks, while laptops provide portability for those who work on the go. Opting for a mix of desktops and laptops can provide the best of both worlds. Always lean toward a desktop over a laptop. Laptops are cool and it's a nice thought that you can pack it up and go if you need to, but do you ever NEED to? Portable computers that sit on a desk and never go anywhere are a waste of money, especially if they are attached to an external monitor, keyboard, and mouse. 

Desktop machines are far less expensive when comparing specs, are more upgradable, more easily repaired and almost always last longer. If desk space is the issue then never fear, the industry has solved that with a line of very good but very small desktop computers. Some are even smaller than a laptop because they don't have a screen.

Research and Compare Specifications

Once you have identified your needs and budget, dive into thorough research to compare different computer specifications. Pay attention to key components such as the processor, RAM, storage capacity, graphics card, and display quality. Consider the software requirements of your business and ensure that the chosen computers meet or exceed those specifications.

Evaluate Reliability and Durability

Reliability and durability are paramount for small businesses, as any downtime can have significant repercussions. Look for reputable brands known for producing reliable machines with a proven track record. Read customer reviews and ratings to gauge user satisfaction and long-term reliability. Additionally, consider warranties and customer support options to ensure you have the necessary assistance if any issues arise.

I suggest when doing office computer upgrades it's a good practice to keep at least one of the newer or more powerful old computers in the back room as a backup should disaster strike any employee. While resolving whatever the issue is you can pop out the old machine and get that employee back to work right away. And now you have time to properly evaluate the problem and then fix or replace the machine that went down on you. 

Future-Proofing and Scalability

Investing in technology that will remain relevant in the future is crucial for small businesses. Anticipate potential growth and consider scalability options when choosing computers. Ensure that the chosen machines can accommodate upgrades such as additional RAM or storage, allowing your business to adapt to changing needs without requiring complete replacements.

For small businesses, there is the option of purchasing refurbished or off-lease computers. These are typically a few generations old but still very capable machines for most office use. The big difference besides being half the cost is that you will want to replace them more frequently due to the fact that they were already slightly behind the curve when you got them. 

At the time of this writing, a new business class general office computer runs around $800 to $1,000 and a good refurbished or off-lease machine runs $300 to $500.  You can even get them with 1 or 2-year warranties if you wish it. So you can see that if you are buying 10 or 20 workstations that would be a very substantial savings with virtually no downside to it.

I tend to recommend the off-lease machines but also add to each an uninterruptable power supply. (UPS) This not only protects data when a power outage happens but these units clean the normally very "dirty" power going into the computer which extends its life and reduces the likelihood of a failure. And good UPS for a workstation runs somewhere just under $100. The batteries in them tend to last about 2 years so when the battery needs replacing it's also a good time to consider replacing the off-lease machine.  Or maybe it's still plenty good to go for another 2 years.

Energy Efficiency and Environmental Impact

As sustainability becomes increasingly important, considering energy efficiency and environmental impact is a responsible business decision. Look for computers with Energy Star certification, as they are designed to consume less energy while still providing optimal performance. By reducing energy consumption, you not only contribute to a greener environment but also save on utility costs in the long run. You won't have to look hard for this feature as almost all computer equipment is Energy Star certified these days. You do want to make an effort to configure the operating systems on these machines to behave in an energy-efficient manner which can also extend their life.

Test and Evaluate

Before making a final decision, consider testing the computers whenever possible. This could involve visiting a physical store or requesting demos from vendors. By experiencing the devices firsthand, you can assess factors such as ergonomics, ease of use, and user experience. Involve key team members in the evaluation process to gather different perspectives. 

This is mostly important for Laptop machines because they come with different keyboard layouts, different port layouts, and lots of different weights and sizes. All these things make them a much more personal preference purchase. With Desktop machines it's more about getting the right amount of processing power for each user's needs.

Consider Software and Peripheral Compatibility

Ensure that the chosen computers are compatible with the software and peripherals you rely on for your business operations. Check system requirements and compatibility lists to avoid any unforeseen compatibility issues. This step is crucial to guarantee seamless integration of your existing tools with the new hardware. Did you know that most desktop workstations do not have Wi-Fi built in? So if you are thinking everyone will just use the Wi-Fi to connect you might be in for a rush for additional purchases and installation of Wi-Fi adapters for your new desktop computers.

Seek Expert Advice

If you're uncertain about any aspect of the buying process, don't hesitate to seek expert advice. Consult with IT professionals, technology consultants, or experienced vendors who can provide valuable insights and guide you toward the most suitable options for your small business. Many small computer companies will provide a free evaluation and even give you a quote for the equipment with installation and setup. Then you can use that to shop around if you are so inclined or compare it buying similar off-lease machines.

There are many very good reasons to find and maybe even contract with a good local computer service provider. It can relieve your company of a lot of time-consuming and even downtime expenses. Outsourcing your IT support is well worth investigating. 


Purchasing computers for your small business requires careful consideration and a well-defined buying strategy. By assessing your needs, setting a realistic budget, and researching thoroughly, you can make informed decisions that align with your business goals. Remember to prioritize reliability, future-proofing, and scalability while considering energy efficiency and compatibility. Following this comprehensive small business computer buying strategy will ensure that you invest wisely, setting your business up for success in the long run.