With the end of the first quarter in sight and with economic indicators continuing to look positive, businesses may finally be ready to pull the trigger and replace their worn business technology equipment. Regardless of whether you are looking to move your business computing to the Cloud or to upgrade your computers, servers, smart phones or any other equipment, before taking the plunge I recommend that you follow the tips below.

  • Understand the technology requirements of your business. Talk with your employees and develop a list of needs they have for any equipment you are considering.
  • Check with all the members of your team and other colleagues to see what kind of technology they are using.
  • Think about hiring a consultant to advise you on a short term basis on what might be the best fit for your business.
  • Carefully research the technology you are considering. Invest some time reading reviews by analysts and professional reviewers such as CNET, PC Magazine, Small Business Computing, eWeek and Consumer Reports.
  • Remember the cheapest solution may not be the best fit. If you are planning on keeping your technology for three years or more, make sure you opt for the “best solution” for your needs. Determine what your new equipment will be worth in three to five years.
  • Make sure you understand the projected life span of the equipment you are considering. This will not only help you plan for the future but might also help you decide on how to finance the equipment.
  • Choose your equipment vendor wisely. With all the easy comparison shopping that is available online, make sure to compare costs and warranties across multiple vendors. You don’t want to pay too much, and neither does your financier.
  • Consider grouping multiple items together for the best financing deal.
  • Understand Section 179 benefits. Section 179 allows businesses to deduct the cost of qualifying businesses equipment placed in service in 2012 up to $125,000. Unless Congress acts, the deduction will drop significantly to just $25,000 in 2013.
  • Carefully investigate your financing options. To learn more about equipment leasing and its benefits, you can read my post “10 Leasing Tips Every New Business and Start-up Should Know.”

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