In the last 30 years, I have worked for employers as small as a guy running a pizza shop out of his garage office to as large as a 10 million dollar partnership with 200 employees in six states. As the top accounting professional for my employers, I have seen what is bought and, more importantly, what is used by these small businesses. Certain supplies are necessary for any business to succeed, but they can be fewer in number and less expensive than you might think.
A new small business needs a way to communicate with customers and vendors. A pre-paid cellphone is the least expensive solution. You can buy one at any big box store, and most cellular providers also offer their own version. Buy one that can text and can send and receive e-mail. You will pay for the service you use with this type of plan. If your usage grows, you can then look into a plan from a cellular provider. A start-up does not need a landline, nor does it need to be tied into a cellular plan.
The Internet, websites, e-mail and social media are free for a small business if you plan correctly. You do not need a computer system. Public libraries, senior centers and state unemployment offices all have computers that can be used within limits. Free e-mail accounts are available from most major web portals, and there are many places where a new business can create a simple website for free as well.
Facilities and Location
Does your small business start-up need a physical location? That depends on what you are selling. It is possible to run many types of small business without an office or a storefront. That means that you do not need office furniture like a desk, file cabinets, chairs or neon signs.
You will need a mailing address, for the government if for no other reason. There are a number of businesses that offer mailing addresses as part of their mailing and parcel services. You do not have to purchase office space to have a street address for your business.
Any business can be run out of a cigar box. To be politically correct, you could also use a shoe box or an inexpensive tin cash box. Small business finance is not about what you put your money in, but about the money going in, and more importantly, out.
One essential resource for a small business startup is money. You will begin with putting some capital into your business, and probably put more in over time. As you pay bills, the goal is that there will always be cash left in the cigar box.
You will need to keep records of the cash in and out. The government will insist on it. You do not necessarily need a computer with an accounting program. All you need is a couple of sharpened pencils with erasers, and a pad of paper that you can write on.
Add in the cash that comes in. Subtract out the cash that goes out. Use a small calculator for better accuracy. The government likes accuracy. Keep the receipts from cash spent in an envelope in the cigar box.
There you have it, the necessary supplies for a small business start-up. A cell phone, a box to keep money in, cash to begin with, a cheap calculator, a couple of pencils and a pad of paper.