by Joe Selzler
One of the most important parts of starting a new business is buying the necessary equipment for it. Modern equipment can be complex and expensive to buy, so purchasing it can be a serious business. There can, however, be a sense of excitement for us as we scour the catalogues and show rooms for the various pieces of furniture, fittings and tools that we will need to run our dream business. In most cases there is an abundance of choice and this adds to the fun as we investigate each item to determine if it will meet our standards and requirements. As the equipment goes in, the day of opening draws ever closer and we begin to anticipate the beginning of our adventure in business. We also begin to sense the importance equipment has in the success of our business. Perhaps we begin to realise some of the important factors involved in choosing equipment.
Do I need to buy a Sherman Tank?
With the wide range of materials available for construction equipment durability varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some manufacturers go for the Sherman Tank approach; that is, they will use the strongest of materials throughout every area of construction. Other manufacturers will try to keep their selling price low and as a result use the lightest and cheapest materials throughout construction. The best way to decide which make to choose is the "usage test"; how much will that particular piece of equipment be used. If it will receive heavy use, perhaps it is best to lean toward the Sherman Tank. On the other hand, if it will only be used occasionally, perhaps the lighter and cheaper make will be sufficient. However, very rarely is the lightest and the cheapest the way to go; such equipment will almost always fail to give sufficient performance.
When buying equipment we should consider this; if our equipment is always breaking down when we need it most, it will cost us time, money and possibly custom. Many experienced business people would probably agree that money is not saved when you buy the cheapest, because it will have to be replaced more often. Or, even worse, it could break and cause damage or injury, the cost of which could be far greater than the cost of even the most expensive piece of equipment. It is generally to our advantage to buy higher quality equipment, both in the quality of materials used in construction and in the quality of the workmanship that made it - not only for the sake of cost effectiveness, but also because it will leave us confident that it will be there when we need it.
Fading Into the Background
Our equipment should fade into the background as it does its job. As an example, display equipment should do its job so well that our customers will be drawn to what is being displayed and not to the equipment that displayed it. As we or our customers use equipment it should be such that it will almost not be noticed. How do we gauge whether equipment will be noticed or not? The best way is to try it out in the showroom first. Is that chair so awkward to sit in that you will be thinking throughout your meal how uncomfortable you feel rather than enjoying your food? It may look pretty and match the rest of the furnishings perfectly, but would you, as a customer, put yourself through agony to sit in a pretty chair? Regardless of the type of business we are engaged in, we provide some form of service to someone. The equipment we buy and use can have a direct effect on their confidence that we can provide that service effectively. That is why good equipment fades into the background -- it does its job without our customers being aware of it. They were only aware that they got good service, and only we know that the equipment played a part in ensuring that service. Cheap, unreliable equipment, however, will probably not do its job and our customers will be aware that they received inferior service. They will probably also be aware that a piece of equipment failed and contributed to our poor service.
Making Business a Pleasure
Whether we are taking part in business as the proprietor or as the customer, business can be fun and exciting. I find great pleasure in producing a nice dish in our cafe' in London and often my equipment has contributed to my success. I also enjoy seeing the pleasure on the faces of my patrons as they see what I have arranged for them and as they tell me how much they enjoyed it. I have to admit, though, that at times I have seen concern and confusion on their faces which has been due to some failure on my part. Sometimes that failure has been due to a piece of unsatisfactory equipment I have purchased. By putting care and thought into buying equipment we can avoid one source of disappointment and dissatisfaction, which makes doing business a burden rather than a pleasure. Of course we must avoid purchasing equipment that is more expensive than we can realistically afford. Going into great debt will only cause anxiety and make business even more of a burden. With thought and creativity however, we can find satisfactory equipment that will help give our business a lift and make doing business an adventure.
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