As a small business owner for over 20 years, Kim has partnered with quite a few hardware/software vendors and companies. Not only are these three companies sponsors of The Kim Komando Show and Komando.com, but we're their customers as well.
Dell, Epson and Capterra have come to be Kim's trusted go-to hardware/software partners and have played a key role in making her business go round, in one form or another. These are the companies we partner with at Komando, and Kim hand selects her sponsors because she trusts them to support all things Komando.
So, if you're looking for a hardware partner for computers and servers for your business, or a printer that will help reduce ink costs, or you need software solutions -- and who doesn't? -- read on.
Key things to know when buying a server
This is a photo of the servers at Komando.com. Yes, we really do use Dell.
"When it came time to buy servers I went with Dell," Kim said.
We asked our own John Davila, whose official title is systems administrator, but we like to refer to him as our IT Super Hero, to give us three things you should consider when shopping for servers to support your business:
- You have options for your servers: Use a physical dedicated server, rent one from a data center, or rent a cloud instance (which is a shared resources with others).
- You have options for backups: Physical device (on or offsite), backup cloud instance, or hybrid of both, if one goes offline for any reason.
- Consider scalability: Your hardware needs to grow with your business, especially if you start getting more traffic.
We went with Dell because they pride themselves on providing their customers with security, manageability, and reliability. Moreover they produce the latest technology that is most relevant to their users.
What to look for in a printer to cut printing costs
Our VP of production services, Mike James, uses the Epson 4750 every day. He rarely has to fill the tank with ink.
The Epson EcoTank may come in various shapes and sizes, but one constant is its ability to make printing easier and affordable over an extended period of time. How? It's all about the ink. Great quality, speed, easy set-up and WiFi have become par for the course when it comes to shopping printers today. However, when it comes to ink, the EcoTank has taken a unique approach.
As opposed to using small, pre-filled cartridges that must be regularly and expensively replaced, Epson's EcoTank printers use built-in reservoirs, which hold greater amounts of ink. Instead of buying and snapping in new cartridges when you run out of ink, just pour more in. Furthermore, each printer comes with up to two years of ink, which is equivalent to 30 cartridge ink sets.
How do we compare options when we need new software solutions?
Let's be honest, looking for software is an unpleasant and often difficult process. You may have heard of a few pieces of software, but you're not an expert on all of them and you don't know which one best fits with your business. So, when we need software solutions, we turn to Capterra. Capterra is a free B2B software guide that helps businesses find the right software for their needs. It allows users to browse and compare software across a multitude of services and categories.
For example, we recently used Capterra when we were looking for a suitable project management tool. We looked at several options, including Monday.com, Wrike, Workfront, Trello, Slack and Airtable. We ended up trying Airtable, which we've liked. Airtable is a user friendly spreadsheet app that acts as a database which businesses can use for customer relationship management, project/task management and inventory tracking.
Capterra serves as a one stop resource that saves you time comparing and contrasting a vast range of software options. Instead of visiting 10 websites from 10 separate companies, you need only visit Capterra's website, which provides side-by-side comparisons and user reviews.
Some other things you might want to use Capterra for -- chose 3-4 that might be common to a small business. Suggestions: Go to https://www.capterra.com/categories and then select a category, then read the blurbs, check the boxes to do side-by-side comparisons. Include screenshots.