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9 Basic Office Supplies Every Business Needs

by Martin Lieberman, Staples® Contributing Writer

Now that your small business is big enough for you to have an actual office, it’s time to celebrate! And it’s also time to think about the office supplies, furniture and other essentials you need to keep your business operations running as smoothly as possible.

What are those basic office supplies you need? Take a look at this list of essentials:

1. Desk Supplies

Start with the real basics. We’re talking pens, tape, highlighters, paper clips, scissors, a trash can, etc. — all the various things you take for granted, but that you need for getting work done. They will enable you to take notes, be creative and go about your normal daily business.

2. Technology

Even if you have a tablet or a powerful mobile phone, having a laptop computer or desktop makes running a business easier. Sure, you can balance your bank account and launch marketing campaigns right from the palm of your hand, but if you use any kind of proprietary software or perform more advanced tasks, you’ll need a computer. In addition to greater functionality, your computer can be used for storing important documents and backing up your mobile devices if you don’t feel comfortable with storing all your data in the cloud. While you’re at it, don’t forget a printer and a wireless router to keep all your devices connected — with each other and to the Internet.

3. Apps & Software

Regardless of your device, you’re going to need software and/or a few apps to help you manage your business, and handle tasks like tracking customer payments or client invoices, scheduling appointments, maintaining a Web site or blog, monitoring your social media presence and doing your taxes.

4. Paper

Now you’ll need things to write and print on. Stock up on notebooks, notepads, sticky notes and paper for your printer and copier. (And make sure your printer and copier have plenty of ink and toner so your pages don’t stay blank and you’re never in a lurch before a major presentation.)

5. Organization Supplies

Staying organized is essential, so have a stapler and binder clips handy to keep your various documents and printouts together. Add some folders — both regular file folders and the hanging kind — so you don’t lose important paperwork, such as personnel files or legal documents.

6. Office Furniture & Storage

Where will you sit? Where will you file away your folders? Whether you choose to completely furnish your office or just want a comfortable office chair and a functional desk, you’ll need office furniture (including storage pieces) to help you work more effectively and give your space a more professional feel.

7. Stationery & Mailing Supplies

When it comes time to send mail — invoices, paychecks or payments, promotional offers and other documents — you’ll need something to send it in. Stock up on envelopes (closed and window types, letter size and manila) and postage.

8. Time Tracking & Planning

The busier you get, the more important time management becomes. Even if you have a calendar on your mobile phone that’s synced with your office calendar, it’s always good to see things visually in relation to your other goings-on. That’s why we recommend buying a calendar or planner to hang on your wall or keep on your desk for tracking all your appointments, deadlines and to-do list items.

9. Supplies for Hanging

Make your office more appealing and functional by using pushpins and thumbtacks to hang signage, photos, art, a calendar and brainstorming notes on your walls. 

It's All about Building a Foundation

It doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant, a plumber or a florist — some office supplies are used by everyone. Start with this list as your foundation and keep on growing from there.

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