When planning to set up a small office there are essential items that should be considered.
Space is not considered an issue these days as most filing is done electronically, but space will still be required for a desk containing a computer, printer, telephone, stationery and a scanner.
This will singularly be the most expensive item required, although there is no need to go with the latest specification Apple computer, as long as it is capable of running an accounts package and an office suite that includes word processing, spreadsheet and email facilities. A broadband Internet service is essential, as is a trusted anti-virus program. Without anti-virus protection there is a risk of the computer becoming infected and passing viruses on to clients. A tablet could be used in place of a computer, or even a smartphone, providing you have access to an office suite of software. It is much easier to use a full sized keyboard for typing letters and emails though, especially if there are a lot of them to get through. Documents do not necessarily have to be stored on the device, in fact it is probably safer to store then online using cloud services as that way they will always be accessible should you need to replace your equipment. At one time a fax machine was considered an essential piece of office equipment, but these have now been largely replaced because you can send a fax online.
This will be essential for printing address labels, invoices and other documents for clients. While most documents can be sent electronically these days there are still requirements for hard copies. It is worth considering an all-in-one device to save on space, these combine a printer and a scanner in one. Many good makes include HP,
The scanner can be used to digitise documents that can then be filed electronically or sent via email. Consider the cost of replacement ink cartridges before purchasing a printer or all-in-one device as sometimes it can look like a good deal but the cartridges end up costing more than the actual device.
When first setting up there is no need to invest in expensive stationery when cheap stationery is adequate. As well as standard letter size and A4 envelopes, you will require A4 paper, pens, pencils, a ruler, correctional fluid, an eraser, pencil sharpener, sellotape, a stapler, hole punch, a marker pen, paper clips, highlighter pens, scissors and a calculator. These should be the basic tools to assist you in day to day tasks.
A mobile / cellular phone is all that is required for taking and receiving calls. If you are using a smartphone as a computer you could use that, but there is the risk of losing work if you are working on a document when a call comes in. This kind of set up is more suited to a portable office, perhaps someone is travelling around between meetings. Again, if you are using one device for multiple uses it is advisable to get a backup phone and / or replacement batteries if possible in case of failure. There is an old saying that if you fail to prepare then you prepare to fail, and this is particularly true with technology.