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Tech Essentials Startups come in all shapes and sizes, but for all their differences, there are some technological staples each company needs to survive.

You've got your brilliant entrepreneurial idea, your clear and concise business plan, and a place to set up shop. The electricity is turned on and the broadband connection is humming. So . what now? No matter what your line of business, there are 10 basic technological cornerstones no modern small business can function without. Here's the checklist of must-have hardware and software.

1. Desktop computer: The nexus of all business operations, regardless of who you are or what you do. It's easy to fall hard for the latest cutting-edge hardware, but don't lose sight of what's important--your computer is a business tool, not a gaming system or multimedia hub, so lean and mean is the way to go. That means keeping the focus squarely on the everyday workplace essentials like word processing, spreadsheets, Internet access and e-mail, none of which is particularly taxing for most modern PCs. Dual-core processors with at least 2GB of memory will meet the power and pricing requirements of most business users.

2. Laptop computer: Chances are you're going to take your work home with you--or to a meeting, to the coffee shop or even on vacation--so you need a laptop that's good to go, both literally and figuratively. Your laptop should do everything your desktop does to guarantee a seamless remote user experience, so look for comparable processing power and memory. But it's not just a desktop alternative, so performance isn't the only variable to consider: Size, weight, screen dimensions, battery life, wireless connectivity and durability are also critical components to factor into your purchase.

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