Is New Technology on Your Holiday Wish List? What to Do With the Old Stuff

Is new technology on your holiday wish list? Many small businesses make the decision to purchase new gadgets before the end of the year. Technology is a game-changer for small business. It levels the playing field. As recently as 10 years ago, who would have imagined our ability to communicate, learn and conduct business on a global level would be possible by simply using a smartphone or mobile device?

Small business owners, possibly more than any other entities, have reaped the rewards of this microtechnology on a grand scale. As the latest and greatest instruments of business and communication continue to improve at a rapid pace, it leaves many of us in an unusual predicament. To meet the demands of business, it's absolutely necessary to keep abreast of the technological trends driving the marketplace, i.e., upgrading your office equipment. That's the easy part. The challenge comes in when you have to figure out what in the world to do with that monstrous monitor or crushing copy machine. Throw them away? Give them away? Sell them? All of the above!

In order to decide which purge method is right for you and your business, you need to take a look at all of your options. Also, your specific geographic area may have rules and regulations on what you can and cannot do with your old stuff. But first things first: You have to take the time to clear any computers, scanners, copiers, cell phones (and literally anything going out the door) of sensitive information. Not doing so could be embarrassing at best and possibly even devastating to your business. If you have any doubts as to whether or not your equipment is "clean," call in a professional. It is well worth your time and money. Once that's completed, it's time to move 'em on out. Here are a few ways to do it.

You've decided the office equipment you want to get rid of is either too old or in such disrepair that it's no good to anyone. Before you head to the dumpster, you'd better check it out with your municipality, as many communities have a ban on doing so. Old office electronics often contain hazardous materials ranging from mercury to arsenic, and become toxic waste in landfills. It's just bad business for the environment. Fortunately, many companies will take those white elephants off your hands. In fact, Staples will take your old desktop, laptop, tablet computers and peripherals and recycle them for free! They'll also do the same for your eReader, shredder, battery backup, GPS, MP3 player, cordless phone and more. A simple Internet search will give you a wealth of options, many free of charge.

Should you decide to donate your old equipment to a nonprofit, many organizations, like Goodwill Industries, ILoveSchools, the Salvation Army and your local school districts, will accept office equipment. The items will either be put up for resale at low prices, or given away to people in need. This is a win-win for your business, as you may even qualify for a tax deduction (Talk to your tax professional).

If you've simply upgraded your office technology, selling your used office equipment is a great solution for your business. Offer items to your employees first, as they may have the perfect spot for that older tablet or desktop at home. Craigslist is another great way to sell used technology and furniture for a number of reasons; the biggest being that it's free to list. Finally, consignment shops will often take your items for resale, charging a percentage of the profit as commission.