CEO's Start-Up Toolkit

At many start-ups, the hardest task isn't getting financing or finding office space or hiring a staff. It's buying technology: the nuts-and-bolts equipment that makes the company run. Stuff like computers and fax machines and scanners.

Why should picking out phones and printers give CEOs panic attacks? Because technology tools are among any business's biggest expenses. And costs will grow right along with the company. Mistakes -- the Web server that crashes under heavy loads or the "all in one" machine nobody knows how to use -- waste money. And technologies change faster than the prime-time TV lineup; this year's must-have doodad can be next year's dust collector.

So how do you choose?

We hope this special issue of Inc. Technology helps answer that question. First, follow two very different CEOs as they wade through dozens of options to outfit their businesses; you'll find their ultimate selections in " Beauty and the Best" and " A Soloist's Blueprint."

If you're purchasing equipment online, you can cut to the chase with our Best of the Web column on tech-buying sites. Want to do business online without spending a fortune to get there? Don't miss " Almost Free E-Commerce." " Cut-Rate Collaboration" will steer you to free intranet services, and " One-Stop Dialing" will introduce you to a whole new kind of telephone company.

Above all, we hope our package proves that stocking a start-up toolkit doesn't have to strain your patience or break your budget. In fact, you might even find it fun.