1. Wireless all-in-one fax, copier, scanner and printer
Today's all-in-one machines are cheap (anywhere from $200 to $400), take up little space in the office and even allow someone to conduct business while out on the road -- some receive emailed documents and print them, for instance.

Having an all-in-one machine will be less expensive and can be more reliable than having one device for each function, says home-office expert and SCORE consultant Lisa Kanarek, whose website Working Naked offers tips to home-office workers.

Whereas in the past small-business owners may have had to buy separate paper and ink cartridges for each type of machine, now "it's all the same," she says. "It saves money and it saves space."

And if something does happen three, four or five years down the road, buying a new machine won't break the bank, Kanarek says.

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