Small firms may not have the buying power of larger practices, but they have a number of tools and resources available to improve this fundamental business activity. Here are six tips to help you maximize your purchase power and avoid buying blunders:

1. Buy business technology, not equipment intended for family use. The “small medium business” (SMB) market for technology vendors is growing, and they are designing products with configurations that focus on networking and productivity, not entertainment and games. For example, you can select and customize a Dell Inc. Dimension E521 desktop PC from its Web site. Home users are prompted to add a TV controller and photo printer; small business customers see laser printers and shared network storage options.