When a business decides to change its location for any reason, there are several important points that one must consider before physically moving equipment into an office that has not been fully inspected by an IT professional. The needs of your business may vary greatly from those of the previous tenant. In addition to this, your own needs may change as your company expands, evolves, or even changes its business plan in the future. The intention of this article is to inform you of the problems that may arise in the process of moving to a new location.
- 1. Assumption Leads to Consumption…of Your Company’s Bottom Line.
The biggest mistake that can be easily avoided in location change is to assume that the infrastructure of the cabling will accommodate your needs according to a visual inspection of the office. For example, in a walk through you may notice that there are several pre-installed outlet jacks in many areas throughout the rooms of the office. A common assumption is that because your cables can pop right into them that the jack will provide the necessary networking for your business. You may even be impressed by the fact that a category 5 jack is located right beside the receptionist’s desk. The reality is that the prior tenant may have used dsl lines to connect to the internet, then, the cables installed may not be the kind of quality your business needs to run efficiently. The most common and costly problem with pre-wired offices is that the cabling is not able to transmit the speed of bandwidth that your company requires. As a great example, if a telecommunications company is moving into an office previously occupied by a real estate company FIFTEEN YEARS AGO. Upon further investigation, it turned out that the location was completely wired using category 3 cables. These particular cables are unable to perform at the speeds in which VoIP and high speed internet require to function smoothly.
- 2. Loss of Production Due to Not Planning Ahead.
Now having taken pitfall number one in account, then imagine that rather than having the office re-wired prior to your move, you decide that you want to get in and live as soon as possible. After having waited ridiculous wait times for your internet downloads, dropped calls with low quality and having your email crash for the tenth time that week, you decide maybe it is time to have your office overhauled. But now, the computers are all in and the ceiling tiles need to be taken down. Your system will be shut off for whatever amount of time is necessary to have new cables pulled through the ceiling, cut, cropped and re-snapped back into place, and then the network checked for connectivity flaws. Any amount of downtime is a loss of money to your company, when you could have simply had the location wired in advance and only have had to pay an addition couple of weeks to stay in the old address. To top things off, the IT guy charges you three times more than he would have had he been able to get in without disconnecting all your employees’ computers and peripherals. Then,your wiring bill triples and you also have your company disconnected for an undetermined amount of time.
- 3. Limiting Your Potential By Trying To Cut Costs.
Once you have determined that your new place needs a network makeover, it is a common mistake to try to cut corners in your installation. Everyone wants it done cheaply, but they want it done correctly. You can find network professionals who do excellent work but limit their contribution by trying to talk down the price. Nobody wants to be told they need $10,000 before you can even get your employees on the phone. Most cable installers charge by the outlet or line, so you decide to only get just as many as you are currently using. In reality, it is as easy to place 3 lines in an outlet as it is to install 1. It is much better to maximize your output in advance, so that expanding in the future can be seamless. Rather than trying to lower your installation price by cutting corners, learn a little bit about the topic and talk your contractor down on price.
- 4. Spending Extra Money to Have a Consultant Make Decisions For You.
By not using a consulting firm to evaluate your new space’s needs and abilities, you can save thousands by reading up on the topic for yourself, as aforementioned. Many of these firms will contact you as soon as they are informed that your business is moving. Know what your future needs may be projected to be and buy your servicing according. By having extra lines installed in each outlet you guarantee that making your company bigger will not require another installation, essentially removing a fixed ceiling from your investment. Consulting companies are not experts in networking and tend to gravitate their focus on your future business plans, therefore, they may be useful in some aspects of growing your company but when it comes to the physical networking the only thing they will do is hire another company to do this for them and charge you a commission on top of that.
- 5. Being Unable To Use the Latest Technology to Further Your Business Due to Lack of Knowledge.
It is quite obvious that with technological advances comes the ability to perform faster, more efficiently, and multi-task in ways you never could before. With a well programmed Voice over Internet Protocol system installed in your office, there are no limits when it comes to communication. ‘Not being at your desk’ is a thing of the past. One of the many great features about switching your company over to a completely internet/T1 system is the ability to be available anytime, anywhere. If you decide to take a long lunch but you are also expecting an important client to contact you, all you need to do is have your calls re-routed to your cellular phone. Your line back at the office rings 3 times, and then automatically sends the call to your cell phone. In this way, you will never lose a big account just because you weren’t sitting by your phone. While you are moving your business, you can have ALL calls routed, avoiding downtime altogether.
- 6. Having Quality Suffer Due to Bidding Wars.
This goes without saying, but it is always important to compare quotes to get the most “bang for your buck.” But this does not mean to go with the network specialist who is giving you the lowest price. In fact, your best bet is to take the most reputable company’s quote and pick it apart to find out exactly what you need and what you will be getting for their price. In many cases their quote will be by far the highest. This DOES NOT mean that they are the only ones who will give you quality. It simply means that they have excellent references, experience, and seniority. Once you see what is expected for the price, settle on a company that will give you that at a fair price. There is no shame in shopping around, but the market is so competitive that you can easily get the same quality of service from a newer company that charges less. The bottom line is, don’t skimp on quality (or quantity) but don’t be gouged either. A little knowledge, coupled with instinct and trust, can go a long way.
- 7. Losing Profit Due Your Staff’s Weaker Links.
It isn’t fair (and then nothing in life really is) but truthfully, many employees cannot be trusted to focus on your company’s profit merely because you pay them. A handful of fortunate people work with only people they trust implicitly and they are a fortunate few. In many cases however, people only work as hard as they have to in order to make as much as they can. A well designed system allows you to be in control of how your employees use their time. Many new programs exist that, when coupled with a efficiently installed internet system, basically allow you to monitor EVERYTHING. You can listen in on phone calls, pull up minutes used and numbers called, and even show you, in real time, who is on the phone with whom and for how long. Before you begin your move you can consult with your cable installer about available programs that allow you to be aware of everything that is going on in your company, even on your smart phone. Many different aspects of the industry affect how your company grows and it gives business owners piece of mind to know that they have access to information through a simple user friendly interface that is easy to learn. With advances in technology, the sky is the limit for small companies to mimic large industries in a matter of months. It comes down to using all the tools available to you to ensure that productivity is the number one concern. With a few weeks of planning and a couple of hours invested in knowledge, you are only limited by what you are willing to do to get what you want. There will always be pitfalls, there will always be problems. It is how you handle a situation that determines who you are, and being able to succeed is only limited by your ability to evolve. If you are planning to move or expand your company, congratulations. And thank you for taking the time to read my article.