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Start up business owners have a lot on their plates, lets take legal firms for example.  They have to confirm work and new business, staff up, get office space, purchase computers and IT support, work out internet & telephone kinks, not to mention focus on billing to sustain the firm.  All this has to be done in a short amount of time and even shorter if a firm is splitting off from a larger firm.  Below, Rekall has compiled the 10 commandments for start-up businesses in terms of IT & technology.  As we all have noticed, we are relying more and more on technology to aid our work.  Technology has proven itself time and time again as a major tool in organization and safety.  Technology ensures our success in business and these 10 commandments for start-ups will explain why…

 

1. You have the option to view all office data & mail remotely from anywhere at any time.

There are many different ways to view office data and mail from anywhere both for free and pay services.  It helps if your out sick and have to get work done, or if you travel and must view an office document quickly.  With cellular data speeds increasing, mobility access is fantastic & cheap.  Large companies restrict this convenience, but that doesn’t mean you have to.  You have the technology and your the boss now!

 

2. Think of all your IT problems you faced at your old firm/company, ask your IT provider how they would fix them for you.

When choosing and IT provider for your new business, these are some good questions you can throw at them to see their skill level and also to get ideas for yourself and your new setup.  These are the people you will rely on for new and better ways to help you make money, you might as well learn as much as you can from them.  At the end of the day, theywant your businesses.  As long as you have questions, they should talk your ear off, and explain technologies in terms that you understand, no techno babel.

 

3. Consider secure offsite backup straight away, you should focus on billing, not swapping hard drives and hoping your data is secure.

Some companies like to buy 2 external hard drives, have someone in the office swap them everyday and take one home.  Some companies have no problem with leaving their office data backup responsibility to a secretary or assistant that they just hired last week.  Some companies backup their data every day with no viewing of backup reports to make sure the backup was even done successfully.  Some companies don’t realize that without securing their data, they might as well find a cup and go sit in the street.  Other companies choose secure online backup where a tech views daily backup reports, backups are done automatically every night, and there is no human intervention on behalf of the company staff or a tech whatsoever.  These companies prefer to focus on their business, not their technology.  We don’t have flying cars yet but technology has brought us the next best thing, automatic secure online backup, use it.

 

4. Tell your new IT provider what tech you hated about your old firm, and make sure you get exactly what you want.

The last thing you want is to get a whole bunch of tech that you don’t need because your IT guy thinks it’s cool.  Ask questions, get exactly what you want, be involved in the whole process.  Don’t leave it all up to a guy you just hired, he may be a screwball for all you know.

 

5. A big server investment is not always needed even though your old firm had one, technology hosting is more versatile & inexpensive these days when compared to when your old firm/company started out.

Depending on your users and software, in the beginning, you most likely will not need a traditional server.  Many times in an attempt to save money, a workstation is setup as an office server, shared out over the network, and is backed up on a daily basis.  Depending on your user base and the applications which you run network wide, there is no harm in this, and anyone who tells you different just wants your money.

 

6. Understand that you will be using technology every day to bill, work, contact clients and essentially build your business.  Do not go for the cheapest tech available.

We have seen this time and time again.  Clients who make technology decisions solely based on price.  If reliable technology was free, everyone would have it and we’d be out of business.  In the end you get what you pay for; learn about top tech then learn about the bottom tech.  Find yourself somewhere in the middle where functionality equals necessity.  At this point, see what the cost is compared to your IT budget and work from there.  Don’t start the process with a budget below sea level, and if this is really your budget, nothing beats a pen and paper.  Always remember, businesses spend more money in the long run switching and changing solutions than going with a good moderately priced solution in the beginning..  Not EVER has  IT services fallen off the back of a UPS truck like a DVD Player.  Don’t go into this investment looking for “the deal”, there’s a reason why Ron Popeil does not sell IT services.  The deal you should be looking for is a stable, suitable technology for you and your staff in the attempt to work, bill, increase productivity, and grow your business, that’s all.

 

7. Choose an iPhone or Android phone, stay away from the dreaded Blackberry.

Years ago when cellular mobility was hot and new, everyone went out and got a blackberry.  Business supported them and they cornered the market in smartphones.  Businesses didn’t mind that you needed to pay an extra $60 a month for corporate email services on your phone (Exchange) so they shelled it out because there was not really any other good alternative.  This was also the case because large corporations hosted their own blackberry servers to support all the handheld devices in the field.  Thank god times have changed, Blackberry sucks, their servers are clunky and take up space, and iPhone and Android are much more widely supported.  Their data plans are cheaper, their functionality is better and you don’t need a server to manage them.  If your leaving your firm or company to start a new one, throw your blackberry at your old boss and get an Android or iPhone.

 

8. If you’re coming from a large firm or company, understand that you will probably have to compromise on your technology wish list.

For law firms, some docket applications go for $100k and are generally adopted by large firms due to cost and added functionality.  For trade businesses, Autocad is $1,000 per user.  Technology is expensive and enterprise technology is even more expensive.  It is the job of your IT provider to find you cheaper equivalent solutions if they exist.  Be open to cheaper software alternatives, if your not flexible you may be out of business before you start.

 

9. Build a relationship with your IT provider, don’t be just another client.

Don’t let your relationship consist solely about your bill.  At the end of the day, you want to like who you work with and IT services are no different.  Having a good relationship with anyone goes a long way.  People like dealing with nice people, it feels good, and the positivity rubs off.  When you form a relationship with someone, that someone usually goes the extra mile, your on their mind often and are thought of as someone special not just another person.  Relationships bring on understanding during tough times and they make conversations easy and comfortable.  Now read those last few sentences over and substitute that person with an service company.  This is no different when speaking about a relationship with a service provider or specifically an IT provider.  Our work is very personal, we fix your problems, make your day go smoother, and provide relief during times of stress.  Let’s be honest, a good relationship opens door to advantages not had otherwise.  Perhaps a good relationship with your IT provider would get you better priority response, or even understanding on overdue bills in times of financial hardship.  There are no certainties with what you’ll get while having a good relationship with a services provider, one you rely on.  With that said, one thing is for certain, a good relationship with anyone can’t ever hurt you.

 

10. Reliable support is why you work with an IT company.

You choose an IT provider for their experience, track record, expertise in your industry, but most of all for their reliability.  Think about it, an IT service’s provider would not have any industry expertise, would not have a positive track record, and would not have much experience without being a reliable contact.  Reliability is the key to success in this industry and it separates the true professionals from the jokers.  How reliable is your IT provider?