Setting Up a New Venture: What You Need to Think About
When you set up a brand new business venture, there are a number of logistical elements to consider. You have to think about the network, phone and email systems, what kind of computers to use (along with storage) and how to organize finances. Though it may seem like (and certainly is) a daunting task, you can break it down by tackling each component individually, making the overall business picture far more manageable.
With any new venture, you must begin with a solid computer network in place. The first question to ask, here, concerns uptime. Do you need your network to be operational 100% of the time? The five 9s goal may meet your company’s needs, but you may also be able to give the network a break during off-hours (if your team takes weekends seriously).
Also, backing up your network is a definite must. Redundant connections within the network will allow for data to travel through separate pathways, so that in case one device or connection falls through, you’ll have others in place from which to access important data. Segmenting connections, on the other hand, allows you to differentiate between the traffic sent to disparate areas within the network. If you want to avoid network-wide traffic jams, segmenting may make for a more efficient system, letting you prioritize where information travels.
Furthermore, think about the size of your office. How big of a connection will you need to accommodate it? You can determine the maximum transmission unit (MTU) needed for your venture based on balancing efficiency and time. A larger MTU will allow for more data in each packet, but it also may hinder your network’s speed by tying up the modem for longer than a smaller MTU would.
Now that you’ve considered the network, let’s move onto the arguably the second most important method for communications—the phone. You have the option of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or standard telco. Though the traditional standard may have its place in some businesses, VoIP almost always makes the most sense. Transmitting calls over an IP network keeps you linked up to your computer system for maximum efficiency when it comes to company communications.
As far as email goes, you’ll most likely be the IT guy who keeps it in check, so you want a system that’s simple to support. Gmail definitely constitutes a crowd favorite these days because its format is easy to understand, and people are accustomed to it from personal use. Providing custom emails for your business and the ability to share calendars and documents also makes using Gmail an appealing option. Other web-based solutions, like Yahoo, are easy to support, as well.
At this point, you can get down to the fun part. What kind of computers will your company use? The obvious choice will leave you asking the now age-old question: Mac or PC? This depends on the software packages you require. Research which type of computer will best meet the needs of your company’s necessary software, but remember to consider that the cost of ownership usually favors Mac.
The important question of storage no longer points to endless filing cabinets. Rather, the cloud solution to storage will help put your business at ease when it comes to backing up work. Drop Box, Box.com, and other similar storage systems will remind you that it always pays to use a cloud solution from the get-go.
However, you have to be careful if your company stores Payment Card Industry (PCI) data. Sensitive customer data will require you to use a private cloud solution that encrypts PCI information. Also, consider whether multiple people in your business will be working on the same files simultaneously. If that’s going to be the case, you might want to look into hosted SharePoint. Hosted SharePoint unites files to make them easily accessible to everyone in the office. The platform will also let you cordon off sections to keep certain information accessible to the relevant team only.
Last but not least, your new venture needs a financial system. Most small businesses should start by using QuickBooks. The technology allows you to send invoices, scan receipts, take payments, and pay your employees, all the while tracking your sales and expenses. You’ll have a lot you need to focus on when setting up your business, so using QuickBooks will allow you to balance your checkbook without expending too much time and energy.
You now know the tools you need for turning your dream business into an organized and connected reality. Now all you have to do is get started…and be prepared to teach your employees how to navigate all these systems. If you hire smart people, they’ll quickly get the hang of it.
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About Michael Clapperton
Michael Clapperton is the CTO of IT Sigma. IT Sigma is a SaaS based Workflow and Business Process Management platform. They can be visited at www.itsigmapro.com. He is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, ITIL V3 Certified Expert and has 20 years of IT experience. He holds an MBA as well as post graduate work…