Offices & Operations mentor Mie-Yun Lee responds to the following question from an user:
We are in the process of setting up an office. What things should I be careful to not forget?

Mie-Yun Lee's response:You may have already decided on specific items such as computers, a phone system, a printer, and a fax machine. But here are a few points to remember when thinking about each.

Computers. These days, I recommend that you get computers that run at least a Pentium III 450 MHz processor and have a minimum 10-gigabyte hard drive. That way you can run multiple applications and store files without a problem. And if you plan on having the computers networked, either now or in the next 6 to 12 months, the computer should have a built-in Ethernet connection.

Phone system. If you want voice mail, make sure that the phone system supports it, even if you don't buy it right now. In my experience, too many businesses have had to throw away their phone system because they could not add voice mail to it.

Printer.Don't forget to factor in the cost of toner when comparing ink-jet vs. laser printers. You'll probably find a laser printer to be more cost-effective overall than an ink-jet one, even if it's more expensive up front.

Fax machine. If you expect to receive a lot of faxes daily, you'll need a dedicated fax machine -- not just a printer that includes faxing as one of its functions.

In addition, I also suggest that you do the following:

  • Make plans to back up your computers at least weekly (preferably daily).
  • Plan well ahead when ordering phone lines. You may be surprised at how long this can take to set up.
  • Keep temperature in mind if you expect to be using a server for your computer network. You need a cool place for the server to live. Believe me, it's not a pretty sight when the switches or servers fail because of overheating.
  • Look into a high-speed Internet connection. It is essential for almost any business. You don't want to waste time waiting for pages to load.
  • Buy business insurance. It's easy to overlook the financial requirements that come with owning a business, but they are critical.
  • Help out your mailman. Label the inside of your mailbox with the names of everyone and every company name under which you might receive mail.

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