New Business Location? What You Need to Know!
It's simultaneously very exciting and stressful to be leasing or purchasing a new business. So many items to check of the list once the paperwork is signed. Do you have all the office furniture you'll need? Computers and printers? Get the Internet service ordered, the power and water in your name if necessary. Decide on what kind of phone service you want and get that ordered; get your existing phone number ported. Which alarm company should you go with? But here's the one item almost no remembers to check - once your desks are in place and the computers are setup is the existing network going to be ready for your office to up and running? Are there a network connections in the locations you’ve put the desks? Or in the hallway by the shared printer? No!!!
But wait, the lessor said it would be ready to setup an office?
And what does the Internet Service Provider mean they've completed the install of my Internet and the equipment is in the "telco closet" now I should have my IT company finish whatever setup I need? WTH is a telco closet?
This is a situation that happens all the time. Business owners not realizing what goes into a fully functioning computer network. And why would most business owners know about that, for the most part
you don't see it; as long as it's working properly you don't think about it.
So how do you prevent the last minute realization that there is an issue with getting everyone connected in the office and online? Call in an IT company early. During one of your walk throughs have an IT company meet you at your new location. Go over where the existing ports are and verify they are working. Decide if this works for your planned office layout. Decide how you want your network to run, do you want it all fully cabled, or do you want it to be wireless? What kind of security do you need? What kind of filtering do you want in place for your employees? If the cabling is inadequate here is your opportunity to negotiate any low voltage work needed into the TI’s in your lease.
This kind of planning will make it so you don't experience an 11th hour "Oh *&^%!" as any ports that needed to be added can be done, the network appliances can already be installed, and once the Internet connection is in place any configuration needed can be taken care of, before it’s time to take the office live. Planning ahead means when you're ready to plug in and make your new office live, your network will be ready for you too.
On a related issue, it is very important to know where any and all equipment you have is located. Seems obvious, in your suite, right? Not always. Many large office buildings such as in downtown Reno, have shared telco closets in the hallways. This allows for ISPs and other service providers to have a general location to access equipment. What this means for tenants is that over the years many of the telco closets have become an absolute disaster. On a floor with 10 suites that have had a myriad of tenants, in the last 20 years adding and removing equipment, this has left quite the mess in many of these closets.
It is also important to be aware of space that has been converted from single use to mutli use. For example let’s say your moving your business to a building that was once a video store. Video stores were quite large and the building owner has decided to divide the building into 3 store fronts. The original video store would have had a single location for all of the phones, alarm, security cameras, etc to come into the building. Is the building owner going to construct a shared room that will continue to house the equipment for all three of the new suites? Or will they expect each suite as it’s individually built out to include a location for their own equipment?
This seems like an important item that would be considered and planned for during the initial phases of changing from one to three tenants. Unfortunately, as in the above 11th hour panic you’d be wrong.
Here you are the first tenant out of the three - you have your phones, Internet, and alarm companies come out and install. There’s the central point at the rear of the building for the incoming lines from there they install the equipment in the existing area set aside for this type of equipment. All is well, or so you think. But what you don’t know is where they actually installed the equipment. In comes the second tenant who is adding and tearing down walls to make a small café. Suddenly you are told that your equipment is on a wall in their suite that is being demolished and you better get it moved. They have a timeline and it isn’t there problem that your equipment was installed in what is now their suite. You say it’s not your fault the providers who installed it put it there. The property management is now on everyone’s you know what list for not having considered this issue and informed his / her tenants that the central location would not remain and they’d need to have extra low voltage run so that the services they install would be located in their individual suites.
If we can accomplish anything with this article, it would be to encourage those leasing or purchasing new space to have it checked out by an IT company before moving in equipment. Make sure you know where your equipment is going and that those installing new services are installing it the way you want and need it installed.
The last think you want is a construction worker with a sledge hammer ready to take down the wall with your Internet, phone and alarm service on it!