During a company move you’ve got a lot to do, a lot to worry about! A company office move has a lot of moving parts and especially as the owner or manager of a small business you’ve got a lot of moving parts to watch, all the while keeping an eye on your core business! It’s a lot to byte off!
To name just a few concerns, where will you move to? Who will move your business furniture and specialized equipment? How will you protect your business from the loss of your business critical proprietary information? How will you minimize or avoid downtime or the loss of business during your move? What about technology like your connection to the Internet? Will you be able to keep your internet IP addresses? Does it matter? What about phone numbers? Is this the the right time to consider changes to technology? Could there be opportunities for significant cost savings or perhaps enhancements that will improve organizational effectiveness or future proofing my company? Who will keep an eye on business while you focus on the move? Would it be better to get help to keep managing your move or at least the technology aspects so you can stay focused on your business? You’ve got a lot to consider!
How do your customers communicate with you, email, phone, web, chat? Will these services remain available during your move? These services require careful planning and monitoring during a move to minimize risk to your business. I’ve seen businesses without phone or Internet or limp along with minimum service for days or even weeks as a result of poor planning. Those can be costly mistakes, especially if the big deal you’ve been working hard to get gets away as a result!
A few key items that must be considered in any move:
Can I keep my published phone numbers? Yes, but make sure you count the cost! If you change carriers, the Local Number Portability Act (LNP) ensures you can ‘port’ and keep your number over to the new carrier. This is usually a relatively simple, painless process from the customer’s perspective. However, if you intend to keep the same legacy carrier like AT&T and your new location gets service out of a new central office (CO), you may be told they must do a ‘Foreign Exchange’. This involves the phone company installing a dedicated line between COs on which your calls will travel. You should get a quote from your carrier early on and compare the costs and benefits to potentially either changing numbers or carriers.
How do I keep my phone numbers? Your new telephone carrier will help you with this process. However, you should be aware the terminology can be quite confusing. There are plenty of pitfalls that can delay the LNP process. More on that in a future post.
Moves can be costly. We have an aging phone system we’d like to replace.
This may not be the right time to replace it. It’s just too expensive to consider with the cost of the move.
However, carefully consider this…
You will need to arrange for some way to deliver telephone service to the new location anyway! That will involve time and resources! You must choose a service provider, commit to contracts, reviewing orders, manage the phone number migration and the installation of telephone circuits to the new office. What if you could get a new phone system for little or no up front cost and have the new provider manage the entire process… and it’s very affordable? Carefully though, to get the greatest benefit from these new systems may require specific telecom requirements be met. So, you will want to work with your telephone system provider to get the right telecommunication circuits to benefit fully.
Often with newer technology businesses can not only get into a new telephone system but they often save money month after month in lower telecom costs by working with a company that specializes in new small business telecommunications systems. Many of these are unified communications systems or UC systems which combine communication platforms into one unified system. These usually include services such as telephone, soft phone, voice mail, email, mobility solutions such as cell phone integration, find me or follow me solutions and often video and chat. Some systems provide an API to integrate the UC system with your CRM application and may provide improved integration for your website.
What about Internet, telephone and WAN or interoffice connectivity options? Are you aware of the many telecommunications options available to you today? The Telecom act of 1996 was designed to guarantee competition in the market place. You probably have many more options than AT&T, Verizon or Cable. A Telecom broker can find out what options are available at your location, do the foot work to get quotes so you know the options available and help you make an informed decision, all with little or no cost to you.
Can you keep your IP addresses? Maybe and maybe not. You may be able to keep your IP addresses if you’re staying with the same ISP. However there may be good reasons to change your ISP. If you must change IP addresses, there’s more work involved and it should be managed by an experienced IT pro, especially if you have a VPN or host your own servers.
Keep your eye focused on the ball! What do I mean by that? Moves can be catastrophic if not properly managed as a project. Someones gotta have primary responsibility for managing the move. Depending on the size of your company, as the business owner that may be you. Additionally, if you have an SMB with a lot of technology or you’re more substantial in size, say around 30-50 employees and up, someone should be assigned to manage the technology piece of your move. It’s too important and a lot can go wrong! This should include the telephone systems, Internet, networks and more.
If you’re a business owner, what’s more important than keeping your eye on your business? Nothing! Don’t get distracted from the business by a move! To keep an eye on your business in the midst of a move you will need professional help.