Installing hardware and software can be a daunting task. Before going to all the trouble, Stephens recommends having an expert do it. Sometimes, on-site set-up is included with your computer or peripherals purchase (or offered for a fee). Even for a nominal charge (usually under $100), it's worth it to have everything working properly from the get-go.
On-site installation also gives you the chance to meet a computer geek up close and personal. "The fact that you can get someone who's very knowledgeable and ask them all sorts of [tech] questions for 15 or 25 minutes can be really valuable to your business," Stephens says.
If you're intent on installing your hardware or software yourself, Stephens advises keeping the following in mind:
- Do it yourself. Stephens isn't a big fan of install/uninstall programs (most software comes with install/uninstall features that work just fine) or "quick fix" software. "These are all just tonics that take advantage of people's ignorance," Stephens says. If you have questions or problems, the best solution is to go straight to the source: the manufacturer.
- Keep personal finance programs off your business computers. Leave computer games like Quake II at home, too. "Games are a different breed of software," Stephens says. "They tend to install pieces all over the place that often conflict with business software."
- Be wary of installing old software on a new computer system. The software might be an older version that won't run on your new computer and can wreak havoc on your system.
- Know your hardware and software manufacturers' Web sites. These sites often post information regarding software bugs, incompatibility issues and FAQs. They may provide tech support or answer tech questions via e-mail as well.