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10 Things You Should Do In Your First Week in IT

10 Things You Should Do In Your First Week in IT
It’s your first week in the IT industry. This can be an overwhelming time in your career, as there’s so much to learn and a lot to do. Make it easier by learning ten things you can do in your first week in IT.

Learn Who The Key Contacts Are

Every office has a few key people that should be contacted in certain situations. Your manager should be able to help with most of the things that you do in your day-to-day activities.

However, some situations will call for others to help. These kinds of things your manager may not be able to do. What kinds of people are they?

There may be someone on your office that is responsible for fixing the printer when it breaks. The last thing you want is a broken printer when you need to print something important. If you know who to approach to report it, then you send the impression that you can take action and like to get problems solved.

There could be someone else that sets up access to systems, if it’s not your manager. These could be administration systems, workflow, documentation and email systems. Learn who these people are and speak to them if you need to.

There’s often also someone in the office that seems to know who everyone is. The kind of person who you can ask “who should I speak to about…” and they can tell you the answer. This is an important person to know as they can help you get things done easier.

Keep Asking Questions

The first week in any new job is tough, especially in IT. Organizations do the same things differently, and they often run different systems and applications. One way to find out about all of these is to ask questions.

Being the new person in a job means you’ll be asking a lot of questions. You won’t learn everything you need to know on your first day, though. I suggest you continue to ask questions after your first day.

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Ask people how things work, what needs to be done, when certain things happen, where information gets sent, and how things happen. Ask as many questions as you need. You’re the new person so you’re allowed to, and even expected to.

Be Proactive When Introducing Yourself

You’ll be seeing a lot of new faces in your new job. You may have met some people during the interview process and as part of your team on the first day, but you’ll see a lot more during your first week.

Try to take an active approach when meeting new people. There’s not always going to be someone around to introduce you, and if you work in the same office, you’ll probably see them again.

Starting off with a simple “Hi” is enough. You can mention you’re new here and ask for their name, and offer yours. Most people will be pretty friendly to the new person.

If they aren’t, don’t take it personally. They just might be having a bad day. If you stay positive about it, it will be easier to move on from it.

Learn the Unwritten Rules

Every office has a set of unwritten rules. And most offices are different. I’ve worked in a consulting role for the last few years, and have been in many different offices. I’ve noticed they all have their own unwritten rules, which are things that people do but don’t really talk about.

These unwritten rules can include things like:

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  • Who cleans the kitchen? When is it cleaned? Who is responsible for emptying and filling the dishwasher?
  • Is the fridge available for everyone to use? Are there certain sections that are everyone’s food and others that are private?
  • Do you need to book all meeting rooms before using them, or can you walk into it if they are free?
  • What happens when the coffee or tea runs out?
  • What happens when the printer runs out of paper or ink?
  • When and where do people eat lunch? Is eating at your desk acceptable or frowned upon?

It’s a good idea to notice little things like this and see if certain behaviors and events happen. It will make you fit in more and help you become more accepted in your new role.

Keep Track Of Your Accomplishments

Here will be a lot of things that you get to work on at the start of your IT career. This isn’t just in your first week–it applies to your first few months or first year. As the work comes and goes, you get things done, some big and some small. You may have some pretty big achievements in all of that.

When it comes time for your performance review, you’re often asked to list your achievements. Instead of trying to remember them all at the end of the year, I suggest writing them down and keeping a record of them as they happen. This will allow you to add more detail to them, as they are fresher in your mind, and will mean it’s easier for you to complete your performance review later in the year.

Write down small and big achievements. You can always trim the list later in the year if other, better achievements come along.

Organize Your Desk

You’ll most likely be spending a lot of time at your desk, at your computer. Even if you have a job that involves moving around and going to different places, you will probably find yourself at your desk quite a lot.

I suggest getting your desk organized early in your role. This doesn’t mean just setting up your keyboard and mouse. Get yourself some stationery if you need it, such as folders, pens, books, pen holders. If you need some document trays, try to get some of those. Get your phone connected, voicemail set up, and any other cables sorted out.

This will make it easier for you to do your job when you get busy. You don’t want to be figuring out how to get stationery or correcting a voicemail message when you’ve got other things that need to be done.

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Set Up a To Do List

One of the most effective ways to get things done at work is to set up a To Do list.

This is simply a list of things that you need to do at work. It can start small, with only a few things on it, like getting supplies or speaking to someone. As your role grows, you’ll get more work to do and need some way of tracking it.

I personally use Microsoft Outlook’s task feature to keep track of work-related tasks. It’s simple, and all of the places I’ve worked have Outlook installed. I’ve seen other people use Evernote or even a pen and paper. Whatever works for you, as long as you’re writing down what you need to do, you should receive the benefits of it.

Update Your Social Media

Getting a new job is great. It’s a big step in your career. It’s also important to make it known. Not in a bragging capacity, but just to let other people know. This should be done on your social media profiles.

The important one is LinkedIn, the professional networking site. Set up a LinkedIn profile if you haven’t already. If you have, update your title, company and role information. Making sure this is up to date will make it easier to connect with other people.

If you use other social sites like Facebook or Twitter, you may wish to update it there as well.

Learn Your Neighborhood

Where there are offices, there are usually smaller shops around to support them. Near offices, you can find coffee shops for the morning pick-me-up, cafés and sandwich shops for lunches, and even other services such as post offices and pharmacies. During your first week, it’s good to learn where these places are.

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Google Maps is a good tool for finding some of the bigger services. It may not be able to tell you where to find the best flat white coffee, but it can tell you where the nearest grocery store or post office is.

Have a walk at lunchtime or before work to see what’s in the area and what might be worth knowing about. This not only helps when you’re looking for it later, but you can also help when other people are looking for places.

Read Lots of Internal Documentation

Companies often send out internal documentation for their employees to read. This can come in many forms, such as emails, brochures, and larger documents. This documentation is used for many reasons including updating the staff on the latest events, promoting products, or offering  training.

A good way to improve your career and your effectiveness at your job is to read the documentation that the company provides. There should be documentation that relates to your role, such as how things work and how it all fits together.

There could also be other documents worth reading, such as company announcements, process documents and company history. This can make you more educated and informed about the company, which is often a good thing.

Well I hope these tips will be useful in your first week on the job. What other tips do you have for those in their first week?

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Published on December 13, 2018

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

How to Start a Company from Scratch (A Step-By-Step Guide)

If you’ve ever thought about starting and running your own business, you’re not alone. Being your own boss, having flexibility with your schedule and keeping more of the financial rewards that come with business ownership are all good reasons to own your own company.

But as you might expect, it’s not all vacations and fat bank accounts. According to the SBA, 2/3 of businesses survive at least 2 years and approximately 50% survive 5 years.[1] So why is the failure rate so high? At least for the businesses that fail early on, lack of, or poor planning can be a major factor.

So how to start a company?

Starting a business from scratch doesn’t have to be hard or complicated, but it does take planning and work. Here are the first and most important 9 steps to take when your are starting a company from scratch.

1. Do an Honest Evaluation of Yourself

Do you work better in a structured or unstructured environment? Does a daily routine reduce your anxiety? What kinds of things are you good at? Does public speaking or making presentations make you nervous? Are you good at accounting and numbers? Can you handle the rejections you’re bound to get when selling or cold calling?

These are all important questions to ask yourself, in fact it’s a good idea to get other peoples opinion about their perception of you in each of these situations.

Whatever the answers you come up with for your evaluation, remember that’s all it is, an evaluation of where you are now. Think of it as a way to identify both your areas of strength and weaknesses.

You maybe good at public speaking which can help when raising money, but bad at accounting which just means that you’ll need to find some kind of help with that area of the business.

2. Evaluate Your Idea

If your business idea involves a new product or service (or even an enhancement to an existing product or service), it needs to be evaluated. This is technically called market research.

There are firms that specialize in doing market research for new products, but if you are on a tight budget, you can do this yourself.

First, if you can build a prototype for people to use, touch and look at that’s the best option. If a prototype is not possible or it’s a service business, then offer a highly descriptive presentation of the business plan complete with it’s unique benefits and how it’s different from the competition.

Then listen! Remember that this is not about others liking your product, this is not your baby that they are talking about. You want honest market research that gives you the best chance for a successful business. Take notes, when someone tells you that they didn’t like a feature or some aspect of your idea tell them ‘Thank you”.

After several rounds of market research with different groups of people, you should see patterns emerging about things that they both liked and didn’t like. Use this information to tweak your product or service and do another round of market research.

Keep in mind that you’ll never come up with a universally loved product, your job is to produce a product or service that appeals to the broadest range of your target market.

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3. Make a Business Plan

I know, I know this isn’t the “fun” part of starting your own business, but it is an very important step in creating a successful business!

Basically, you can think of a business plan as an outline or blueprint of your business. A good business plan should have the following elements:

  • Executive Summary – This should lay out the businesses product or service and the problem that it solves for the consumer.
  • Market Evaluation – This should talk about the market you are serving. Is it an expanding market, and how does your product better fulfill the consumers in that market.
  • Market Strategies – How are you going to penetrate the market and sell your product.
  • Operational Plan – How will the company run from day to day? Who are the key employees and what are their specific rolls. Do your key players have specific goals set for them in advance?

A final word on making a business plan: while lying is never acceptable especially when you are using the business plan to raise money, it is acceptable to “put your best foot forward”.

Playing up the positives while minimizing the negatives is almost expected in a business plan.

Besides, banks as well as professional investors will both do a more in-depth analysis before investing any money into your idea.

4. Decide on a Business Structure

You have many options here, and discussing them with your accountant or financial adviser is really the only way to know what’s right for you. But just to give you a quick rundown of the types of business entities and their pros and cons we will briefly go through them:

Sole Proprietorship

This is a common way for small businesses to get started.

The pros being:

Relatively low costs to set up (usually a business license and sales tax license).Owners normally do not have to set up a special bank account, they are allowed to use their personal one. Any income earned can be offset by other losses (check with your state!). You as the sole proprietor have complete control over all decision making. 

Finally, sole proprietorship’s are relative easy to dissolve.

The cons of using a sole proprietorship include:

You as the sole proprietor can be held personally responsible for the debts and liabilities of the company. Some benefits, such as health insurance premiums, are not directly deductible from business income.

If you need to raise money, you are not allowed to sell an equity stake in the company. In that same vein, hiring key people maybe more difficult because you cannot offer them an equity stake in the company.

Partnership

A partnership is formed when two or more people decide to start a business. Although there is no legal requirement for any documentation to form a partnership, it is my advice that you never enter into a partnership without having a partnership agreement. (Remember, spending $1500 now can save you $150,000 in legal fees later!).

The pros of a partnership include:

Being relatively easy and inexpensive to start. Hiring key employees can be easier as you are allowed to give equity ownership to as many partners as you want.

For tax purposes, partnerships are relative simple as any income is treated as “pass through” meaning that each partner pays tax on their individual portion of the partnerships income (As of this writing, always check with your tax adviser).

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As far as the cons go:

It can be difficult for some general partnerships to raise capitol. Because it is a partnership, the actions of one of the partners can obligate the entire organisation. All profits must be shared according to the partnership agreement regardless of the amount of work done by any single partner.

Some employee benefits may not be able to be deducted on income tax returns.

Limited Liability Company (LLC)

This is a very popular business entity for small to medium sized businesses. The reason for this is the cost of set up is not prohibitive and there is a separation between the owners and the company.

The pros of an LLC include:

Limited liability for the partners, unlike sole proprietorship’s and partnerships where the owners are held responsible for all of the companies debts and liabilities, an LLC provides some protection against certain debts and liabilities that are solely the companies.

Simple taxation, just like the sole proprietorship and partnerships, income is considered “pass through” and is only taxed once on an individual level.

There is no limit on the number of shareholders in an LLC. An LLC requires fewer fillings and administrative requirements than a corporation.

Corporation

A corporation is much more complex and expensive to set up. And a corporation is legally considered an independent entity that is separate from its owners.

The pros of a corporation include:

Complete separation between the owners and the company. Because the corporation is considered its own legal entity, owners can not be held personally responsible for any debts or liabilities of the company.

A corporation can raise capital much easier just by selling more shares in the company.

Cons of corporations include:

Much higher administrative costs than any other business entity. Corporations generally have a higher tax rate. Dividends are not tax deductible for corporations. Income paid in dividends is taxed twice, once by the corporation and again by the shareholder.

Again, this is just a short summary of the pros and cons, always check with your tax adviser about what will work best in your situation.

5. Address Finances

Again, not one of the “Sexier” parts of starting your business from scratch, but very important nonetheless.

So, you’ve done your business plan and an estimate of your start up funding should be included. It should include the amount of funding you’ll need to get you through your first full year of operations.

Now, how do you get that money?

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Self Funding

If possible, self funding is the easiest. You won’t have to go to banks and investors with hat in hand, or give up ownership or control of your company. But as we know, this is not a reality for most people. But don’t worry, there are still plenty of options available.

Friends and Family

They can be a good source of funding your business if they can see and understand your vision.

Remember that business plan? Pass them out to everyone you know. Then follow up, be prepared to tell them the total amount of money you expect to raise, the minimum investment you are looking for and what you will give in return for the investment.

For example, you give a friend your business plan and follow up with him/her a few days later. You can explain that you have secured funding for $80,000 of the $100,000 you need. You are selling a 2% share in the company for every $2,000 investment. How many shares would he like?

And when he/she tells you no, thank him/her and ask if he/she can think of anyone off the top of his head who might be interested? Tell him/her you really appreciate his/her time and if he/she does come across someone who might be interested to let you know.

Banks

These guys are happy to lend you money when you don’t need it, but all of the sudden they get stingy when you actually need a loan! This is where preparation comes in.

It’s a good idea to go over your business plan with an expert and maybe even have it rewritten by an expert before you approach either a bank or professional investor. Both will want to go over your business plan with a fine tooth comb, verifying all the numbers and data you provide.

You should also brush up on everything in the plan so that you can answer any questions they have with authority.

Crowdfunding

Finally, there is crowdfunding through sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe. Crowdfunding helps to build interest, community spirit, and a customer base. It’s also an efficient way to raise funds. You can take a look at these tips to find out more:

6 Crowdfunding Tips To Get Your Project 100 Percent Funded

6. Register with the Government

As stated earlier, different types of business entities have different filling and administrative requirements. At the very least, you’ll probably need a business license as well as a state sales tax license.

Unless you are forming a corporation, there are many good resources on the web that will do everything for you at a minimal cost.

7. Assemble Your Team

Remember when we evaluated your strengths and weaknesses? Here is where we fill in the gaps!

Do you hate sales and cold calling? Great! There are people who love selling and wouldn’t want to do anything else.

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Bored to death with accounting? There are a ton of small accounting firms out there that will take care of that for you.

What about marketing? You can hire someone in-house or out-source that too.

Your job is to keep on top of all the different aspects of the business to make sure they are all running smoothly and getting the results you need. If not, it’s your job to figure out the problem and implement a solution.

Check out this guide and learn how to delegate effectively:

How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

8. Buy Insurance

No matter what kind of business you start, you need insurance! Yes, I know, no one likes to buy insurance, but it can literally be the difference between having a minor inconvenience and declaring bankruptcy.

We live in a very litigious time, even a minor slip and fall at your place of business could bankrupt you without insurance. If you need help finding a good agent, check with your local trade organizations or fellow business owners.

9. Start Branding Yourself

Has anyone ever ask you for a Kleenex or a QTip? We all know what they are because of branding, Kleenex is just a brand of tissue and QTip is just a brand of cotton swab. It doesn’t have to be as widely known as Kleenex or QTip, but you can make your brand a common name within your niche.

I once owned a manufacturing company that developed a product that was so popular that my competitors started co-opting my brand name for their products.

If you aren’t sure how to kickstart branding yourself, check out these ways:

5 Ways to Build your Personal Brand & Make More Money

The Bottom Line

Starting a business from scratch can be one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have.

But do you know what’s even more rewarding? Having a business that succeeds, is profitable and provides a good source of income for you, your employees and their family’s.

More Resources About Entrepreneurship

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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