The Law Office Network/Linux Server Trial - page 4
Getting Started with a Small Business
First and foremost, take every opportunity to promote self-sufficiency. If your relatives and friends could put all the systems, applications and processes together themselves, they wouldn't need you. At some point, though, you will need to cut the strings and they will be on their own. That point is up to you. It will help your relationship to have them be able to help themselves. Teach them how to troubleshoot and look up how-tos on the web and through news groups. This applies whether you are a professional integrator or part-time Linux advocate. Have you thought about how you're going to man your new home-based help desk?
Realize that, unless you have had extensive experience with particular combinations of software, hardware, applications, vendors, and a comprehensive trouble tracking database, it's easy to be overly optimistic and fail to get something to work right. Setting up mixed networks (Linux and Windows) can be a chore. You should weigh the cost of simplicity of an all Windows or Linux network against the dual knowledge requirement and quirks of having multiple operating systems together.
Sometimes you don't know, what you don't know. Much of the time spent on these little projects, or big projects for that matter, is learning. Despite the corporate speak of total quality management, "fail to plan, plan to fail" chants, and best intentions...actually putting things together using trial and error is still a very big part of learning. This realization doesn't make it much easier to live with; it's just a fact of life. Rob Reilly has been consulting and doing freelance work in computer integrated manufacturing, small business, and the telecom industry for the past 15 years. He's very excited about the rising popularity of Linux in Corporate America.