You’ve decided to make the leap into a more official email system for your business. You’re pumped to print new business cards with a email address instead of that unprofessional-looking email address you’ve had on it for years. You’re excited for a fresh start, to sweep the spam you’ve been receiving out of the way, and to give your growing staff better tools to communicate and collaborate. The decision has been made… we’re doing this. 

Now what? 

Moving from a generic email address to one of your own can be a daunting task, and rightfully so. Making sure your important emails don’t get lost is a must, as is a review of the alternate email addresses you may have set up over the years that need to get moved, also. And what about those recurring calendar appointments – will they come along for the ride as well? 

There are several things to consider when moving from one email system to another, and today I’d like to highlight a few of these – some of these are simply suggestions, while others are “gotcha’s” we’ve learned from seeing it done the wrong way too many times. 

Don’t go at it alone.

We’ll start with this one. If you have a team of more than 5 or are simply a very busy or non-technical person, don’t do this yourself. Get help from an IT business, a tech-savvy friend who’s done it before, or someone else you trust and has the time to get it right. You don’t want to mess this up. 

Think about all the dominoes you’ll knock over.

An email system migration touches more than just the mail servers you plug into your computer. You’ll need to list and migrate your aliases (such as chet@ and chetcromer@) and your distribution groups (such as info@ and sales@). If you don’t, incoming emails to these mailboxes will get rejected, costing you productivity, sales, and a good reputation. Keep in mind that an email system move may also include data such as your calendar, contact list, and reminders as well, and plan accordingly. 

Plan for the unexpected.

This isn’t going to go perfectly… or at least it probably won’t. It’s likely you may need to check your old mailbox and new one for a day or two to ensure all emails get read, and there’s a good chance your staff may get a little frustrated. Be prepared, get them prepared, and be ready to give some grace. 

Touch all your devices.

If you’re like me, your email and calendar are connected to your computer, your phone, and maybe even your refrigerator! Get as many of these devices migrated as soon as you can to ensure all your email winds up in one place. 

This is a short and high-level list of things you should consider when moving from one email system to another. Keep in mind that while this is a process, incoming email can only go to 3 places: your old system, your new system, or the “undeliverable” box that never gets anywhere. Our goals are to get your email where it needs to be, reduce the bumps along the road for your team and those you communicate with, and get you moved to a better system that facilitates growth, promotes collaboration, and makes communication more effective. 

For Publication in the Business Leader by Chet Cromer