The Benefits of VoIP Communication for SMEs
Why Choose VoIP?
Unless your business requires the customer to visit your office, there’s little reason to limit yourself to marketing in your local area these days. The Internet allows you to reach a global audience, why not take advantage of that and promote yourself to a global market?
Thanks to modern telephone systems for small business, you don’t even have to worry about telephone bills. VoIP for business makes it just as easy (and just as cheap) to talk to a customer in Shanghai as it is to talk to your client that rents the office down the street.
It's Easy to Get Started
There are a range of VoIP for business offerings, which range from basic telephone systems for small business, to fully featured unified communications services that offer everything from audio and video chat to remote desktop, file sharing, and mobile features.
For most small companies, a basic VoIP for business package will do the job, especially in the early stages. All you really need is a way to communicate with your international clients cheaply and efficiently. You already have email, and most likely a website that provides a lot of information about your business, so an efficient text and voice chat system to add to that will cover most of your needs.
There are a lot of low cost, software based Voice over IP options that are ideal for a small business that is not expecting to make a high volume of calls. If you find that pay-as-you-use options end up costing you more money than you expected, then you can always upgrade to a fixed fee plan at a later date.
The barrier to entry with telephone systems for small business is pretty low. If you opt for a software based solution, all you need is a headset or a microphone for your PC. If you need more than that – perhaps because you’d like to have a small call centre style set-up, then you will need to invest in some specialist hardware for that, but the cost should still be a fraction of what you’d pay for a traditional telephony setup.
What to Look for In VoIP Providers
Different companies will have different requirements when it comes to selecting their VoIP providers, but the following checklist should help you to pick the right provider for your business.
- Costs – if you don’t expect to be making a lot of calls, then you may want to use a pay-as-you-use service. For higher call volumes, a service with a monthly fee may be more suitable.
- Extras – Do you want to have low cost international calls? Free calls within your network? Video calling? File sharing? If there are extra services that are “must haves” for your business, make sure that you will get them with the provider you choose. Don’t make any assumptions about what each provider will offer.
- Hardware requirements – make sure you know exactly what you will need in terms of hardware, and find out what the provider gives you and what you will need to buy yourself. Many software based solutions will work with just a computer and a microphone or headset, but if you want to use standalone phones you will need to make sure they’re compatible with the system.
- Service level agreement – get any uptime and reliability guarantees in writing. Make sure you understand exactly what will happen if there’s an outage, and that you have an effective back up plan in place.
- Security – if you have the resources, get your own audit done. Hacking is big business these days, and even small companies can fall victim to it. Most VoIP solutions use encryption, and are reasonably secure, but you should still take precautions yourself. Set a good IT policy, require strong passwords, and don’t let your employees plug their own stuff into your network.
More Than Just Phone Calls
There’s a lot more to business telephone systems than just voice calls. Modern VoIP providers offer a unified service that can cover all of the communication needs of a small company. If you choose the right provider, then they will grow with you as your company expands, and you’ll be able to continue using them as you add new staff and have increasing service needs.
Telephony is one area where small, young businesses have a huge advantage over bigger companies. It’s a lot easier for a small company to get started with VoIP for business. Since you don’t have any existing investment in communications infrastructure, it’s easy for you to get on board with the technology of the moment. Bigger companies may have more money to spend, but they also have bigger investments to worry about, and adopting any new technology costs them a lot of money in time, equipment, and organization.
If you invest in Voice over IP today, you will be securing the future of your business. That might sound like a rather grand and sweeping statement, but it’s true. Modern businesses operate on an international scale. Isn’t it time that your company took advantage of the ever-shrinking world?
If you want your small business to succeed, then it’s important that you take advantage of the agility and mobility your business has – those things are your greatest assets. Seek out the right markets for your products, and target them. Adopt the technology that will allow you to communicate with your customers, and don’t be nervous about experimenting and trying new things.