Voip For Small Business
Save money. Add Functionality.
All of the large corporations have switched their phones over to this wonderful new standard - VoIP. VoIP enables corporations to not only network their far-flung offices into one, local network, it also adds features such as video teleconferencing and the ability to see who is available and who isn't.
Homeowners are also switching to VoIP in droves. Its cheaper and simply attaches to their existing internet connection.
But what about the small business owner? You likely don't need it to connect your manufacturing operations in India with your US facility. Can it still save you enough money to be worth the change?
Or will it cost you business? After all, the telephone is your company's lifeline. If people can't reach you, that's not good. Here's All The Information You Need about Switching Your Small Business To VoIP!
All images from: freedigitalphotos.net, amazon.com or other affiliated partners
Q: What is VoIP?
A: It is, simply, the ability to make and receive phone calls using your existing internet connect.
What Are you Looking For?
Benefits of VoIP for Small Businesses
The Perfect Small Business Phone System
Hands down, the biggest benefit of VoIP is going to be the savings in your monthly bill. Since it attaches to your existing internet connection, you can easily find VoIP providers that cost much less than a traditional landline would cost.
Especially for home businesses that only need one or two lines, many of the personal VoIP systems such as the Ooma or Voipo can work quite well. However for more than that, you will want to look at the business-dedicated systems such as what Phonebooth offers.
On the Go
Most of these VoIP providers recognize that you live a mobile lifestyle. The flexibility of a VoIP system is that you can typically log into your network from your laptop and make phone calls using a headset. Considering the costs of cellphones, this added flexibility can help the busy professional save even more .
Depending on the VoIP network you choose, video conferencing can be a nice feature to add to your business. Have a lot of traveling or work-from-home masterminds? Get them all on the same page with video conferencing.
Most small business VoIP providers don't have a cap on the number of minutes you can use. This can be a huge savings -- and peace of mind -- for businesses that do a lot of calling. In fact, almost all call centers now use VoIP.
Downsides of VoIP
Initially, when Voip first came out, there was some problems with sound and connection issues. However, in the half-decade that has passed, those sound issues have pretty much been rectified. Just make sure that you have a reliable, high-speed internet connection.
Additionally, if you can get your IT guy to set the QoS settings on the router to give highest priority to your phone network, it will help override most -- if not all -- of the sound quality issues.
The bottom line is, VoIP has the quality to be a viable alternative to landlines for any location that has reliable, high-speed internet.
Benefits of Using a Hosted VoIP Provider
For most small businesses, I would recommend using a hosted VoIP service.
The Hosted Voip Difference
You see, there are two options. You can buy all of the required networking hardware to provide a PBX-compliant setup for your office. And, while it is what most of the big corporations do, its going to require a much more significant initial setup cost. Plus, you will have to pay a network technician to install and maintain the setup.
With a Hosted Voip Option, you will typically just have one small box that you plug into your internet. All of the phones will then run off of that box. Sure, your month-to-month fees may be a little higher than if you own your own network, however they are still less than you are currently paying for landline phone service.
By choosing a Hosted Voip Option, your small business is able to begin realizing the cost savings this month, without paying a lot of upfront fees.
Top Recommendation for Small Business VoIP Provider
Best VoIP For Small Business
Phonebooth is one of the best business phone providers to come to the market. And, already it has a following of major players, including companies like Living Social and Swype.
The thing that sets Phonebooth apart is that they own their own VoIP network so you don't have to deal with a lot of the quality and connectivity issues that you would deal with from a reseller.
With free local and long-distance, and included auto-attendant answering service, you can't go wrong.
"We have had really good service with Phonebooth. They have been very good for us as this is our first move to VOIP technology. The features are perfect for our type of business that is always on the go, and the ability to customize things has been great." - Testimony on Whichvoip.com
A VoIP For Home Business
There are two great Voip Options for Home businesses.
With these recommendations, I am assuming that you are going to be using the phones for less than 5,000 hours a month.
Ooma requires that you buy a base device (about $150) and you will likely want the HD2 Handset ($120, pair). And then monthly service fees will be $9.99/ month. This gives you their Premier service with added features like "Instant Second Line" which allows you to make and receive phone calls while on the line.
Voipo has pretty much all of the same features as Ooma (Except for the Instant Second Line feature), but it also requires much less in start up costs: $0. Just plug in your existing phone and you are ready to rock it out! Their fees run about $7 a month per line.
Note: Both of these companies only offer service for homes. They reserve the right to terminate "abuses" of this use. However, both companies actively market themselves to the Home Office worker. The main rule is to keep your usage under 5,000 minutes a month, and don't use it as part of an call center!