Converting Your Small Business to VOIP

More and more companies are adopting IP telephony to utilize the broad range of features and benefits associated with this advancing technology. Businesses unable or unwilling to make the switch will soon find themselves at a competitive disadvantage for a number of reasons. Understanding VOIP, how it works and the different features and capabilities will make all the difference when choosing service and a provider.

Whether you’re a small business, home-based business or even self-employed, VOIP phone systems offer certain advantages critical to the survival and growth of your business.

Make your small business appear bigger.

♦ A virtual PBX (switchboard) allows you to integrate a dial-by-name directory whether you elect on-premise (non-hosted) or hosted where you rent the service from a provider on a monthly basis.

♦ For a cost of around $10 per month, give every member of your team their own outside line.

♦ For about the same cost as an outside line, you can also get one or more 800 numbers for your business.

Take your VOIP phone service with you.

♦ Telecommute from home or while traveling. So long as you can access the Internet you’ll stay connected with your business.

♦ Access voicemail on your email. No matter where you are away from the office you will be able to retrieve your voicemail via email.

All the features at a fraction of the cost.

♦ Most VOIP providers offer unlimited calling plans for around $20 to $80 per month.

♦ Features such as call waiting, caller ID, hold, call forwarding and multiple ring-to numbers are standard with most VOIP services.

When choosing a VOIP service provider, the toughest part can be finding the IP PBX that fits the needs of both your business and your budget. That’s where you’ll want to decide if an on-premise (non-hosted) or hosted IP PBX makes the most sense based on your requirements. Choosing on-premise requires the purchase and operation of your phone system and equipment, while hosted means your service provider transports your calls over the Internet using their own datacenters IP PBX. Non-hosted PBX systems allow the most control over the system, but the initial investment is typically quite high and there are growth restrictions to consider when purchasing the system. With hosted systems, there may be some restrictions depending on the provider, but there is great scalability with the changes of your business at a much cheaper cost using your provider’s IP PBX.

They’ll be many choices to make in finding the right solution for your small business and the range of VOIP providers varies widely. Search online for resources to become familiarized with the many options available and use The Digest to shop and compare business VOIP providers and see ratings and reviews.