As a small business owner trying to get your startup off the ground, you need to carefully consider all the aspects that contribute towards the growth of your business. From the employees you hire to the phone systems you use, you need to make sure that all the business tools and resources you choose for your startup business effectively support business growth and development. While it may seem like phone systems are just a means of communication, certain systems support efficient workflows more than others.
The benefits of having the right system
If you’re currently using cellphones or a landline, moving to a voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) solution has many benefits in store. With a communication line that depends on an Internet connection instead of a phone line, you can save significantly on calls – even if they’re international. The calls are billed per second at affordable rates and you can also make use of cost-effective prepaid call rates. VoIP solutions enable you to connect team members and clients no matter where they are while also having a dedicated phone number that contributes to a professional company image. This kind of unified communication “brings together all of the communications technologies your business needs into an integrated system,” writes David Howell in his article Choosing the best phone service for your business.
Evaluating your requirements
Before choosing a solution, you need to know what to look for in VoIP. These are some of the factors you should take into consideration:
What is your current call volume and is this likely to change? Startups may only need to connect a few employees at first, but your phone solution needs to adapt and accommodate more employees as your business grows.
Is your existing Internet connection sufficient for VoIP systems to operate efficiently or will you need a new connection?
What features would you like to add to your telecoms systems?
Do you have multiple offices or remote workers who need to connect from outside the office?
Does your business have existing infrastructure like an installed PBX system that can support new VoIP solutions?
Choosing a system that’s right for you
Once you’ve established what it is you have and what it is you’ll need, you can compare VoIP solutions to see which will work best. If you have an existing private branch exchange (PBX) to connect to this can be a good option as it can accommodate advanced features and flexibility. But these PBX solutions are usually only used in companies of 75 people and more and, as a startup, you might want to avoid the initial capital investment in setup and installation.
A VoIP solution gives companies the ability to make international or domestic calls via an internet connection and most providers give you the option of having a monthly contract, making it affordable and flexible. This is the best fit for a startup as you can adjust the package to suit your changing business needs, and you can also have your provider manage the system. Choose a hosted VoIP solution and your provider will manage your systems instead of you having to rely on your IT department, which may not be entirely knowledgeable on VoIP.
Take your time to assess the solution you intend using and look for features that can meet your requirements. Of course, your research on the different solutions available to you might get confusing with terms like basic interactive voice response (IVR) and public switched telephone network (PSTN). To sharpen your VoIP-related knowledge and make sure you know what exactly is offered by your provider take a look at our infographic.