A small business is an exciting venture, and ensuring profitability often means paying close attention to overhead costs and technology for services like networking, cloud services, and IT support. Phones for small businesses are another essential feature that can cost a significant amount if business phone systems aren’t updated in a timely manner.
Modern-day business communications aren’t just phone lines and fax machines. Small businesses must also confront costs for communication needs for internet, cell phones, and off-site data storage. Those costs can add up in a hurry, particularly if the services are coming from a half-dozen different suppliers.
Here are some considerations for any small business looking to upgrade to a cost-effective phone system.
Step One: Inventory Your Services
Your business’s communications require much more than a simple landline, but you may be paying for services your company doesn’t use often enough to justify their cost. If it’s been more than a year since you looked at your business’s phone bill, it’s time to speak with a telecommunications expert in business phone consulting.
Similar to the cost-cutting strategies used by a homeowner to reduce unused services and lower monthly bills, a business owner should examine the last several monthly bills for communications services to figure out what’s not being used.
Telecommunications bills can look like the tax code if you let them fester long enough. You’ll want to make a list of the separate phone services you’re paying for and whether your company utilizes those services frequently or whether an alternative exists.
Step Two: Analyze Your Needs
Your business phone service should offer much more than a phone line, voice mail, and call waiting. Modern phone systems give options like the following:
- Automated answering
- Intercom options
- Paging capability
Further, today’s phone systems also merge the technology of communications and computers by allowing computers to be used as telephones, offering enhanced messaging options, and providing wireless IP telephony. A well-equipped business phone service will allow employees to be reached no matter if they’re in their office, on the factory floor, or walking down the hallway.
Step Three: Choose Technology and Upgrades
One of the worries that many small businesses have is that they’re not taking advantage of the most advanced systems for services like networking, IT service, and various telecommunications. Has the network reached its maximum capacity? Is the phone system a dinosaur? Can IT consulting and support identify the system’s weaknesses?
As you investigate options for your new phone system, you may want to look at bundled services for VoIP telephone systems or virtual PBX options. Managed services companies like Vergent can often act as a single source for virtually all communications needs including phone hardware updates.
What is a Cloud-Based IP PBX Phone System?
If cost is one of the most important parts of your search for a business phone system, cloud-based IP systems may offer some significant advantages over traditional lines.
One of the biggest advantages is the affordable setup cost. Reduce the large capital outlay for your phone system’s equipment by choosing a cloud-based IP PBX system. Further reduce costs by combining this service with your business’s internet access.
Beyond the reduction in the cost of the initial setup, these systems also offer other benefits.
- Purchasing phones isn’t necessary because the phones are leased. This means you’ll get access to the most advanced phones available at all times through regular upgrades.
- The system scales easily when your needs increase as a business. Adding users as you hire new employees requires no expensive upgrades.
- Enjoy a full suite of services including voicemail, call forwarding, and call waiting. Don’t miss out on helpful services because of a need to cut costs.
Cloud-based IP PBX systems also make it easier for employees to take advantage of telecommuting, and it makes it easier to stay in touch even if an employee is very mobile and is always at a different location of the business or travels on a regular basis.
Upgrade Without Fear of Depreciation and Obsolescence
It’s a terrible feeling when you finally upgrade your smartphone, and a new version of your phone comes out the very next month. It feels like your technology is already obsolete. The same can happen with business phones. Fortunately, modern phone systems like cloud-based IP PBX mean you’re not dealing with old equipment and a system that can’t keep up with your company’s growth.