Small Businesses experience many pressures and demands on resources, and their telecommunication decision is just one of those experiences. Below are five reasons why small businesses are moving toward a hosted digital phone service and turning this pressure to an advantage:
1. Low Capital Investment: Small business owners who have just begun operations are trying to be as prudent with their capital spending as possible, especially in the initial months/years of operation. A hosted digital phone service allows small business owners to have a fully functional telephone solution for just the cost of phones and a few small data components. This allows business owners to invest the money that they would have spent on a full phone system/PBX into business-oriented assets like equipment, marketing materials, or employees.
2. Big-system features for small-system prices: Small businesses have to have access to the same communications features and benefits as big businesses in order to compete. A hosted digital phone service equips small businesses with the features of a high-dollar communications system at a much smaller price. For example, a small business can have an automated attendant service to give the impression that they are a large, highly staffed company – even if there are only a handful of employees. Small firms could even have single receptionist answer calls for multiple offices in different geographic locations in order to reduce headcount without customers knowing that offices are geographically dispersed.
3. Flexibility: For most small businesses, the intention is to grow the business within a period of a few years. Small firms need a phone system that can grow with them at their own pace without a complete change-out of equipment. A hosted digital phone service helps small businesses expand by simply calling up their provider and ordering a new phone and a new phone number for that employee. At the other end of the spectrum, many hosted phone providers will allow their clients to reduce the number of users on the system without paying a penalty. While business contraction is never a goal, business owners at least have the comfort in knowing that they have the ability to reduce their operational expenditures should it be necessary.
4. Accessibility: A small-business owner can’t be tied down by the physical restraints of an antiquated phone system – they need a phone solution that can send calls to whatever location the owner is doing business that day. A hosted digital phone service delivers services such as “find-me, follow-me” that permit small business owners to decide where and how they will receive their phone calls. Additionally, many digital systems deliver phone and fax messages to their email addresses, which provide the users the ability to respond to those messages from any PDA phone, such as a Blackberry or an iPhone. This will ensure that small businesses can put their customers first, regardless of their physical location.
5. Reduced Administrative Headaches: Small-business owners have to be not only the CEO and President, but also the financial lead too. A hosted digital phone service allows those business owners to consolidate their entire phone expenses under one bill. This saves owners administrative hassles when they expand into new territories. Additionally, hosted phone providers conduct the phone system administration and maintenance, which reduces your time devoted to such activity and increases the amount of time you have devoted to your business.
While a hosted digital phone service might not make sense for all small businesses, there are a great number of benefits that make such a solution worth exploring. As with all business decisions, be sure you do your homework. Make sure that the company with which you do business is reliable, and don’t be afraid to ask for references specific to your industry. Also, ask about a list of features specific to how your firm conducts business. Finally, ensure that there aren’t any hidden fees or contracts that increase over time; you want to be certain that your phone service provider is always earning your business.
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About the author: Brandon Smith is a Digital Phone Solution Specialist with sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions. Brandon has worked with numerous small business clients to formulate the right solution for their business.