VoIP Offers Cheap and Flexible Alternatives for Small Businesses

If you’re trying to cut your overhead this year without sacrificing any of the necessities or conveniences to run a small business, consider small business VoIP. VoIP is short for voice over Internet protocol and it offers an affordable option for telephone service. Landline phone service can be expensive, especially if you need a package of services for which landline telecommunication companies charge extra.

VoIP phone service uses broadband Internet connections to send and receive phone calls. In many cases, existing telephone equipment works well with VoIP, which also saves money since there’s no need for an equipment change or upgrade. Even if new equipment is required, the monthly savings will offset the extra cost.

Features

Besides saving money on monthly phone costs, many small business VoIP plans include the same bundle of features that big businesses use. These services make increase productivity and may include:

  • Virtual receptionist
  • Customizable call screening
  • Call forwarding
  • Software integration
  • Sound for calls on hold
  • Message forwarding to email or wireless phone
  • Complete call records, including date, time and length
  • Call transferring
  • Conference calling
  • Faxing
  • Free long distance
  • Automatic call distribution
  • Additional lines at remote locations

Suitability

The VoIP provider tests your broadband connection to see how many phone lines your connection can support. If it’s inadequate, you’ll have to upgrade it or limit the amount of phones for your business. Upload and download speeds make a difference in the amount of packet loss, which affects the call quality.

Type of Plan

Many VoIP plans have usage limitations, especially for residential plans. If you anticipate a high call volume, learn what the plan you’re considering offers. It may make sense to choose one with more minutes than you think you may use.

Benefits

Besides lower monthly costs for small business VoIP, having complete records of your phone calls can help you run your business better. You may even be able to have some of your staff work off-site which can cut your overhead. Many VoIP providers also offer devices that you can use when traveling to help you make free phone calls using your computer, so you can work and communicate anytime.

Considerations

Customer support for VoIP is usually immediate via the web or through a phone call to technical support. Since VoIP relies on an Internet connection and doesn’t work when the power is out, some companies use a backup battery for their modems or keep a landline in the event of a system outage or other issue.

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Stephen Craig enjoys writing about best business practices and new management methods to increase client satisfaction.