Small Business VoIP

By Brian Boguhn
Updated: February 21, 2011

Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), according to the US Department of Labor, are playing a larger role in the US economy. As a result, providers have been scrambling to deliver voice and data services to SMBs over the past year. Currently, only about 17% of SMBs in North America have converted to VoIP. Because of the benefits of conversion – outdated PBX phone equipment can be done away with and monthly phone bills significantly reduced – more will move to VoIP in the near future.

Why Should Your Small Business consider VoIP?

If you’re the decision maker for your company in regards to the phone system and bills, you’re probably wondering why your company should consider VoIP. What benefits will your company gain from it? You’re hearing all sorts of things about it, but you’re not sure if it’s right for you. The intent of this article is to provide you with some insight and help the decision process to be a little bit easier.

If you’re familiar with negotiating a traditional phone contract with AT&T or other traditional providers, then you know just how much of a headache that can be. You’re usually confronted by an account specialist and your account manager. You’re given stacks of paper with a summary sheet on top. The summary sheet shows what you currently have, what AT&T is proposing, and how much they are calculating you will save going with their proposal. The rest of the stack contains the contract, various amendments, and other attachments that put together supposedly add up to the cover sheet. The only problem is that the other documents are confusing and not easy to decipher. Even after going through them with your account manager, your head will spin. When all is said and done, you’ll have a proposal that is expecting you to pay out big bucks for your local and long distance calls. You’ll also have to meet certain levels in order to maintain the discounts AT&T is offering you. On top of all of that, you’ll need to make sure that you have a phone system onsite as well as a vendor to assist you in getting it all hooked together and working.

Once you’ve signed that contract, don’t even think about getting out of it early. You’ll pay a sizeable early exit fee.

Shouldn’t getting phone service for your SMB be easier than that? Shouldn’t you be looking for ways to maximize your company’s dollar, rather than writing out a monthly check to AT&T or another provider?

The Ease of VoIP for Small Business

The attractiveness of VoIP is in its simplicity. You won’t have to deal with a large contract that you can’t exit.

A quick Google search can bring up a list of SMB VoIP providers. Some of the features offered by these providers include:

  • Unlimited calling (in some cases this includes long distance)
  • Free long distance
  • A low monthly fee
  • Unified message

As mentioned earlier, the providers have been scrambling to provide VoIP to SMBs. There is a lot of competition in the market place. When there’s competition, the customer benefits. Review the providers that are out there and see what they are offering. Weigh them against one another. You’re sure to find one that suits your business needs and can save you significant dollars immediately.

Throw That Old Phone Bill Away

We’ve touched on the highlights of VoIP for SMBs here. If you’re interested in VoIP, you should research further on your own. Technology has improved immensely since VoIP was first introduced. It is now a mature product, ready to enhance your business. Investing in it will save you money and allow you to throw that old phone bill away.
 

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