How to Choose a Phone Service For Your Small Business
Choosing the best phone systems for small business is an important decision, and one with long-lasting consequences. Make the wrong choice and your phone system won’t provide the services you need, won’t scale up with your business, and will cost you both money and customers. The best phone system for a small business depends on multiple factors, including ease of use, cost, system support, and, most importantly, your business needs.
Types of Small Business Phone Systems
A small business has several types of phone systems to choose from. The three most common are:
- Business landline phones
- Virtual phone services
- Voice over Internet Protocol VoIP
Of the three systems, business landline phones are the most reliable, but also the least suited for the modern digital world. Virtual phone services are cloud-based systems that forward incoming calls to business numbers, while VoIP uses your internet connection to make and receive calls.
Each of these three phone systems for small business come with their own advantages — and their own challenges. Your choice depends on five factors:
- Current / Future Needs
- Ease of Use
- Plan Features
Current and Future Needs
Small business phone systems must do more than meet your current needs. The system should be scalable, and able to grow in size and features with your organization. Business landline phones may work well initially, but if the company grows you may have to add to the landline’s physical infrastructure, which is both costly and disruptive.
Virtual phone services work well for small, agile businesses, but are less suited to growing companies. For a growing company (or a company where staff works remotely) small business VoIP phone systems are a wise choice. A cloud-based VoIP phone system allows you to add or subtract phone numbers and features without the need to overhaul infrastructure.
Ease of Use
It’s only common sense that phone systems for small businesses should be easy to use. Business landline phones are the easiest and most reliable, as they don’t rely on internet connectivity. Virtual phone services and VoIP are more complicated to set up, but make it possible to redirect calls to mobile phones.
Any small business phone system should provide reliable support. Here it’s not the type of phone system that matters so much as the quality of the service itself. Be sure the service provider offers quick, efficient support should problems occur. With employees increasingly working from home or remote locations, support for mobile devices is often important — support that is more likely to be offered by VoIP and Virtual Phone Services than small business landlines.
What kind of features do you need? Equally important, what features are not needed? The right small business phone system offers the features you want without charging for additional services or unwanted features. Having said that, remember to consider scalability. You may not need an auto-receptionist now, but will that need a change in the future?
The best phone system for small business is the one that fits your budget. Oddly, that often means VoIP. Whole business landline phones are traditional, but the cost of installing and maintaining them can be high as all the hardware and wiring is physically in the office. With VoIP, it’s possible to run your business completely off mobile phones, cutting down on equipment costs.
Technology in the workplace is more complicated — and essential — than ever. Small business phone systems need to reflect that reality. Choose your phone system with an eye to cost, features, and future growth, and it will serve your company well for years to come.