Nearly 40% of small businesses have exchanged their traditional hardwired phone systems for cutting-edge voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) and over 20% of small businesses depend on VoIP in the cloud, also known as Hosted VoIP.1 No matter which type of VoIP you choose, there are a lot of benefits for your business. Here are a few reasons why you should consider VoIP.
1. VoIP empowers small businesses.
Your business might be small, maybe even downright tiny, but moving to VoIP can give you the power and presence of a much larger company. Once upon a time, it cost a fortune to get big-business phone features like conferencing and an automated attendant. Today you can get those features plus newer ones, like instant messaging, mobility and file sharing at a fraction of the costs associated with older, antiquated landline phone systems. With VoIP, a small business can have an automated attendant to give the impression of a large, highly staffed company – even if there are only a handful of employees. You can have one receptionist answer calls for offices located in multiple cities without customers knowing that your offices aren’t all in one place. To the caller, it will appear as if everyone is under the same roof. Employees can also route their VoIP service to ring any other phone number, even their cell phone. Either way, calls are answered, keeping clients and potential clients happy and your business operating efficiently.
2. Conduct business from anywhere in the world.
For small businesses operating on small budgets and small staffs, VoIP lets you be anywhere, anytime for the same cost. You and your staff can make or take calls at home, from coffee shops, at trade shows or in airport lounges – anywhere with an Internet connection or wireless signal. Your laptop or cell phone can operate just like your desk phone and clients are none the wiser. To them, you’ll appear “business as usual.” You can also take your desk phone with you and hook it up to any Internet connection. This is a huge advantage for a small-business owner who wears a lot of hats and doesn’t always have the luxury of being in the same place all the time. Plus, it’s comforting to know that as your business grows – and it will – it’s easy to unplug and move your VoIP to another location, plug in and start doing business with no complex IT programming required. You can even keep your phone number, so there’s no need to reprint business cards and flyers, another time- and cost-saving advantage.
3. Save time and streamline office processes.
Hosted VoIP applications can have a significant impact on productivity. For instance, unified messaging eliminates the tedious task of checking voice mail, since messages are delivered as emails. With a quick mouse-click, you can listen to a message and forward it to others. Perhaps most importantly, industry stats say this one change to the way you do business will save you 43 minutes a day. That’s a savings of three and a half hours per week for one person. Multiply that by ten people and you’re saving 35 hours a week and gaining the productivity equivalent of an extra employee. All without spending a dime.
Hosted VoIP applications have built-in mobility and collaboration tools to further enhance your productivity. Need to share a file or send a quick message to a co-worker during a conference call with an important client? Not a problem. Simply IM the message or file to keep the presentation on track.
And since Hosted VoIP is cloud-based, you won’t lose productivity during hurricanes, snowstorms, floods, etc., as calls are automatically routed to any phone you choose, whether that’s your cell phone or another temporary office location. And you don’t have to wait for the perfect storm to kick in your personal productivity. Hosted VoIP allows you to create a personal profile of phone numbers so that you can always stay in touch. For example, let’s say an important customer calls and your desk phone rings, but you’ve stepped away. After a couple of rings, Hosted VoIP automatically rings your cell phone, which you answer. Or, if you prefer, you can have your desk and cell phone ring simultaneously. To your customer, this process took only seconds and most importantly, it is transparent. The customer has no idea you aren’t at your desk. It’s simply business as usual, just more productive.
4. VoIP scales and grows with your business.
If you’re like most small business owners, you intend to grow your business in fairly short order. Some of you are probably depending on cell service to run your small business, and if so, you could face severe operational issues as your business grows. A better choice would be a phone system that can keep pace with your business expansion, without costing you a small fortune. A Hosted VoIP phone system supports the frenetic growth that many small businesses face without a large up-front investment. There’s no huge capital expense for new phone hardware and no clunky servers to worry about if your business happens to relocate to a larger office space. Simply extend Hosted VoIP service to your employees as you hire them. As an added bonus, Hosted VoIP easily supports seasonality. So if your business expands during tax season, the summer months or around Black Friday, it’s easy to provide phones for extra workers and then scale back as your business goes back to routine operations.
While your business may be small in size, you face many of the same challenges and opportunities as much larger enterprises, just without the extra resources. Hosted VoIP helps to level the playing field in your favor. With Hosted VoIP, you can establish a big-business presence anywhere in the world and work more efficiently to make the most of precious resources while also laying the technical foundation for business growth and transformation.
1From “U.S. SMB IP Telephony, Hosted VoIP, UC, and Telecom Equipment Ownership/Acquisition Plans” by Raymond Boggs, IDC; 2016