Small businesses are, by far, the driving force and main employer in even the most developed economies. Think about it: realtors, restaurants, law offices, car repair shops -- never mind the 20 million or so sole proprietors in the United States, self-employed individuals who nevertheless lease office space and have perhaps an assistant or two, the largest category of small business by four times over.
Yet each small business would love to project that "big business" sound when a customer calls. Choosing a guide to small business phone systems, you'll learn:
- Starter small business phone systems.
- When to consider investing more in a small business phone system for expansion.
- A Web-based alternative phone system.
- The wireless small business phone system.
A basic, utilitarian small business phone system
Small business phone system technologies break right at 10 lines. If you have less than 10 employees and don't expect to grow -- and can deal with limitations on advanced features -- a simple small business phone system that works much like a home phone system can save you money on intial, upfront installation.
For a phone system, small business needs vary
Technological advances have brought a lot of big-company features to small business phone systems relatively cheaply. If sales is your goal, a key service unit (KSU) small business phone system is probably the better choice.
An alternative phone system for small business
If you office is already wired for high-speed data -- and you expect to make long-distance calls -- it can be cheaper to invest in a Web-based small business phone system, known as VoIP (Voice-over-Internet-Protocol).
VoIP (pronounced "voyp") is quickly becoming the small business phone system choice for offices where expansion is an issue, since adding capacity is a matter of buying more bandwidth, not necessarily more lines from the phone company.
Wireless small business phone systems
A lot of newer small business phone systems take advantage of your existing Internet connection. If you have an office wireless Web, or Wi-Fi, network, consider adding extensions using small business phone system handsets that link to it. Wireless small business phone system handets can link to Web networks without adding phone lines.
- KSU-less small business phone systems are mighty attractive to startups, since they cost so little to install. Budget for the upgrade yoru small business phone system, though, since you might quickly find the limitations unbearable.
- The knock on VoIP small business phone system is call quality, but that is often not a problem with the system but bandwidth. More bandwidth means more calls can come through at the highest level to your small business phone system.