Big Savings for Small Business: Business VoIP Options

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As a small business owner, chances are you’re always looking for hidden ways to save and cut costs.  One of the easiest ways to realize savings on your business phone system is actually the simplest: by switching to a business VoIP service plan, you can save on long distance phone bills, phone equipment maintenance, and monthly phone system service charges.

Why VoIP?
Businesses make the switch to VoIP for several different reasons.  Reason number one is typically cost savings: not only will you save on outgoing long distance and international calls, you’ll also get most of the enterprise phone system features you require for far less.  Since VoIP calls are routed using an internet connection, not a phone line, there’s no need to maintain a “phone cabinet” or bulky routing software, at your office.  Most VoIP systems require minimal equipment and are very inexpensive to maintain.  Keep in mind that if you do switch, you’ll still need to pay for your internet connection and any phone hardware that your business VoIP service provider requires.

VoIP Service Options
VoIP service is available for companies of all sizes.  Here are a few of the most common choices when it comes to VoIP service for business:

Basic, or traditional VoIP: Smaller businesses often choose a traditional VoIP service plan, where system software can be downloaded to office computers and can be used immediately.  This type of service works well for smaller companies, such as those with 10 employees or less, that require only one phone line.  You can use a free service like Skype, or upgrade to a paid service that offers features like voicemail, call forwarding, call transfer, and other features.  

On-site PBX or IP-PBX: Enterprise IP-PBX is a solution for larger businesses or those with more internet and call traffic.  IP-PBX uses a PBX, or routing device, to connect to the internet and route calls within your office.  Using an IP-PBX, you can designate bandwidth for data and voice traffic- isolating each component ensures optimal call quality and is also a good practice to help ensure that calls are secure.

Hosted systems: Hosted PBX, sometimes called hosted VoIP, combines the functionality of an on-site PBX with the cost benefits of a business VoIP.  Routing software is housed at the phone service provider’s location, and calls are routed to your office using either a dedicated connection (such as a T-1) line or an “open internet” connection.  Hosted PBX is advantageous for businesses that are low on space and concerned about maintenance costs- the host provider maintains the system, performs software updates, and makes the necessary repairs as necessary.

How Do I Get Started?
Once you’ve decided to make the switch to a business VoIP system, you’ll need to find a service provider.  The provide you choose will be based on a variety of factors: how many employees will use the system, how many lines you need, your call traffic, and your geographic location will all impact your choices.  Compare several different service providers using a vendor match service like or, and make sure you factor in the costs of hardware and connection charges before making a decision.
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