Tag Archives: home business

Voice Over IP is no longer the new kid on the block. Emerging in the seventies, coming of age in the eighties and nineties, VoIP has matured as a feature-rich, wallet-friendly alternative to the wired services that were the backbone of the businesses of our parents' and grandparents' generations. Old-fashioned phone service is a funny thing: As a business owner, you plug a traditional phone into the wall socket and place it on your new employee's desk. Apart from paying the bill every month, you might not think about it much after that. Phone service on the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) is just so straightforward and established, so plug 'n play. Yet a recent report by Software Advice, a free online service that offers VoIP system reviews, shows that 25 percent of the business owners they surveyed in 2014, who are currently using PSTN, would consider switching to VoIP. The reasons are pretty compelling.... Read More →

As businesses and home users set aside traditional analog phone services, replacing them with Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP), one of the challenges becomes allocating the right amount of bandwidth to your Internet phone service. How much of your current bandwidth is needed for high-quality voice calls? This is a question we are asked every day by our customers. Start by asking yourself a few questions: What is the actual data upload and download speed that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) delivers? What other services and applications on your network consume a portion of that available bandwidth? Are there Quality of Service (QoS) settings that you can tweak to optimize your network for VoIP? Minimum and Recommended Bandwidth for VOIP Service The bandwidth that our VOIP phone service requires depends on the number of concurrent calls you want to make. The table below shows the minimum bandwidth required to make... Read More →

With so many companies building an online presence, it's easy to forget that we still rely on the humble telephone to do business and create success. Small companies use their phone lines to answer customer questions, take orders and deal with vendors, which is why a memorable vanity number is such a valuable asset. What is a Vanity Number? A vanity number is a local or toll-free phone number made up of a string of numbers or letters that are either easy to remember or represent your business well. For example, 858-555-5000 or 1-800-FLOWERS. Software Advice, a Texas-based service that helps businesses select the right software for their needs, recently published a great decision tree (shown below) that will help you choose the best vanity number for your business. At first glance, the chart looks a bit intimidating, but the process is simple: Find the best word or phrase to represent your business... Read More →

At Phone.com, we love our Channel Partner Program (CPP). It allows businesses that would benefit from bundling Phone.com with their own services to offer their clients superior VoIP phone service! While Phone.com provides software tools, training and support for CPP Agents, the agents work one-on-one with their own clients to provide great customer support. Matthew Demaree, CEO of HTDNET, a Virginia-based computer consulting and web-hosting company, signed on with the CPP Agent program in 2011 after using our phone service for a couple of years. "We became authorized Phone.com agents, allowing us to take our knowledge and experience of Phone.com's products and services directly to our customers—getting them the direct support they need and still getting awesome backup support from Phone.com when we have a special issue or request." Demaree is a big Phone.com fan. "We have NEVER had a customer-service failure. Phone.com always goes above and beyond to ensure... Read More →

Every Phone.com account includes the ability to send a digital fax. Say goodbye to your fax machine! How to Send a Fax You can send a fax through any extension on your account. To begin this process: Mouse over Configure at the top of your account page and select Manage Users & Extensions. Select Edit next to the extension from which you want to send a fax. Select Send a Fax on the left-side navigation bar within the extension settings. You are now on the Send a Fax page. To create your fax: In the Fax Number field (1) enter the fax number to which you want to send a document. Enter cover page information (optional). In the Send a confirmation email to field (2) enter your email address to receive a successful delivery confirmation. Select Choose File (3) to upload the document you want to send. Select Preview Fax... Read More →

Phone.com makes it easy and affordable to support a business in several countries! Need virtual numbers in different regions and the ability to call internationally? For Ofelos Media, a Phone.com client based in Cyprus, our phone service delivers all that and more! Ofelos Media offers business and marketing services that help small companies expand and establish an online presence. Services include scanning and electronic archiving of documents, strategies for mobile and online marketing, and guidance on social media. Phone.com gives Ofelos Media the telephony resources to maintain their relationships with global clients, and enables them to operate economically. While their main office is located in Cyprus, Ofelos Media has another office almost 2,000 miles away in Denmark, with each location using numbers local to those countries. "The features we love most about the [Phone.com] system is its ability to handle global numbers, which gives us a local presence in each country,"... Read More →

I really hope you're not working during your Spring Break and, rather, sitting on the beach enjoying the sunshine. But if you're not able to push the work aside, here are some ways Phone.com can keep you connected while you're away. 1. Vacation Autoresponder Tell your customers that you're on vacation without even having to pick up the phone. Change your Menu or Voicemail greeting to announce the schedule adjustments to anyone who calls. 2. Voicemail Notifications to Email and SMS Again, no reason to answer the phone! Kick up those feet and let the calls roll to voicemail. You'll receive an email and/or SMS notification that you have a message waiting for you. 3. Fax to Email No need to hang out near the office fax machine for your paperwork to arrive. Get your toes in the water and wait for the faxes to come to YOU. We'll send... Read More →

More and more companies are moving away from a centralized physical structure and allowing employees to work from home or remotely when traveling on business. In 2013, there were an estimated 28 million small businesses in the United States. These businesses have generated over 65 percent of net new jobs since 1995. So how do small businesses or, for that matter, businesses of any size keep up with competition in the US and abroad? One way is to incorporate virtual-business strategies and employ some of the rapidly evolving technologies that fall under the umbrella of cloud communications. On Wednesday, February 26, at 11:00 AM PT / 2:00 PM ET, Joel Maloff (VP, Channel Development) and Aaron Rosenthal (API Product Manager) at Phone.com will host a webinar in conjunction with BrightTalk.  They will discuss the ways cloud communications might make sense for your business.  Some of the topics they will be tackling... Read More →

Many small business owners use Google Apps for email, calendar, contacts, advertising and a whole lot more, including their Google Drive service. Google Drive includes word-processing, spreadsheet, presentation, form-creation and drawing services. Previously called Google Docs, the service is an indispensable tool for business people around the world. I came across an article this morning titled 16 Secrets of Google Drive in the online MACWORLD magazine. I don’t think all of these secrets are that secret but here are seven of my favorite tips from the article. 1. Search by Person One of Google Drive’s best features is the ability to collaborate with others on a document in real time. With so many comments flying back and forth, however, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the one you're looking for. Recently Google added the ability to search not only your documents, but to find documents by the name of people... Read More →

With recent research showing the ill effects of sitting all day, the popularity of standing desks is on the rise. Many of our employees at Phone.com are rigging up and using standing desks (Click here for one example). This is not a new concept. For hundreds of years, people have chosen to stand instead of sit when doing desk work. Thomas Jefferson, for example, used an innovative six-legged desk with an adjustable slanted top that would be the envy of modern standers. There are many reasons to choose to stand to do your work. Standing has been known to help people with back pain and I believe it—you simply won’t be hunched over a keyboard all day! And many insist it's just much healthier and may help promote weight loss. One writer experimented and found his heart rate was 10 beats per minute higher while standing versus sitting, and that he burned 72... Read More →

Business owners hear about the benefits of cloud storage all the time. The cloud can save you money, offers mobile access, helps your team work more cohesively, reduces infrastructure costs, and so on. The two most popular business solutions currently are Box and Dropbox. Both have good offerings but take a high-level look at some of the more important features. In the comparison table below, you can see that Box seems a superior service. But when it comes to media and syncing features, Dropbox is the clear winner. It’s important to keep in mind that Box was created with enterprise as its main focus. Available Features: [caption id="attachment_17100" align="aligncenter" width="553"] Source: Software Advice[/caption] Service Strength: [caption id="attachment_17099" align="aligncenter" width="553"] Source: Software Advice[/caption] Security wise, Box is stronger, and probably the right choice if you are dealing with private records or payment information. Dropbox seems to have dropped the ball in... Read More →

Email—some people love it while others hate it. Managing email is a business necessity but can be a time drain. You absolutely must have an email address to function in the real world today. From buying online to confirming a dental appointment, your email address has become part of your identity. I'm going to cover what I consider the top three email services for a small business owner. The most obvious contender is Gmail. However, there are two more that come to mind. Outlook/Office 365, which is Microsoft's new email service, and ZohoMail, which has been around for many years. 1) Gmail: $50/yr standard and $10/month for Vault Gmail is probably the most popular SMB cloud-hosted email solution. It offers the ability to customize your email address (you@yourcompany.com) and comes with 30 GB of storage per account for anything associated to that email address including documents, instant messaging, calendar, pictures... Read More →

When you start a business in your home, it is usually critical to cut costs wherever you can. It can be confusing, however, to figure out what services and equipment is essential and what things you can live without. You know you need your computer, Internet service and a printer, as well as a designated area in your home to make all the magic happen, but beyond that, what is really important and what is simply fluff? With email and iPhones, do you really need a fax machine? If you have a home phone and a cell phone, do you need a business phone? In order to make the best decision, look at the options and determine your priorities. A business phone may seem like an added expense, a luxury, but it may be the sticking point between success and failure- especially when you are in business by yourself. No... Read More →