VoIP is one of the many tools that can make this possible, but so many companies are still resisting the technology. Despite early adoption hurdles, VoIP is one of the most common phone systems in use at small businesses in the United States and continues to gain in popularity.
Here are some ways to determine if VoIP will be a good fit for your company:
- Your company is still growing. One of VoIP’s biggest strengths is its flexibility. Instead of having to commit to a set number of lines like you would with a PBX, you can drop and add lines at will with most VoIP providers. That means that if your company is still expanding or is seeing some major changes, you’ll be able to flex with the times without spending a lot of extra money on new lines you might not need tomorrow. For a small business, every nickel can count, and every phone line needs to be busy working.
- Your business uses fewer than 50 phone lines. VoIP really shines when you’re using fewer than 50 phone lines. Under this threshold, it really doesn’t make sense to pay for PBX setup, equipment or the specialized staff to maintain these systems. You can order VoIPs with any number of phone lines, of course, but your break-even point is going to be around 50 lines—at that point, the cost is less of a major deal-breaker. PBX can still make sense for very large companies, it still has its place in the business ecosystem, so giant companies should continue to consider it for other features it offers.
- You want to self-install and maintain your phones. Again, with a small business, the more you can do yourself or at least keep in-house, the better. VoIPs are designed to be self-installed, easy to maintain and don’t need special knowledge to keep running since your VoIP provider will be doing most of the heavy lifting. Your internal staff can still make changes like assigning telephone numbers to workstations, reconfiguring phone systems and so forth, but maintenance is largely part of the package, saving you a bundle over keeping a trained phone guy handy.
- Your employees are out of the office a lot. The flexibility of a VoIP is where it really shines. Instead of relying on a receptionist or operator to know when someone is out of the office, it’s simple for any employee to reroute their desk phone to any other telephone number. So, whether Tom is off on a service call or Tina now works remotely, inbound calls continue to get answered just like normal. Your callers won’t even realize they’ve been transferred and it saves your in-house reception the time of determining just where any given employee is at any given time.
- You want to integrate your phones with your software. Whether you want your phones to connect directly to Outlook to dial customer from your computer systems or you want complete control over your hold messaging, your software packages will integrate seamlessly with your VoIP. Because it’s a virtual protocol to begin with, your computer already better understands the data that’s coming from your VoIP phone system. This makes automatically discovering phone numbers and bringing up customer data, for example, monumentally easier for your systems.
Although VoIP isn’t the answer for every business, there’s a reason it’s often included in lists of small business tips — it’s a perfect fit for smaller companies. If you have fewer than 50 phone lines and want to have a phone system that’s easy to install and cheap to run, there’s absolutely nothing that compares to VoIP. Even very large businesses can benefit from VoIP if their workers are spread across many different buildings.