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Choosing the right phone system for your business

When your business grows beyond the simple dial up telephone setup with just a few phone lines, and you have now graduated to a separate phone and extension for each employee who works for you, you must now choose the services your business needs. Many options are available today, including PBX systems, VoIP, and virtual PBX networks (later on these). There are several things you must first consider, such as mobile lines for your employees, individual extensions with voicemail for each employee, and call routing to employees in remote locations. Small business packages include: multiple extensions, remote voicemail pickup, route-to-fax capability, and call forwarding. Teleconferencing is also available as either standard or as an add on. Other features that may be of some help to your business include, auto-attendant, this is where your staff is saved from answering the phone every time it rings. You can put in messages for business hours, any directions or instructions, and route incoming calls to the right employees. Conferencing, for those of you who have a lot of phone conferences, this might be more cost-effective by having your own teleconferencing capabilities instead of using one of the third-party services as stated above. Call hunt, If one of your employees doesn’t answer the phone, the call will automatically be forwarded to another person instead of going directly to voicemail.

Here are the types of phone services you may choose from currently, 1) VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), for sole proprietors and small-office environments that need just a few phone lines and basic voicemailboxes, a VoIP (Internet-based phone service, or Voice over Internet Protocol), requires that you also have enough computer network bandwidth and the right equipment to get the highest-quality phone calls possible. Each VoIP system makes specific recommendations for equipment, such as dedicated routers for each carrier, and some let you use regular phone equipment, with specific adapters. 2) PBX (Private Branch eXchange), these include onsite switching equipment to route calls between employees and to outside lines. Standard PBX systems are normally ideal for medium and large businesses, but newer PBX vendors provide services apropos to the small-business market using VoIP technology. These systems are a good choice if you need sophisticated auto-attendant features. PBX systems cost more than VoIP, especially at start-up, because you’re buying switching equipment in addition to new phones. 3) Virtual PBX, these services layer an auto-attendant PBX system on top of your existing mobile, land, and VoIP phone lines. This lets you take advantage of all the lines you currently have. Virtual PBX (or hosted PBX) systems cost about $10 to $50 per month, depending on features and the number of lines. Look into these if don’t want or need a permanent office installation. 4) Open-source VoIP, keep an eye open for emerging technologies which installs open-source systems similar to Linux, but for business phones. When choosing the right phone system for your business, realize that you must consider how many employees will be using your equipment. This will dictate the hardware you will buy for your small business. Look forward to expansion, and you will create space for future employees, or purchase hardware that can upgrade you phone service. Medium and small businesses must decide on travel, as well, with certain employees working abroad, technological choices must be based on this, too. All of these things will be important in the function and upkeep of your small business.

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