Telecommunication cost is always an obstacle for small business owners, especially if you need to call domestic or international long distance. The long distance cost factor alone, depending on the type of business you're in, can make the difference in the success of any small business.
The telecommunication market today is one of the most competitive. Rates for both local, domestic long distance or DLL (long distance in the same country) and international long distance (ILD) are going down every day.
The new player in small business phone systems, VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol), puts big guns like MCI, AT&T and others in competition with smaller providers. Although the quality of VoIP from the big telecommunications companies are usually better, it's the smaller companies that are proving to offer better rates at an acceptable quality. Business owners have to choose for themselves based on the tradeoff between quality and cost.
Before choosing the proper phone system for your business, you need to figure out exactly what your business needs. If your business relies on the phone for prospecting customers, providing customer support, or giving out important information through the phone, then you should opt for better quality.
If you use the phone for short communication with your business partners or agents, or any other reason which is NOT your main business function, it would be better to save a little and go with the low cost option. The difference in quality is not very apparent in most cases.
If you are just starting you small business, phone cards also provide some sort of temporary solution until you can get enough financing to develop a better system. Phone cards usually let you dial international and national long distance at a lower cost because they use either VoIP as the back end provider or through a special promotion or arrangement between telecommunications companies.
Regardless of which phone system you choose for your small business, make sure you are getting the most out of the money you spend for these long distance or international plans. Forget the bells and whistles. The purpose of having a good phone system is, and always should be, to communicate and express yourself.
Gobala Krishnan is a freelance writer and owner of the Digital Home Business Association, providing complete business solutions for the serious small business entrepreneur. Check it out now at: http://www.home-business-association.com
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