8 Things You Need to Know About Setting Up Small Business Voip

Where do you start when you decide to switch to VoIP? Here is how to make choosing and installing your new VoIP phone system easy:

  1. Check your network. Make sure your current infrastructure can support a VoIP phone system.
  2. Test your internet speed. Run an internet speed test to make sure your internet is healthy enough for VoIP.
  3. Determine your call volume. Know how frequently you plan on making and receiving calls.
  4. Install Backup. A backup battery pack or failover option will keep you up and running.
  5. Choose a VoIP type. Determine whether an IP PBX, hosted PBX, or SIP trunking is right for you.
  6. Choose a VoIP service provider. Compare and contrast providers based on their available plans.
  7. VoIP hardware. Utilize your existing equipment through BYOD or purchase new IP phones.
  8. Assess your budget. Determine how much you are willing to spend on your new phone solution.

 

Below is the expanded version of these eight easy steps, with further detail and instruction to guide you. Following these steps will help make installing your first business VoIP system a success.

How To Setup Your Small Business For VoIP

1. Your Network Capacity

First and foremost, you need to know your network capacity. Can it handle the increase in data? Is it sufficient to sustain network flow? Do you have the proper LAN (local area network) setup for VoIP? Without a network, you won't have the infrastructure to use VoIP services. Have your network administrators give your network a check-up so you can check this important requirement off the list.

2. Your Internet connection

Know the bandwidth available to your small businesses. Each and every business has its own internet needs and requirements. Before you switch to VoIP, you need to make sure your current connection can handle VoIP service alongside your current internet use. Use our VoIP speed tester to test your current internet connection.

3. Calling Habits

Look at your calling habits. If you frequently make long distance and international calls, VoIP can help you optimize savings. If you usually limit yourself to local calls, VoIP will not be as cost effective—but it will allow you to quickly expand your calling area (and business!)

4. Publicly Switched Telephone Network - PSTN(landline)

Small business VoIP systems do need internet connections, but they also need electricity. Have a conventional landline in case of power outage or emergency—earthquakes, fires, snowstorms, and other natural disasters can all crash your network. With a backup landline, you’ll still be able to make calls.

5. Premises- or Hosted Phone System

How many users will your small business network have? The number of users can help you choose between a premises-based or hosted PBX (PBX stands for “private branch exchange,” the system that allows your office to have various extensions). If your business has fewer than fifteen users, and you don’t want to hire someone to deal with the phone system, try a hosted PBX. It does cost more for a hosted system, but it places the responsibility in the hands of experts.

6. VoIP Service

There are lots of VoIP providers out there. Hundreds. And each provider offers different services, options, and service plans. Do intensive research to find the best VoIP plan for your small business. Visit our Business VoIP Comparison page to start your research.

7. VoIP Equipment

Many providers supply standard equipment with their service. Once you’ve determined what VoIP features and services your small business needs, make sure you’ll get the appropriate equipment.

8. The Bottom Line

It may seem obvious, but make sure you budget for your switch to VoIP. Will you make a single, upfront payment? Set up a monthly plan? Or do you want to make a down payment and finance the remainder of the bill? Each provider has different payment and financing options, which can weigh in on your choice of provider. RingCentral, for example, offers annual payment for their plans, which can save you 33% off the month-to-month price. Check with providers for details (most will offer a custom quote).

Just as important: Make sure to budget in your return on investment. How much money, per month, will VoIP service save you over conventional phone service? Per year?

There are a lot of VoIP providers out there. Voipreview.org will help you find the best one for you.

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