3 Ways Your Small Business Can Benefit from an Advanced Phone Solution

Small businesses need tech, too.
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Does this scenario sound familiar?

Your small business is thriving.

You’re growing your team.

But you don’t yet have the resources for a full-time IT staff, making it difficult to ensure you’re using technologies that enable you to operate as efficiently as possible. I can’t tell you how often I hear this, especially in Colorado, where 97 percent of businesses are considered “small,” according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Take retail. Small retail business owners spend their precious time managing inventory, invoicing and overseeing expenses. Many serve as their own IT staff of one. Even if business is thriving – in-store or online – owners may think the technologies that will help things run more efficiently are designed for the big guys, who have enough available cash to make a substantial upfront investment.

Here’s the thing: The tools that empower large corporations are the exact same tools that can help small business owners. An advanced phone solution like hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a great example.

So, here are three reasons why small businesses should consider implementing a hosted VoIP solution:

  1. Conduct business anywhere.

Business today is increasingly mobile, requiring travel between home, off-site meetings, new business pitches, tradeshows and more. Businesses need the flexibility to answer calls from current or potential clients on-the-go. With hosted VoIP, calls to your office can be forwarded to mobile phones seamlessly, regardless of the recipient’s physical location. And callers won’t notice a difference, as they’re still calling the business line, so there’s no need to distribute multiple contact numbers. As long as your cellphone is connected, you’re ready to make or take your calls as usual.

There are benefits for internal communications, too. The features offered by hosted VoIP can ensure you’re able to stay in contact with employees throughout the day, even if you aren’t in the office together. Through instant messaging, desktop and file sharing, you’re able to collaborate with members of your team with ease, regardless of whether you’re sitting in the office next door or halfway across the country.

  1. Increased productivity.

For small businesses owners, every minute matters. IT services that require hours to set up and troubleshoot can be frustrating and impact your bottom line. Using a hosted VoIP system allows you to spend more time on core competencies and growing your business, freeing up time that otherwise was spent setting up technology.

Once in place, hosted VoIP offers features like an automated attendant, which can route calls throughout your system, reducing the amount of time your employees spend redirecting calls. Voicemail messages are delivered as emails, allowing you to easily forward them to the right member of your team. These time-saving features can help increase employee productivity.

  1. Flexibility to scale.

One of the main benefits of hosted VoIP for small businesses is that the system can grow as you grow. So, for example, when your business is ready to move to a new office space, just unplug your phone and bring it with you. This saves you the hassle of changing numbers and having to update your collateral, such as business cards and flyers. You can easily add phones and additional services as you grow, without large upfront costs.

This is especially important for seasonal businesses, as hosted VoIP allows you to extend service to any additional employees you bring on during that time. Then, once seasonal workers are no longer needed, you’re able to easily scale back down.

The bottom line is: Although small businesses are a fraction of the size of Fortune 500 companies, they have the same pain points, and many require the same technologies to remain relevant.  Employees need the ability to conduct business securely and reliably, 24/7, no matter where they are.

And, regardless of size, sales are based on one-to-one relationships. And for these relationships to flourish, you need to be in close touch with your customers on an ongoing basis. Just like it does for the “big guys,” hosted VoIP makes this possible for small businesses, too.

Vernon Irvin is senior vice president for CenturyLink’s small and medium-size business sales. He leads a national team of 1,000 sales and marketing professionals who are charged with growing a portfolio of data, voice, hosting, cloud computing, managed services and IT services for SMBs.

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