If you are just starting a new business or your existing business has outgrown your current phone system, then you need to consider moving to a business phone plan.
Having a business phone plan benefits your business in numerous ways, depending on the type of phone plan you select. Your main decision is whether you want a landline phone system or one that operates over the internet (VoIP). This is because the costs, features and benefits can be very different for landline based plans and VoIP plans.
Let’s look at both of these phone plans so you can decide which system is best for your business.
Landline based phone plans
This is the type of phone system you have at home and most probably already use in your business today. You might have heard of PSTN systems? That is what landlines are – they are public switched telephone networks (PSTN) which are simply analog systems that use copper wiring.
Many large businesses use a landline based system, but if so, they also require an on-site Private Branch Exchange (PBX) to link their internal phone lines to each other and to an external line.
These systems can be costly to set up and to maintain, but are still popular with large enterprises who have the budget and resources to deal with this type of older phone system. Many businesses, particularly smaller companies and start-ups are heading towards a VoIP system.
VoIP based phone plans
Instead of running over traditional landlines, VoIP systems operate over the internet. Every business has internet connection so this is not a huge leap. Up until recently, the main stumbling block for many businesses has been that you still need a PBX system with VoIP “like Ooma PBX“.
So whilst you have many more features with a VoIP system than you do with a traditional system (which is the main reason why companies switch to a VoIP system), the overall costs are still high (even though calls over the internet are cheaper than via copper wires).
The above type of VoIP system is self-hosted, meaning that you own the PBX hardware, which gives you total control, but also means that you need to have someone on staff to maintain, service, upgrade and troubleshoot the PBX system. All of this adds to the cost of a self-hosted VoIP phone system.
The alternative is a cloud based VoIP system, which is much cheaper because you don’t need to buy and maintain a PBX system on-site. This is the option taken by most start-ups today and many established businesses are also moving over to a cloud based VoIP system.
There aren’t really any downsides to a cloud based system. The only possible issue is that you are not in control, because you don’t have any hardware. The flip side is that if any problems do occur in the system, any good provider should have plenty of redundancies (such as servers) to take up the slack and keep your business running, while they fix the problem.
Overall, if you want to cut costs, then a cloud based VoIP system comes out on top. If you already have the PBX hardware in place, then you need to weigh up your current costs against the saving you will make by moving to a cloud based phone system.