Business Start up advice
Not everyone can be an expert on connectivity and communications products,and when you’re focusing on your business there isn’t often the time to explore all the elements of communications. However, when it comes to communications it’s important to understand the basics in order to help you get your business moving in the right direction.
Setting up your communications & Choosing the right provider
Whether you’re a brand new business or an established company that wants to update their communications, you need to consider how you would like to communicate with customers and staff. Depending on the kind of business you are, you may want to take and make calls, have contact through website, email or even take online orders. Speak to a telecoms provider once you have an idea of how you want to communicate and they should be able to guide you to the right products and services. See our guide on How to Choose the Right Provider. You’ll need to sort out a contract with a provider before you get going, so make sure you allow sufficient time to set this up if you are a new business. Remember that not all providers will allow you to use a residential tariff for business purposes.
Landline, VoIP or mobile?
If you want to be contacted, it can often be best to have a landline (or local rate or Freephone) number, as it keeps the costs down for the customers who contact you. The traditional landline system is used throughout the UK and is a wired connection between your business premises and the nearest exchange, via a street cabinet. The most common example is your standard phone line (landline). There is however a cheaper and more functional alternative in the form of a VoIP telephone system, you can gain a range of features to help your business and can usually save on your communication bill. Read about What VoIP is and What features it can offer business. If you did want to connect using mobile phones VoIP can also be used.
Business mobile phones function in exactly the same way as residential mobile phones. However there can be advantages in business mobile pricing and tariffs, and they may come with additional support as part of a contract. Mobiles phones are likely to be particularly important to your business if you don’t have a fixed office, or you need to stay in contact on the move. Some providers, such as VIP VoIP, offer facilities which allow you to pick up calls from your office phone on your mobile (and vice versa), and provide a local landline number for your mobile. If you do wish to use mobile, check for coverage information on provider websites, and ask for further advice on maximising mobile coverage.
Broadband is a way of connecting to the internet. It allows information to be carried at high speed to your personal computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone, smart TV or other web-enabled device. Broadband technology is the same for residential users and for businesses; however you may not always be allowed to use a residential package for business activity so you should check with your provider. If you choose to use VoIP it is essential you have a great connection, we explain Why Business broadband is so important in this guide.
The need for superfast Broadband rather than a standard ADSL line will depend on what kind of business you are, and what you want to do with your connection and communications services. Depending on your location in the UK, only some types of broadband may be available to you so it is best to check to work out what you will be able to use your connection for. In general, paying for a better, faster service pays off for your business as you will be less affected by peak times and download/upload speeds with be rapidly increased.
Getting your business online if you are inexperienced
Almost 1.7 million organisations and businesses do not use the internet and do not have any web or social media presence, according to Lloyd’s Bank’s Digital Index 2014.
If this seems true for your business, or you don’t feel confident using digital communications services, don’t be afraid to get in touch and ask advice on what services you should be using. We’ll be happy to help.