Need a new phone system for your small business but not sure what to look for? The emergence of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and cloud hosted solutions means businesses today are flooded with choice, making it incredibly confusing to decide which phone system is going to be the right fit for your business.

Before you make the call, it pays to be familiar with the different options out there. From reliability and affordability, to the latest bells and whistles, here are five key things to consider when shopping around for phone systems for small business.

1. Connection type

Traditional landline or VoIP? A landline, or fixed phone system runs on a copper or fibre network, while a VoIP system relies on the same internet connection you use to get online.

Increasingly, phone providers are no longer producing or upgrading landline phone systems. More businesses are making the shift to VoIP systems because it can be more cost effective to install and maintain. However, there are many businesses out there that still prefer to use landline due to its reliability, clear call quality and proven existing set up.

One important thing to consider with a VoIP solution is how reliable your internet connection is, as this could impact your productivity and quality of customer service.

2. On premise or in the cloud?

A landline system will always be hosted on premise, but if you choose a VoIP solution, you’ll need to decide whether to host your system on-premise or in the cloud. With an on premise solution, the PBX equipment lives at your office or property and you’re responsible for maintaining it. With cloud based systems, the PBX equipment is hosted offsite by your provider and they manage the maintenance and upgrades.

3. Essential phone features

These days there are so many calling features small business can take advantage of that’s on par with large organisations. Beyond the standard voicemail boxes, call forwarding and attendant menu, does your business need features like call recording, voicemail-to-email, IVR, call monitoring or conference calling? Considering the features you need will help determine what phone system is right for you.

4. Mobility

Do you need a solution that enables you to take calls in and out of the office, or do you have staff that work remotely? Having mobile functionality means you can seamlessly pair your desk phone with your smartphone or mobile device and carry on working no matter where you are.

5. What’s your budget?

When choosing phone systems for small business, it’s important to consider your upfront and ongoing costs. On premise will have high upfront costs, for hardware, licensing, and installation. A cloud solution generally requires no upfront or maintenance costs, but you’ll be charged a per-user, monthly fee. VoIP solutions also need a reliable internet connection and enough bandwidth for all your users to place and receive calls, so make sure you factor in these costs too.

And it doesn’t hurt to think about the future either. Will the system you choose continue to support your business needs as you grow?

Ready to get your business phone system sorted? Find out how Business Telecom can help.