September 1, 2009

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Small Business, Big Connections

Today’s Entrepreneurs Need High-end Telecommunications

By Heather L. King

September 1, 2009

No business, regardless of size, can compete in today’s economy without a well-designed telecommunications system that meets the needs of both clients and business owners. Voice, data and Internet are survival tools for a healthy business and, though costly, a strong telecommunications system will ultimately pay for itself. For entrepreneurs just entering the market, a hosted professional telecommunications system can provide an extra edge over competitors by offering high-end solutions at reasonable prices. Telesphere’s CEO Clark Peterson explains, “Customers can adopt advanced business communications and Internet services with no upfront capital costs.” Jay Brown, president of TriTel Networks, agrees, saying, “As far as making a small company more effective and more efficient, [a hosted solution] can absolutely help them take advantage of technology to bridge the gap between a small enterprise and what looks to be a vibrant enterprise.” Bang for your Buck A hosted solution is an excellent entrée into telecommunications systems for smaller businesses on a limited budget. This option allows entrepreneurs to essentially lease time from a larger system located elsewhere and get a fully functioning IP telecommunications solution. This solution can include anything from caller ID, call recording, voicemail conversion to e-mail and a variety of custom-designed options, such as opening a customer record as a call comes in. “Those are the kinds of things that small businesses really get the most bang for their buck because they are already understaffed,” says Brown. “They really don’t have the staffing to be able to do some of those things that we can do with technology. It requires a little bit more bandwidth expense on their part, but it allows them to have a system that is much more robust than what the typical small company can afford.” Keeping down software and hardware costs is a high priority for business owners and many Utah-based companies offer a variety of ways to manage this challenge. Brown and Peterson agree that the first and most critical step is to focus on your company’s specific communication challenge and then work with a company to design a customized system that is cost-effective and efficient. Brown says that a business owner should begin by taking a close look at the telecom systems the business already has in place. Oftentimes, he says, those systems can be spruced up without a complete overhaul. “Our average customer can benefit by using a cell phone line in their business to take advantage of the free unlimited long distance because they already have it in their plan,” he says. “If we have a customer who has three or four cell phones, we can figure out a way to save them a few hundred dollars a month just by integrating their cell phone package into their business solution. Those are all things that are big time for a small business.” The Cutting Edge Another money-saving benefit of a hosted solution is immediate access to software updates and new features without downtime or new investments. “Through feature updates, we can make available new services all without the customer ever having to invest more money in new telecommunications software or hardware,” says Peterson. But probably the most often overlooked component to successful implementation of any of these solutions is making sure employees know how to use the telecommunications system the company has invested in. “If you expect this technology to actually have an impact on your business, you’ve got to know how to use it,” explains Brown. “So we budget into every sale time on-site with a professional trainer who is going to come out and teach them how to use the equipment.” By utilizing the products and services of a professional telecommunications company, entrepreneurs can take advantage of strategic, customized systems that benefit the company, customers and the bottom line now and into the future.
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