This may seem like a strange statement but “know what you need” is the best piece of advice that a start-up can receive before setting about installing a business phone line and phone system. In the excitement of getting everything organised and actually acquiring the vital things like office space, laptops and so on, it is easy to assume that getting the phone lines and phone system will somehow be as easy as picking one supplier online and placing the order. This is far from the case. In fact, specifying and planning it should be given a priority in the business plan even ahead of identifying a business premises. It will be a critical component of your new business and should be treated with due forethought.
Making the right decision is as much about what you avoid as what you positively choose…
Rule #1 – do your planning and research
Avoid ordering the wrong telephone lines, too few telephone lines, or the wrong type of telephone system. The kind of phone system you need depends on your type of business, the functionality it will need for day to day operations, the size of the company / number of users, and your budget, of course. So – do you need a PBX or will an IP PBX suffice? Do you even need a PBX if your start-up is just a handful of people? Find out what the options are and which are most likely to do the job you need.
How many phone lines do you need to order from BT?
Avoid delays because you ordered the wrong number or types of telephone line. If you haven’t worked this out by now, then it probably indicates that you need to do a little more research and spend some more time planning what your business requires.
What business operations must your telephony support?
Avoid forgetting vital functionality. A good example would be conventional card payment machines. While VOIP and Internet communications may be all the range, many of these little guys still depend on old analogue PSTN lines. Certainly there are more modern versions and models on the market but it’s your credit card company or bank that will dictate what machine you need to install and what type of phone line it needs. Check this first.
Don’t forget to plan for the future
Avoid tying your company down to restrictive contracts. While nobody can predict the future with total certainty, your business plan will contain certain assumptions regarding growth and expansion for the next three and maybe five years. Again, you don’t want to waste precious financial resources by investing a system that may prove to be overkill in hindsight. A good and sensible balance should provide some degree of scalability without assuming over-optimistic projections. Bearing this in mind, be cautious about committing to fixed term contracts for a telephone system and avoid them if at all possible. You can revise that policy in light of proven success after a few years have elapsed.