Small Business Telephone Systems

Five questions you MUST answer

Without the answers to these simple questions you could end up with a phone system that won’t work for your small business.

There was once a time when feature rich business phone systems seemed exclusive to big businesses and large corporations with massive budgets. But with the fast paced, technologically driven society where more people have cell phones than a toothbrush, business phone systems have become imperative to any sized business looking to be successful in the 21st century. The good news is that, implementing phone systems in a business has become much more budget friendly, provided you choose a system specifically for your needs.

To make this process easier, below you will find 5 very important questions that every business owner should ask themselves before signing on a phone system plan.


What are your specific goals that you are looking to satisfy with this new business phone system?

Write each of those down. Maybe it will increase your profit margin by making your business accessible to a whole new market, maybe you are looking to better the quality of customer care, or for your employees and the phone system to be able to handle a larger call volume. Also, write down the specific functionality your phone system should have. This could include caller id, automated attendant service, voice mail, call forwarding, intercom, conferencing and paging features. Knowing your goals or “wants” will make it easier for you to find that perfect match.


Do you already have a phone system?

What is the problem you would like your new system to solve? A phone system outage lasting a few hours, or even minutes can cost you leads, sales and produce some angry customers. What exactly is your pain point with the current or old business phone system that you own? Maybe it won’t operate smoothly or requires frequent costly maintenance. Your old phone system could be antiquated, forcing the employees to use their cell phones to use modern features. Analyzing what your old phone system lacks will help you pick a feature rich system specifically suitable for your workforce.


Are you looking for a premise based phone system or a hosted phone system?

Some companies prefer to purchase and manage hardware and software. This option though does require some initial capital investment, phone company line or trunk charges and potential recurring charges incurred for smoothly running the system. Also, you will want to work with a local business telephone company who will provide the ongoing maintenance and installation for you.

The other option is hosted or cloud services. This option does not require any upfront capital because there is no purchasing of phones or systems necessary. You don’t have to worry about software upgrades. A hosted phone system will ideally be managed by your local cloud system reseller off site. It is a good idea to make sure that your hosted or cloud system will be installed by a local certified reseller rather than the hosted or cloud services company shipping your system to you and expecting you to connect and configure your system. This option only requires a one time professional installation fee and then a nominal monthly fee per user. Also, note that with the cloud system, your phones and software will automatically be upgraded.

Another issue to remember is scalability. Before making a decision, think about how your company might grow in the coming years. With hosted phone systems, you can easily add or remove users, but with an on premise based phone system, you will either have to purchase additional expansion for your system or potentially purchase a larger system.


What is your budget?

Before purchasing a phone system, do some research and find the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and see if it’s within your budget. Include capital expenses, installation charges, maintenance charges and training charges while coming up with the TCO. With the variety of options available, there is a good chance to find one within your budget. Consult with your local reseller to see which options work best for your specific needs.


What is the reputation of the company you are considering?

While the reputation of the brand of telephone system is important, it’s even more important to make sure the local company you hire to help you with your telephone needs is a professional and well regarded business. Ask for referrals and read online reviews. Note: If you find a negative review online, or otherwise, ask the company to explain. Often the way a company handles this kind of question will give you more information than you could get from just hearing the good things.

With a little bit of time and research you will definitely find a telephone system perfect for your business. If you need any help or would like a professional recommendation, please give us a call. Our experts are waiting to help you.

Why Northwest Telecom Systems is your best choice?

Whereas many other companies don’t provide you with multiple options, our alliances with a variety of telephone and internet providers afford us the opportunity to make the most precise recommendations for your specific needs. The result: the best service at the best prices. Call us today at 503-243-2255.

Established in 1989, Northwest Telecom Systems, Inc. has a legacy of providing high quality telecommunication services and solutions to the Portland Metro Area.

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