Telephony technology just keeps getting better and better for business owners. Here are three excellent low-cost phone options for any independent business start-up, whether you’re calling from the big city or a small town. The “Baby Bells” are being demolished faster than you think, and this disruptive trend brings only good news for you.
Goodbye long-distance charges, hello Internet access! Skype is the best-known phone option that allows you to place free international calls over your computer. In addition to the voice and video capabilities, Skype also allows for fast and easy chatting, or “Skyping.” Many businesses use Skyping for day-to-day real-time chat between employees, customers, and clients spread across the globe. You can also buy Skype minutes to inexpensively place calls to traditional phones, too.
The mighty giant Google provides similar services. Choose video and voice options with Hangouts and chat using G+. Or, set up a virtual number and route calls to your Gmail account using Google Voice — all for free if you agree to be part of the Google universe.
Cloud-Based Company Phone Systems
Not so long ago, it was a big, expensive deal for a corporation to upgrade its internal phone systems, set up a toll-free number, or forward office voice-mail to cell phones. That’s all changed with more voice services being transferred to the cloud.
One player in this field is Grasshopper. Instead of setting up a complicated maze of hardwired phones you can now set up as many virtual voice-mail boxes, toll-free numbers, or extensions as you need, for a low monthly fee (presently $12/month). This is very helpful as more small businesses become geographically distributed. Employees, freelance service providers, and customers are no longer tied to one place.
Hooray — functional smartphone prices are dropping! That’s great news if you’re accustomed to using apps but would like to reduce your monthly costs. How would you enjoy being out of that contract, too?
Republic Wireless phones are decidedly less fancy than the latest iPhone. However, the savings are pretty sexy. Republic Wireless phones run on Wi-Fi networks, not cellular networks exclusively. The Wi-Fi savings transfer to you. Purchase a Wi-Fi-enabled smartphones, and usage with cost you a flat monthly fee of just $19/month, no contract. Republic Wireless is disruptive technology the same way Square has liberated small business owners from massive merchant contracts.
As a business owner, I use both and I must say, they have my number.
Katie McCaskey is a small business owner and freelance journalist writing for VistaprintDeals.com, offering a wide range of Vistaprint coupon codes to business owners worldwide. Katie has been covering the topics of marketing on a budget and other money-saving tips and advice for small businesses for over 10 years.