For the smallest of businesses, hosted VoIP services may not seem to have an immediate or compelling appeal – but there are plenty of good reasons why it makes sense for them to switch to digital voice
If you are a sole trader and have at some time considered the merits of a VoIP service, you may well have decided that it wasn’t really for you. It’s easy to understand why a very small business might take this view. Most won’t need all the features that a hosted voice service offers – and many independents and freelancers do a lot of their work through their mobile phone.
But there are quite a few good reasons why a sole trader or smaller business might want to seriously consider a VoIP service.
Cast the net wider
Most sole traders operate within a town, county or region and being local is part of their appeal. But if a trader covers several towns or areas that have separate STD codes, they may not be perceived as being truly ‘local’ by some potential customers. With a VoIP system, they could have a number in each town or STD code area they cover, with all calls diverted back to a central number. Calls could then be answered by an automated response and voicemail service or redirected to the trader’s own mobile.
Never miss a call
With VoIP, you can be anywhere and always on the same number. As explained above, calls to your listed number or numbers can be redirected to another number or to a mobile. The system can be set up so that any calls not answered within a set number of rings are redirected to the voice mail. A trader could be out on a job, at home or in the workplace – or even on the beach – and all calls would still be answered. There will never be a situation in which you will miss a call.
Be more flexible
For a small business that needs to take on staff for a short term period, such as a maker of seasonal goods or a specialist marketing firm, VoIP can be invaluable as it allows users to be added or taken off the service within minutes. You can scale-up and scale back down almost instantly and never have to commit to a long-term line rental or make do with a single line.
If you do run one or more landlines now (and you would need one for broadband) then switching to VoIP is certainly going to save you money. Even if you don’t use all the features, it should cost you less overall, especially if you call a lot of mobiles or make international calls.
Make better use of broadband
Routing voice across your broadband connection will drive more value from that regular subscription. It may also help to justify upgrading the connection when more bandwidth is required – for additional users or cloud services, for example.
Make the switch before it’s forced on you
By 2025, BT plans to have switched all PSTN lines over to digital, IP-based connections, so by this time all voice line users will be compelled to switch to VoIP services. Rather than waiting and having to make the switch in a rush, proprietors of small businesses may prefer to make their own choice in their own time.