Should Startups Get VoIP?

Hey everyone! Welcome to the Telonium Thursdays whiteboard
web series. I'm your host for this week, Alice. Last week, we discussed the reliability of
VoIP, and this week we'll be discussing whether or not VoIP is a good option for startups,
so let's get started. Startups, especially unfunded ones, are careful
with their money and know that they don't need big bulky phone systems that won't give
them much benefit in their early stages. If you have a young business and are wondering
what your best options are, we have some advice for you. Remember, your goal isn't just to be cheap;
it's to be effective at an affordable price. So you have to consider what you can get out
of a phone and if it's worth how much it costs. Let's go over some of your options. Alright, let's begin with your first option:
cell phones. Cell phones can be great for the earliest
stages of a startup due to the fact that you probably already own one.

If you're looking for the simplest of features,
so being able to make inbound and outbound calls, and don't expect to have any real customers
or revenue for a while, cell phones are certainly satisfactory. The next three options are all Voice over
IP, starting with #2, which is Google Voice. If you've started thinking about branding
your company or are expecting to have customers soon, you should think about getting a number
for your business. A Google Voice account is probably the least
expensive way to do this. You can get a number for free and use it on
your computer and even your cell phone. If you're doing the latter, you'll be paying
with your regular cell phone minutes. As you start gaining customers and revenue,
and need to start hiring sales people or customer support, it's time to start thinking about
getting an actual phone system for your business. VoIP phone systems give you unlimited lines,
allowing you to be more effective at managing your inbound and outbound calls as you grow. If you already have a Google Voice number,
you can also port that number to a VoIP provider, allowing your business to have a consistent
brand.

You probably still want to save as much money
as possiblethough , right? Let's look at some of your options and see
what can affect the cost. Now onto VoIP soft phones: VoIP uses IP phones
and there is a distinction between software AKA soft phones and hardware also known as
hard phones, which is option #4. Soft phones are downloadable applications
on your computer with all the features of a desk phone that connects to your phone system. A relatable example of a soft phone would
be Skype, although that's an example for consumer use and lacks business features. Business soft phones typically are less expensive
than hardware phones, and are sometimes even free. So, in this situation you pay little to nothing
for the actual phones. Alright, onto option #4: VoIP hard phones. Hard phones refer to regular phones you would
have at your desk in your office, except in the case of IP phones, they have an ethernet
jack instead of an analog one. Hard phones are more expensive (usually starting
around $100.00) but offer quality comparable to and sometimes better than analog business
phones. Within a VoIP phone system, we want to discuss
another distinction that's relevant if you're looking to save some money.

There are two types of extensions with Telonium,
virtual and regular. Alright, let's start with regular extensions:
regular extensions give you all the functionality of a business phone system, including unlimited
local and long distance, unlimited concurrent calls, and a fully-featured phone system,
all at an affordable price. Next, we have virtual extensions: virtual
extensions rely on an external phone, a non-ip phone such as a cell phone or a home phone,
and are usually less expensive than regular extensions. This is because virtual extensions allow you
to receive unlimited inbound calls, but not make outbound calls. So, why would you want a virtual extension? Think of someone that is always on the go,
like a real estate agent or an outside sales rep. They're often out of the office but don't
want to miss any important calls, so with virtual extensions, calls that are coming
in to their work number can be easily transferred to a cell phone and they won't miss a beat Alright, let's quickly go over land lines.

Recently we spent an entire video comparing
analog to VoIP, so we'll stay pretty simple here. If you want a more detailed analysis, check
out this video. In order to use an analog system, you'll have
to have an analog network coming into your building along with an analog PBX in your
office. Because hosted VoIP systems allow you to use
an already existing internet connection to use your phone system, VoIP tends to be cheaper
and just as effective, if not more. If you're a large business, it's possible
some of the advantages of analog outweigh those of VoIP, but if you're a small to medium
sized business, you'll want to stick with VoIP.

Let's return to the question we asked in the
beginning. Should startups use VoIP? Absolutely. At the earliest of stages, you can use a cell
phone, but there are a wide variety of options in VoIP, from the cheapest at a simple Google
Voice number to a more expensive, but still affordable, regular extension with a hardware
IP phone. If you are a small or medium sized business
that's growing, hosted VoIP is cheaper and more effective than analog phone systems. Thanks for watching and make sure to tune
in to next week's video. Until then, you can stop by our website at
www.telonium.com, or tweet us @telonium. You can also check out our pinterest and instagram
or stop by our facebook page. Thanks for watching..