How To Buy or Build A Small Office Phone System
A lot of entrepreneurs start their business from a laptop and a cell phone, and that can be a great place to begin. If you are only getting a few calls and you are the only one answering the phone, there’s really no reason to get too crazy with your phone system. But as the business grows you will need help answering the phone. The cell phone and internet companies are all to happy to offer a solution, but their systems can get very expensive quickly. If your phone system is costing you more than about $25 per extension, you can do better.
Option 1: Virtual Small Office Phone System
The quick and easy solution is to find an online solution provider that can set up system for you. They take care of all the back-end magic, and the prices are reasonable if you don’t need a lot of extensions. Expect to pay between $12 and $25 per extension depending upon the details.
A Few Key Features:
- Auto-attendant: Get your incoming calls routed to the right person. Some businesses prefer to have a human answer the phone, and I get that, but an auto-attendant can make your company seem bigger than it is, and can also screen out some of those pesky solicitors.
- Ring Groups: If you have more than one person responsible for sales, or customer service, or some other function, you can have the auto-attendant ring multiple extensions when they press 1 for sales, or 2 for customers service.
- Voicemail to email: This feature is super handy if you are out and about all day. You can quickly check your voicemails and decide who to call back.
- Multi-device Support: Be sure you have choices on which type of device you use, whether it be a traditional desktop phone, or an app for your smartphone or PC.
Option 2: Build Your Own PBX
As the business grows it will become more cost effective to build out your own system, especially if you start to need features that the cookie cutter Virtual solutions do not provide. Building out a solutions can be broken into three key components:
- Voip Provider: This is the company to provides your phone number(s), and routes incoming calls to our office phone system. We use Babytel, but there are many good providers out there.
- PBX: This is the software that allows you to set up phone extensions, auto-attendants, ring groups, voicemail, and all of the other features your business needs. Our office runs its own Asterisk Server, which is the go-to solution for everything from small office to enterprise solutions.
- Phones: Picking the right mix of desktop and softphone apps will depend upon your needs. We keep it simple with Grandstream desktop phones. For our smartphone extensions we currently use the free version of Zoipier.
Need help building your own system? We do that! Contact us to see if we can help!