Modern technology offers up a ton of support for today’s small business. Technology may fall short in many ways, but it has certainly managed to make it easier for people to connect. The social networks have exploded interaction between people, companies, brands and nonprofits, and video conferencing and cloud technology have greatly reduced the need to travel for business. One amazing tool that more and more entrepreneurs are taking advantage of is the voice over internet protocol, or VoIP service. Basically, VoIP joins your data plan with voice and video options, so you’ll be able to utilize all three through a single service. It’s convenient, but also provides some incredible versatility. Here are a couple of the ways VoIP can improve your small business.

First of all, VoIP allows you to make all of your voice calls directly through your data plan. That means you won’t need a dedicated telephone line, but can run your entire business with a quality internet connection. Not only does that cut down on the amount of utilities you must pay for, but it also means all of your voice calls, both incoming and outgoing, will be protected by the same network security you enjoy on your data plan. Do you have a quality encryption service protecting all of your emails? The same will hold true for your voice calls. If you regularly deal with sensitive or classified information this could be a huge benefit.

VoIP will save your small business money, and that’s probably the most important reason to go this route. As mentioned earlier, you won’t need a dedicated phone service. But you can also add additional lines with ease, all without requiring upgrades. VoIP calls can also be routed through a desktop or laptop computer. So with a quality headset there is no need for a standard phone, and the calls can happen from anywhere in the world. You’ll enjoy all of the video conferencing options as well, so physical travel can be greatly reduced.

Perhaps you’re leery of giving up your standard phone, as you don’t want to complicate things. But VoIP actually makes everything much simpler. First off, you can transfer your existing phone number to most VoIP services. And since you aren’t tied to a landline you can receive phone calls at that number from wherever you are in the world. That’s a huge help to branding and consumer retention. You’ll also continue to enjoy the most common features of traditional phone service, all at no extra charge. Most VoIP providers offer caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding and conference calling, as well as no cap on long distance calling. And it works with the same clarity and reliability as standard voice service.

Yet there are a host of additional features in the VoIP world that can help you get even more from your phone service. Most providers offer the ability to set up ‘do not disturb’ periods at the push of a button, so important meetings aren’t interrupted. You might also enjoy the priority alert feature, which lets you give various incoming phone numbers their own, dedicated ringtone. That way you’ll never miss an important call from a client or partner again. And if you have a large, busy office you’ll find other fantastic options. Most VoIP services provide a dial-by-name directory, so you can have a professional interface for anyone who calls up the company. You can record announcements as frequently as you want, and set different ones to play at different times of the day. Check out IP PBX from ringcentral.com to see this type of thing in action. And since more and more businesses must integrate email and social network connectivity, you can create a click-to-call me button to embed in any site or email signature. That way with one click of a button your customer can send a call from his phone to yours. It’s so easy, you’ll never miss a call again.

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