It is possible to set up a business and enable all your immediate communication and collaboration requirements up without ever entering into a contract.
Or at the every least, the cost of the contract is so small compared to the value it adds, that it may as well not be a contract.
This is our day 1 cheap and cheerful set up method to achieve those ends
Why do we want a day 1 cheap and cheerful set up?
In short, chances are you don’t know what you want or need and making a long-term commitment in telecoms, or even paying out for equipment, is an expense that you don’t want to make again and again every time you grow or change your business.
Some of this will change dependent on your business, but generally what you want to remove is
1. Pressure to make a decision
You may be in a position where you are like “ahh, we move into are new office, we have to have broadband and phones, we need emails, we just need to pick something, but we don’t know what we need”
2. Cost of the decision
Often you will end up paying over the odds for the services you need, under the pretence of a “Discounted Rate”
3. Cost of a mistake
Well, you take on services sometimes long term to save money or reduce overheads, but you don’t actually know whether it works well, certainly you won’t know whether it works well a year or so down line, in some cases it only takes a few months to find out it isn’t what you thought it was.
For small businesses, it’s very difficult when your business is not in communications to know what to do. You could be an online retailer, even a web designer, graphic design, marketing, window seller, inevitably you end up relying on a service provider.
So what options are there?
One option is to consult with an IT person like me who you would pay for a service and they would manage it for you. Small business level, I wouldn’t personally pay out for this as you will probably find that I can only make decisions based on the information you give me, chances are you don’t know what you really need until you try something out and see what the gaps are.
You certainly shouldn’t pay for my type of expense day 1, maybe after you have been operating a while you would give me enough information that I can add value, but if you don’t know what you need, I can’t tell you a solution.
What can you do without paying me now?
So that is the focus here, if you are moving office or you are setting up a new business, how can we spend money in the simplest way where we create a low ongoing overhead, so you can
1. Keep your business moving and progressing
2. Learn from a cheap solution
Risks of not doing this
I have seen some horrendous small business contracts over the course, from a 10 handset PBX being sold at 10K + monthly charges of £400-500 per month.
I have seen VoIP solutions offering little to no benefit for a small business going for £50-60 per month per user licence (so every desk in the office), PLUS £300-400 per physical handset, and this was outside the Managed Office arena (where these are normal prices). Plus the need for a dedicated Fibre broadband line of £100 per month.
I have even seen a VoIP sales description that says “Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it”, that defeating the whole purpose of a VoIP Hosted solution, being that it is easy to change and amend or add to later without significant cost.
I have then seen these put on 5 year contracts with caveats about ownership of physical devices and consumers told they can “Keep the system” at the end, even for VoIP, where what they really mean is you can keep the handsets at the end, but the handsets won’t function as there is no system that you can keep.
Just focusing on a VoIP Hosted Solution, reasonable costs would likely for most be between £7-10 per month per handset. Then about £100 to purchase the handset outright.
I can say reasonably confidently, that while 1 of your employees might benefit from an enhanced package, it is unlikely all of them will benefit from enhanced VoIP packages.
Again, the reason people have bought into these is Pressure to make a decision and simply not knowing what a lot of it means.
So, for the rest of this article we will cover a bit of set up where even if you make a mistake and it is not for you, it will work for now, it will keep your business going and it will give you time to make a sensible choice without losing out on large sums of money.
The real strength of technology is the principle that, I can use something today and work a certain way today, without it impacting how I need to work tomorrow.
So that is the principle we will focus on, looking at new businesses or moving offices, starting with Internet Access on the next page