For up-and-coming businesses, there are few technologies that can provide a necessary boost to productivity, customer relations and global reach. But one technology does just that, all while reducing a company's operating costs. It sounds too good to be true, but Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP has that kind of groundbreaking potential.

Small businesses that invest in VoIP will find that the system is often less expensive than standard phone providers, especially given the platform's ability to communicate with clients in different parts of the world without enhanced coverage costs. All that a company needs to figure out is how to implement the VoIP system, and it will be on its way to clear, convenient and cost-effective interfacing with clients.

Be a smart consumer
First and foremost, any business looking to add VoIP to its operations should think as a consumer. There are a number of platforms available with various features, costs, benefits and drawbacks. As a result, companies should make every effort to find the best service provider for them and recognize the key differences from one to the next.

  • Do your research. These days, there is no excuse to go into any purchase uninformed. Plenty of resources are available online that allow businesses to compare different VoIP services. Additionally, companies should educate themselves on how VoIP works and how it can be deployed within their existing office. Generally, companies that stand to benefit the most are the ones with locations and clients across the world. But there are feature that can benefit a wide variety of businesses.
  • Know what you need. Different businesses will have different needs, and a VoIP system that is ideal for one company may be too much or too little for another. Because VoIP offers so much versatility, it is important to understand exactly what it is the platform can do and whether or not your business needs a robust package or a basic one. TechRepublic listed some of the more advanced VoIP tools. These include a system that allows users to unlock the front door through the phone, hold music, and voice to email transcription. Depending on the needs of the company, these features might be too much or just enough.
  • Compare costs. In general, VoIP is a less costly way to make calls than traditional phone services or cellular coverage, especially for long-distance calls, according to PC World. Not only that, there is also less hardware to buy and maintain, fewer contracts – VoIP often requires no contract whatsoever – and sometimes, free calls to coworkers. But that doesn't mean that every system is dirt cheap. You should understand the different pricing options and be aware of potential fees.
  • Understand the drawbacks. No system is perfect, and while VoIP is often a better option than standard phone systems, it is not without its issues. Chief among these is the difficulty a company faces in the event of a power outage. Some platforms reroute calls to mobile phones, or automatically go to voicemail, but those are not always great solutions. Plus, calls to countries with questionable Internet service can be difficult.

Like any investment, choosing a VoIP provider is no small decision. While many services offer similar benefits, each one is different. But with the proper research, companies can choose the platform that best suits their needs and transition into the modern age of telecommunications.

Telecom industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in telecommunications equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.