Business VoIP – Is a Hosted Solution the Way to Go?

You have many choices to look at when looking at VoIP. Hosted or on site is just one of them. There are good things to say about both. To me it all breaks down to the practical applications. For instance do you have multiple locations. Or do you have any workers that work remotely. Would you like those option somewhere in the future. Are you utilizing MPLS technology. The fact is that now is the time to ask these questions. Not merely do I like the Idea of hosted or on site. My suggestion is to really look hard at what you want your network to look like and then make the choice based on the direction you want to go.

That being said there are many good reasons to go with hosted solutions. The fact is that as long as you have hosted solution that offers redundant servers, a robust backbone, and an SLA that offers 5 9’s reliability. You can’t go wrong with a hosted solution. Most come with a total package. You eliminate soft costs involved with managing your own system. Best yet, if new features or phones come up you can easily access the new technology with out having to make huge capital investments in software and license costs.

Also, Voice T1’s/PRI’s can handle 23 calls, so 4 T1’s x’s 23 is 92 calls at once, whereas with Hosted at 40K per voice call you only need 3 T1’s to support 105 calls at once. (40K x’s 105 calls is 4.2MB on a bonded 4.5MB data circuit).

Another really big advantage of Hosted is that no VPN or VPN appliance is needed for remote offices or home-workers, the SIP stations are very Plug & Play. With Cisco, Shoretel, Avaya etc, a VPN is required to the home, and then, once set up, that station is not too mobile, versus a Plug & SIP station can be taken anywhere in the world and will boot up and work great without VPN. This is huge. In fact, many firms that are embedded with large investments into Cisco, Avaya etc, are beginning to bring a SIP trunk into the PBX and then let the Hosted Provider handle the handshake between the PBX and the Home Workers – it’s more affordable, easier to set up and manage, more mobile, and the quality is more consistent. This is due to the fact that a $2M carrier grade hosted switch does a better job than a $200K PBX as it contains higher grade carrier components such as an SBC (session border controller- a little $200K component) to make things easier – eliminates the need for VPN, gets around firewalls and more. A SIP trunk into a PBX connected to Broadcore, and, for example, 50 home workers on DSL/Cable, would create seamless extension dialing between the Broadcore phones (for example Polycom stations), and the PBX stations – the hosted provider is connected to both, and creates a 4 -digit dialing plan from home phones to PBX phones. Very cool.

All that being said it is really up to you to decide what is important to your Enterprise. Then seek out the best solution that fits your expectations for the next 5 to 10 years.

For help finding that best solution … use the no cost service available at Business VoIP Solution.

Business Planning – Do You Make These 5 Marketing Mistakes?

What is the one thing every business wants more of? Money! Are you struggling with how to take your business to the next level? Do you feel like you’re stuck in a stagnant place and are unsure of what actions to take to grow? You are not alone! As a business owner, you are busy constantly. There is not enough time in the day for everything. Making mistakes with your marketing efforts can only magnify some of your struggles. Read this to figure out if you are you making these 5 costly marketing mistakes.

Mistake #1: Winging it

Ever hear the expression: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance? This ties right into your marketing strategy. If you want results, you have to put in the proper planning and formulate a strategy, then execute accordingly. This is why it is called a marketing strategy. It takes time, effort, and research to develop the necessary marketing plan. This is crucial to the success of your marketing efforts. Too many businesses “wing it” whether it be for lack of knowing how else to attack it or pure laziness. You worked too hard to get your business up and running. Put some effort and time into developing a formalized Marketing Plan. Figure out who your target customer is and the best way to market directly to that target audience. You may already be wasting effort and money on marketing to the wrong audience! Do your homework. We promise… you will save time AND headaches in the long run.

Mistake #2: Giving Up Too Easily

What would we do without instant gratification today? Searching for answers literally takes seconds on our computers or cell phones. We have access to more knowledge at our fingertips than we could have imagined 10 years ago. Technology has embedded this need for instant gratification in our minds. It has created a society of people that give up way too easily. Like most success in life and business, marketing takes time and persistence. In fact most prospects need to be exposed to your company, its services, the benefits received or problems solved, 7-13 times BEFORE they will decide to purchase. Don’t think that one attempt at reaching out to a prospect will magically make them open their wallet. Don’t think that even 3 times of reaching out will do so. It make take 3, 6, or 9 exposures to get your prospects comfortable with you and your company. Marketing is a marathon and you have to be in it for the long haul.

Mistake #3: Not Adapting to Current Times

Remember when newspaper or radio ads were the most effective way for a company to advertise? Well along came the 21st century full of technology. Embrace it. If you don’t have an attractive, user-friendly website, you’re making a mistake that could turn new customers away and inhibit your growth. If consumers find it difficult to navigate or looking outdated, they may leave with a negative impression of your company and never return. Don’t allow this to happen.

Are you refusing to get your company on social media or advertise using video? This is also costly. The internet, social media, and video marketing are here to stay. If you want to have your business thrive for many years and generations to come, it’s best to get on board… now!

Mistake #4: Lack of Consistency

In order for marketing to be effective it has to be creative and consistent. Think “Out of sight, out of mind.” This is true with any prospect. You don’t know what situational changes are going to occur in their life that may cause it to be… The Right Time. You don’t want to miss the opportunity when it arises. If you haven’t been planting those seeds and nurturing them all along, you won’t be there when they are ready to harvest. The goal of marketing is to be the company in the forefront of the consumer’s mind when they raise their hand and need help. Many businesses make the mistake of sporadic marketing or marketing only when business is slow. Marketing needs to be continual to smooth out the seasonality of business cycles. Don’t let your business fall into this trap!

Mistake #5: Backing Off When Goals are Achieved

Finally, the 5th marketing mistake you may be making is backing off when goals are achieved. This mistake may be the worst one. It’s too easy to breathe a sigh of relief and relish in the success you have achieved. Successful businesses get comfortable when things are running efficiently. However, the issue comes with being too comfortable. As stated earlier, marketing efforts can take 3, or even 6 months to start showing results. This lag time is why discontinuing your marketing efforts, then desperately trying to ramp them back up can be extremely dangerous. It is much wiser to consistently maintain your marketing efforts, then amplify and enhance them as needed. After all, customers may come and go for a variety of reasons. Focus on keeping lifelong customers, and a marketing plan that will help generate new ones during good times and bad.

Marketing is not always fun to do or think about when there is so much else going on. At the end of the day though, marketing is important to the success of your business. Treat it as such and avoid these 5 marketing mistakes. Taking the time to plan and actually prepare with the necessary research will make it so much easier to perform the steps outlined. Don’t forget, persistence is needed for successful execution of your marketing plan. You believe in your business. Make sure your marketing efforts reflect that!

Why BlackBerry Smartphones Are the Perfect Business Solution

BlackBerry smartphones excel in business communications and are one of the leading business mobile solutions. The BlackBerry smartphone can offer plenty in terms of its capabilities to ensure that you are always staying connected with your business. A BlackBerry smartphone will accommodate all of your email, phone and business needs into one handset.

This means you are able to manage all of your business communications efficiently, with the ability to integrate your BlackBerry smartphone software into your IT systems, resulting in a mobile office. Alongside this the BlackBerry smartphones Internet capabilities can improve your business communications via the linking of up to 10 email accounts, meaning you will never lose track on that important email.

Your business may communicate to people online via social media sites, which is also covered by utilising software that can help you stay connected with all the various sites that you broadcast from. Alongside all of these features that can improve your communications there is also the multi-media side. You can personalise your phone with applications ranging from games to useful business tools. The camera can prove to be valuable in many organisations and incorporates a high picture quality.

BlackBerry smartphones also have features such as maps, organisers and web browsers, combined to ensure that everything you may need is available to you. What you may not have heard of is some of the BlackBerry’s more professional features that can offer numerous ways to keep your business fully connected. Using the BlackBerry’s Enterprise Server you can ensure that your business communications are at their maximum, connecting your existing systems with your new BlackBerry mobile to ensure that you always stay secure and connected wirelessly.

This alongside BlackBerry’s own mobile data system (or MDS) you are given everything that you will need to develop your business connectivity as you are able to control all aspects of communications through your BlackBerry smartphones. A BlackBerry smartphone can integrate with other business software to improve efficiency and keep costs low. For instance your BlackBerry device can integrate with a digital pen ensuring important documents are transmitted instantly back to the office in an electronic format such as a PDF.

Another great thing about the software is that you will not need to purchase any additional hardware, meaning the costs are kept down. The software works alongside any data plan that is internet service enabled or if you have a BlackBerry enterprise data plan, meaning you can jump straight into your BlackBerry smartphones full potential.

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