In the world of serial entrepreneurs, incubators, and venture capitalists everyone is looking for a competitive advantage to put their company on the “bleeding edge.” To achieve this, we propose that startups closely inspect an aspect of their company that is too often overlooked: the phone system. A hosted phone system, or hosted PBX (HPBX) is the perfect startup phone system for a litany of reasons.
Most entrepreneurs believe it’s difficult, if not impossible, to find the perfect phone system at a price they can afford. They typically look for a solution that:
- has the features a startup needs
- provides freedom from a long-term contract
- is easy to use
- lends the business instant credibility
Because of the perception that phones are difficult and expensive, a company's first business phone system usually only meets a couple of these criteria. Today, the landscape of choices and options is so vast, there is certainly a telephony solution for every kind of business at every stage of growth. Most entrepreneurs can choose an HPBX with confidence. Let’s consider some general characteristics that most startups have in common, and why this solution works for most new ventures.
- Startups need to keep capital expenditures and costs down in order to keep the burn-rate low.
Low Initial Cost—Because it’s in the cloud, an HPBX system doesn’t require a company to purchase and install an expensive, bulky premise-based phone system that costs a lot of money up front. These premise-based PBX systems can also be expensive to maintain when small businesses are paying a service technician every time they move, add, or change service.
Cost Assurance--The HPBX is the ideal startup phone system because one flat monthly fee provides a known, fixed cost. This cost assurance, which includes activation and training, is predictable and measurable. This is a pivotal consideration for companies who don’t have the time, staff and expertise to deal with distractions and unexpected costs stemming from the labor and maintenance of their phone system.
- Employees (and founders) of startups are being pulled in a million directions, so they need a mobile-friendly system.
Route Calls to Any Phone—Most businesses have employees who telecommute from multiple locations. With HPBX, companies can give each employee his or her own extension that forwards to a cell phone. HPBX also gives businesses the freedom to move, add or change these extensions easily without the labor cost of a technician. This way, they can attract the best talent without relocating anyone until the time is right.
Call Scheduling and Converged Calling—If the CEO knows she’ll be out of the office all day giving pitches to get her next round of funding, she can ensure her calls don’t go unanswered. With HBPX the company can schedule calls to be routed to the COO (or intern) who’s holding down the fort at the office. On the flip side, let’s say that same CEO is running late for a meeting across town but she’s stuck on a call at her desk; the converged phone feature gives her the ability to transfer the call to her cell phone and wrap things up while she drives to that off-site meeting.
- Every startup struggles to keep a reputable appearance.
Professional Communications Infrastructure—Does the business occupy shared working space? While it’s a great idea to share resources and office space, most likely, the “hotel” arrangement doesn’t provide phone service. So, without a hosted phone option, workers are forced to use Google Voice or other web service. This isn’t a scalable solution. Also, Google Voice doesn’t provide the same level of instant credibility as having an automated, answering system that’s customized for the startup’s particular needs.
Call Trees or Interactive Voice Response—Interactive voice response (IVR) systems are sometimes called “call trees” because of the way they function. We’ve all called a company that has an automated message prompting us to enter someone’s extension or choose where to direct the call based on a numbered list of departments. (“Press one for billing, press two for customer service…”) This feature decreases the amount of wrong numbers and auto dialers. Additionally, IVRs efficiently route calls to the appropriate place, which cuts down on hold times and decreases the amount of incorrect/unnecessary transfers.
For businesses that are moving and growing at the speed of light, a phone system shouldn’t slow them down. In fact, the HPBX solution is the ideal startup phone system because it enables and sustains communication at breakneck speeds.
If you’re interested in finding out more about our HPBX system, download our Internet Buyer's Guide to discover why HPBX and other systems are so vital to Startups. Click below to download.