Last month, the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) published their October 2012 Small Business Economic Trends. Based on a survey of small and independent business owners, this report reveals that the majority of surveyed business owners now feel just as much uncertainty about growth as they have all year.
As cited on page three of the report under "Commentary," small business owners said that among the top problems, these concerns caused them the most worry for 2012 growth:
- Energy Costs
- Finding Qualified Employees
- Competition from Large Businesses
How Can a Phone System Help Relieve Economic Stress?
Whether you're a retail store located on Main Street or a branch of a large insurance agency, Vocalocity's hosted phone system can actually help reduce energy costs, help you beat the competition from large business and connect with qualified employees all around the country.
Reducing Overhead Expenses
You probably already know that because we offer cloud-based phone service, it means you get to save money on bulky fax machines, a closet full of PBX equipment and a costly maintenance technician. But you may not have thought about the energy saving opportunities that VoIP can also offer. Now this doesn't apply to everyone, but if you operate an office, why not try a temporary work-from-home arrangement?
By working from home once or twice a week, you get to save on overhead expenses by turning the lights and AC / heat off and saving on gas getting to and from the office. Your employees can take their office phones home with them, and you can monitor their activity using our intuitive Reporting and Analytics tools from the new Admin Portal. Your office won't skip a beat and you'll save four to eight days a month on energy expenses.
For a more thorough consideration of using VoIP for teleworking, check out our page on the features and benefits of using cloud phone service to work remotely.
Connect with Qualified Employees, Wherever They Are
You put out a job description and the perfect candidate replied....but he / she lives in Boston and your office is located in Buffalo. The candidate plans to relocate within the year, but you need top talent now. Rather than lose a qualified employee because of communication issues, some businesses are electing to hire remote employees and use Vocalocity's phone system to connect, monitor and train candidates no matter where they're located.
But don't take our word for it, watch Julie Clarke of Reef and Rainforest talk about how the company has hired top travel agency talent from all over the world (at minute 2:50). By using softphones and SIP-compatible phones, the core administration team in Portland operates the day-to-day office while qualified scuba specialists from Brazil to Florida and beyond stay connected with Vocalocity's cloud phone system. They've been able to expand their business, save money and still operate competitively with the big guys.
Competing with Large Businesses
Let's take a positive view on being "the little guy." You work in or operate a small office, or you're a sole proprietor. Because of this, you have a strong and up-to-date view of your market and you can take a more hands-on approach with your customers and vendors. By having a micro-business in a global economy, you're able to leverage the tools of a big business while keeping the passion for your industry that made you get started in the first place!
But that's the tricky part - how do you maintain that small business service without spending all of your time on marketing and sales tactics?
- By getting a Local / Geographic Number, you can have an inexpensive phone number for any area in the U.S. or Canada. Establish a local business presence anywhere you want without having to open up another branch. Use this number on marketing materials like print ads, TV ads or radio spots to attract local business in your key markets.
- Use a Virtual Receptionist to manage call volume and establish a big business identity. Even if you're a sole proprietor running your burgeoning consulting business from your home office, a Virtual Receptionist can create departments for "Support" "Accounting" or "New Business" to make you look like a multi-person office.
- By using CRM integrations (available with the free Vocalocity Desktop application) you can set your QuickBooks, Outlook, LinkedIn or other supported business tool to open when your phone rings. Support your customers quickly and efficiently by viewing all of their information within seconds and create a big-business support presence.
Need more ideas? View a more complete list of features that help you give that big business presence (on a small business budget).
Ready to learn more about how hosted phone service from Vocalocity can help reduce your business concerns? Give us a call at 1-877-862-2562 or contact us to learn more.
Or, if you're an existing customer, stay tuned! We'll be offering a series of posts that give you tips and tutorials on how to get the most out of your existing phone system. Or, visit the new and improved Support Portal to find helpful resources to get started right now.