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Five tips for finding the best phone plan for your small business
This post by guest blogger Jennifer Daly appears as part of our series Small Business 500.
The mobile phone is a key communication tool for small business owners. Many use it constantly – to follow up with vendors and suppliers, to communicate with employees and to keep themselves available for customers. However, this kind of access comes with a high price tag. Many small business owners find that their monthly phone bills take an excessive chunk of their operating costs. Here are five tips to help small business owners find the best phone plan for their small business:
1. Find the plan that suits your individual usage
What do you use more of? Long-distance, data, day time minutes, or do most of your calls take place after 6pm? Study your own usage patterns and find the plan that best suits those needs. Most pricing is organized so that users can select option One, Two or Three of a particular feature set, such as unlimited calling after 6pm, low rate long distance, unlimited weekend calls or unlimited long distance for $10 per month.
2. Seek out small business reps that cater to small business
Visit respective telecom carrier websites and look for the special small business or enterprise sections of their website for information on small business phone plans. The sales representatives found in branded store fronts, dealerships or large retailers like Best Buy tend to be more knowledgeable about consumer based products and plans. Similarly, these venues will likely not have the same plans available to meet the needs of small business owners.
3. Treat yourself like a business – even if it’s just you
Just because you’re small, doesn’t mean you don’t qualify for small business pricing. Most major carriers will provide small business price plans to even sole proprietors who are heavy users. Similarly, if you’re a family business on a family plan, don’t hesitate to check out small business pricing to get everyone the amount of minutes, long distance and data required to communicate to customers and with each other effectively. Structuring your plan to avoid overage charges is key.
4. Ask for the perks
Small business plans also come with a ton of extra perks that small business owners can find tremendously useful. For example, the Rogers Small Business plan offers its plan holders access to a Rogers Live Agent who will provide customer and technical support. Many plans also include better hardware replacements guarantees compared to consumer plans.
5. Bundle, bundle, bundle
Remember, small business pricing doesn’t only apply to Wireless. Many of the big telecoms offer small business pricing on all their products, including Cable and Internet. In addition, these plans typically offer even bigger bundle discounts than regular consumers have access to.
Take the time to research and contact the respective telecoms that offer small business plans. A few minutes spent negotiating your ideal small business plan with the appropriate call centre representative can save you hundreds of dollars a month.