After getting off the phone with your manufacturer in China, you dial in a video conference to your CFO in London. Cloud phone systems not only make this possible, but much cheaper than using a traditional phone line.

Cloud phones use voice over internet protocol (VoIP). VoIP transforms your voice into digital signals that can be sent over the internet. This avoids expensive long distance fees.

This article will teach you everything you need to know about small business phone systems.

Why VoIP Systems?

Not only that but VoIP phone systems for businesses are one of the easiest ways to simplify operations. Instead of maintaining separate networks for your phone and internet, everything will be integrated into one system.

And VoIP becomes even more convenient when you let your cloud service provider handle all the maintenance.

We’ve come a long way since the days of analog, but company phone systems are still as important today as ever.

Small Business Phone Systems in The Early Days

Before anything digital came along, analog phones got the job done just fine by converting voices into electric signals.

For businesses, both analog and digital phones can be controlled by different systems.

The kind of phone system you use is determined by the size of your business. The three most common business phone setups are:

  • Private Branch Exchange (PBX) system
  • Key System
  • KSU-less System

PBX Phone Systems

If you’ve ever had someone transfer your call or transferred someone else’s call to someone in your office, there’s a good chance you’ve used a PBX system.

A PBX system is best for a business with only about 5-40 employees. This is because it is one of the most expensive options when it comes to phone systems for small business.

At $800-1K per user, a PBX system wouldn’t be worth the money if you have under 5 employees.

But you do get a lot of features for that price. A good PBX system can multitask better than a single mother with 5 kids. PBX systems can handle computer-telephony integration (CTI), voicemail, and other features that make it a worthwhile investment.

Key Phone System

A key system is almost identical to a PBX, except with less customizable features. They are also often cheaper, at about $300-1K per user.

Key systems work best for companies that don’t need all the extra functionality of a PDX. A PDX requires fewer outside lines than the number of extensions it has because not all lines are used at once.

A key system has to have the same number of outside lines as it has extensions.

KSU-Less Phone System

Small business phone systems don’t always have to be expensive. The best option for businesses with less than 10 employees, a KSU-less system doesn’t have a central control unit like the other two options.

Instead, each phone has the capability of connecting to other phones in the network. This lack of a central control unit makes them portable and cheap. At only about $100-250 they are the cheapest option for a business phone system.

Not Enough Phone Lines?

While groundbreaking at first, it didn’t take long to realize that even with a huge network of cables and wires, analog signals proved to be insufficient for the massive demand for phone lines.

Like every other modernized industry, small business telephone systems went from analog to being online. A VoIP phone system for small business acts as that company’s own personal cloud phone.

Adopting VoIP

VocalTec, an Israeli telecom company, introduced the first VoIP phone that became popular with consumers.

For the next several years they worked on new features, like voicemail, to add to their internet phone service.

By 1999, VoIP went corporate. IT firm Teledvance formed in order to take VoIP technologies to the enterprise level.

VoIP went from being a cool new way to call your relatives across the country to the best way for a business to manage its phone network.

By 2003, over 25% of all voice calls made were over VoIP.

VoIP vs. Cloud Phone

Cloud phones are sometimes called “hosted PBX services” because they offer all the functionality of an expensive PBX system.

Paying a large sum upfront for an on-site PBX system that needs professional installation may not be an option for your business. You can instead rent the equipment and services you need and pay as you go for your business phone systems.

An onsite VoIP system’s main advantage over the cloud is that there is no risk of your fees increasing.

That benefit gets outweighed when you start scaling your business. When you need to expand your phone network, an onsite system proves to have the same problems as managing onsite servers.

You’re going to need to buy more equipment, pay more to maintain it, and each time you reach the limits of your VoIP system you will have to spend more money to meet demand.

The Cloud Changed Everything

Anyone that has run a successful business knows the pain of growing too fast. Handling two or three times the normal volume of customers you have can wreak havoc on your current infrastructure.

The cloud dumps all the responsibilities of running a phone network onto your service provider. With the cloud, a small company can provide the same level of service as a large business with its own in house VoIP system.

And the same goes for slower years. An onsite setup has the same upfront cost regardless if you are making enough money year-round to justify spending that much.

Because you pay as you go with the cloud, you’ll spend less when sales are down.

“Should I Use a Cloud Phone for My Business?”

You’ve seen how much money you can save using a cloud phone. Small business phone systems are so much easier to manage when the cloud provider does most of the work.

Don’t let traditional phone lines stunt your business’ growth. With a VoIP cloud phone, you can start saving money today! Read this article now for the 7 reasons your business needs a cloud phone. Switch to a cloud phone today and pay as you go.

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why your website sucks
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6 Reasons Why Your Website Sucks (and What You Can Do About It)

Have you ever browsed the website of a big company like Dell or Samsung? Were you impressed with how easily you found what you were looking for, despite the all the complexity of their product lines? I guess you probably were. These websites are built to the highest of professional standards. And as a result, the user experience is seamless.

But all too often, startups fail to emulate the seamlessness generated by the big companies. What seems like it should be straightforward and easy turns out to be a lot more complicated than they imagined. Here are some of the reasons why your website sucks and what you can do about it.

1. Boring headlines

In a world that’s full of low brow content and click-bait, it can be hard for your business to compete. People will click on titles that they find the most titillating, rather than the most informative. Titles which aren’t attractive aren’t going to attract much attention on the internet. They might interest specialists, but not the general public.

Making the titles on your website sexier is an easy first step to making your site more attractive. The next step is to include interesting images and perhaps infographics to reel in even more people. Often it’s just about keeping up with what others in your industry are doing, just to enable you to compete.

2. No blog

If you’ve spent any time browsing the sites of smaller companies, you’ll have noticed a trend over the last few years. They all have blogs. No longer is blogging reserved for foodies and disgruntled youth. It’s a tool that practically everybody is using to drive traffic to their websites. But why?

It all comes down to content. First off, search engines love new content. In fact, they take it into consideration every time they calculate your site’s ranking.

But also, the people looking for your product will probably want to read more about it. That’s why you’ll often find blogs on the sites of companies that sell complex products.

Legal firms, for example, make a point of running blogs that explain how their processes work in layman’s terms. It’s all designed to be helpful, accessible content for potential customers.

3. No website marketing plan

Your website is like the display window at the front of a department store. It’s the public facing part of your business. And it’s got to look good. But all too often, startup websites aren’t fronts for their brands. They’re generic templates that look as if they’ve been thrown together in five minutes.

Building brand identity through your website is an essential part of building a successful business. Because it’s your website that the public and other businesses see, this is what defines you. That’s why it’s so important that it’s good.

Take a couple of hours thinking about exactly what information you want to communicate through your website. What should it be saying about your business? And are there any graphics or logos that you should include to make it consistent?

4. Being too modest

The internet is full of people unashamedly screaming out for attention. Sometimes what they have to offer is good. But most of the time, the content itself is far from ideal.

The problem for the startup, however, is being heard above the noise. This is challenging enough in itself. But often startups will be further hamstrung because they are too modest to seek publicity.

The key to generating interest in your website is to tell your story. It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, of course. It just has to be the story about why your company is unique.

Customers are most interested in your story than you realise. Stories are what draws them into your firm’s brand. It’s what gives customers an affinity with you do. And it’s what gives them something to believe in.

If your startup is an ethical company, you can build this ethical aspect into your brand by telling a story. Perhaps you wanted to set up a chain of healthy, fast-food restaurants because you objected to what the big corporates were doing. This is the type of story that people can really get on board with. And it’s the sort of thing that will align them with your brand.

5. Failing to list on established sites

Even if you do everything right, your website may still get lost in among the billions of pages on the internet. That’s why it’s worth using more established sites to get a leg up.

The first thing that you can do is make comments on other sites. The goal here isn’t necessarily to build links. It’s to create engaging, helpful and meaningful content that will build reputation. As your name floats around the internet, this will divert more traffic to your website and help improve its visibility.

The second thing that you can do is write articles and try to get them published on other websites. This will mean that more people will come into contact with your message. And more potential customers are likely to want to know more about you by going to your website. Guest blogging is an excellent way to get your site known to another site’s audience.

The third thing that you can do is connecting your site through popular social media channels. Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are all being used right now by businesses to promote their websites and their content.

6. Failing to use pay-per-click advertising

In the early days, very few people will visit your site, if any. The majority of your business will be done through word of mouth and recommendations. But there are limits to that kind of growth in a digital economy. And that’s why pay-per-click advertising is so important.

Essentially, PPC funnels interested customers to your website, dramatically increasing traffic. PPC is moderately expensive for a startup. But it’s something that can be tapered down once you build your reputation and traffic increases naturally. Often PPC advertising pays for itself. Most small businesses will use something like Google Adwords.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Introducing The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B 1 - Florida Independent
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Introducing The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

The much anticipated new version of the popular $35 mini-pc - The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B is here. The board made appearance at the FCC website revealing all details a few days ago and is now officially released by the foundation for ordering. Major new features include a new 64-bit ARM 8 1.2GHz Quad-core Broadcom BCM2837 CPU with on-board WiFi and Bluetooth Low Energy. Everything else remains the same, the maximum power draw has been upgraded to 2.5A@5V from 1.8A@5V to allow more power hungry USB devices without a need for a powered USB hub.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B specifications :

  • Broadcom BCM2387 chipset, 1.2GHz Quad-Core ARM Cortex-A53
  • 1GB RAM
  • Dual Core VideoCore IV® Multimedia Co-Processor. Provides Open GL ES 2.0, hardware-accelerated OpenVG, and 1080p30 H.264 high-profile decode. Capable of 1Gpixel/s, 1.5Gtexel/s or 24GFLOPs with texture filtering and DMA infrastructure
  • 802.11 b/g/n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.1 (Bluetooth Classic and LE)
  • 40 pin GPIO
  • 4x USB 2.0 ports
  • MicroSD card slot
  • CSI camera port
  • DSI display port
  • HDMI
  • 4 pole stereo and composite video port
  • New Switched power source up to 2.5A

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