Operating a business in today's digital world is a hit or miss operation, and if you miss, your business is going to suffer heavily. Technology has advanced tremendously in the last few years, with more and more patents and new methods being introduced practically every day, there is no question why running a business today requires you to either stay on top of the digital technology game, or surround yourself with a team of people that know what is going on, and keep up with the changes in the industry. The big companies have it easy in this respect. Take for instance phone technology. A big company can hire a big phone company with solutions that use the latest and great technology. But, what if you are a small company with a small budget and an equally small phone system? How do you get into a position to take advantage of emerging trends like VOIP?

Thankfully, when it comes to your small phone system, you don't have to have a team of technology experts at your side, holding your hand through every step of the operation. The small phone systems being manufactured today allow you to simply pull the unit from the box, plug it in, configure a few settings, and begin running your operation like a full fledge corporation with phone switchboards, and huge network routers. Actually, if you have some technically trained people with computers and phone systems you can indeed do things yourself, and if you don't you can easily hire someone for a few hours or days to help install one of these new smaller phone systems. And these new systems do virtually everything the very large systems at big companies do except they don't cost twenty thousand dollars.

Really, in the past five to ten years, telephone technology has taken a huge leap forward with a large advantage going to small businesses with small business phone systems. Your big competitors can no longer use their corporate muscle to push you aside, at least when it comes to phone and communications technology. And you can use this advantage in your favor since your small business can turn on a dime and big boys cannot.

Just because your business is considered what most say as a "small" operation, doesn't mean you have to function as such, and streamlining your phone and network operations is the first step to ensuring you hold your place where the digital realm meets the business world. The large phone system and equipment vendors used to consider anything less than a T1 truck going into your office a small phone system. Now the term is arbitrary since phone communications are dispersed within a company and some small businesses might actually only have 2 lines into a main office and then 50 people on cell phones.

Most of the current generation of small office phone systems require someone to come and install them, and then require a maintenance fee when they are called back out to fix a problem that was usually caused by their faulty installation. This is a merry go round that can continue on for as long as the business is functioning, unless the owner or managers in charge see the trends and step up to fix them. I say this a little tongue in cheek because most companies are actually better than this, but the company the we hired to help is install our new hybrid VOIP system in our office played exactly this game and was either not competent or dragged out our process to earn more money. Either way, if you don't understand the technology and what the company is doing installing your small phone system, then I suggest finding someone that does to act as point person for an installation. The same would be true for a new computer network installation or any other highly technical purchase that a company makes.

A small office phone system doesn't have to be complex, and for the most part they are not compared to the old technology. Manufacturers are starting to see that most people don't want or require the hassle of a very complex small business phone system, but instead require a more "out-of-the-box" solution to their problems. They have started releasing products to the market that you simply plug in to your router or internet source, and then plug into your phone system. Once you have set this up, you can begin configuring the settings for everything from voicemail, to caller ID, forwarding, extensions, and much more. These are the new VOIP systems that I alluded to earlier and this is the type of system that we ultimately chose to install at or company. They are not exactly plug and play, but they are not that complicated. We decided to hire the company that sold us the system to do the installation work, but many small businesses would not need to do that is they have a decent computer person on staff.

As you can see from the previous mention of simply plugging in the device straight out of the box, handling a phone system for your small business is actually pretty easy, and doesn't require an exorbitant hourly rate from a technician that is likely to have to be called back out to fix his own mistakes. In our quest for a new phone system we looked at many different vendors and many different phone systems for small offices and were impressed with a number of them. I think that the TalkSwitch system topped our list for ease of installation an configuration, but we needed more lines than their largest system would support. We ended up going with another phone system of which we have been quite happy except for installatio. The manufacturers of these systems have put the time and money in to ensure that if you can run a business, you can easily setup the phone system that will then become your businesses backbone. With the age of the internet upon us, are you going to advance into the digital realm, or are you going to be left behind using technology that is outdated, extremely difficult to manage, and insecure?