How to Choose the Right Phone System for Your Business

As technology advances in leaps and bounds, so does the complexity of our decision making when it comes to choosing the right voice solution for our business. While many articles on the subject focus on the technologies currently available, what is more important to you, the decision maker, is how to leverage the right solution for your business. Factors to be considered when making this decision should include up-front cost, total cost of ownership, ease of use, purpose of use, productivity, and business presentation. Being an informed shopper can help any business leverage the most out of their phone system and ensure they don’t leave money on the table each month.Phone systems are an investment in your business. They can increase productivity by more efficiently managing work flow allowing end users easier access to the customization and management of their phones through a web interface. A well planned, quality phone system will ensure that communication is routed efficiently and effectively throughout your business through the use of call pick-up groups, hunt groups and auto attendants. This combined with newer features such as find-me-follow me, which allows users to forward calls to their cell phones or other extensions, can insure critical calls are not missed no matter where you are.With the advent of IP based phone systems, businesses no longer have geographical limitations. They only need access to the internet in order to be linked to their phone system. This gives small and even medium sized businesses much needed flexibility for telecommuting and saves a lot on long distance charges for companies with many branches who make the bulk of their calls between locations. With Auto Attendant features present in most phone systems, even businesses with 2 or 3 employees can present themselves as large companies.Up-Front Cost vs. Total Cost of OwnershipMost businesses look solely at up-front cost because they often shop for a phone system without first identifying what goals the new phone system is to achieve. They also fail to realize the level of increased productivity and cost savings new technologies can offer. Many decision makers shop for phone systems as though they were buying a non-durable good, deciding not to invest enough into a system that will be obsolete in a few years. Or even worse, they look at a phone system as a luxury item, and decide to hold off until more funds are available. While up-front cost is a factor, is should only be a factor after you are certain the system you choose will meet all of your stated goals.While customer owned VoIP systems have a higher up -front cost, companies with an in-house IT department can often decrease total cost of ownership associated with adds, moves and changes that accompany larger businesses with an analog system. They can also save money in wiring by utilizing existing network jacks for phone connection, which is an advantage if your company is planning new construction or a building renovation. Properly designed VoIP systems also offer more fault protection by allowing phones to still operate with some functionality in the event the main call processor should fail or a link between buildings should drop. Since many VoIP systems are software based, they can be installed on a wide range of servers from many manufacturers giving companies more purchasing options. Being server based also allows for the replication of those servers, giving the business even more fault protection which decreases the chances of downtime for your company.Some of these costs savings will be offset in increased costs associated with upgrading your network to handle the added voice traffic. However, they will also provide the added benefit of a more robust network partially paid for by your phone network.A third option for businesses is the fast growing market of hosted VoIP. Hosted VoIP gives you the benefit of having a VoIP service, but the phone system is hosted and managed by the phone company. The phones can be leased or purchased and in most instances the monthly costs are no more than the cost of POTS (plain old telephone) lines. The advantage to this system is that you do not need to know how to manage the system. As the technology changes you will always be current without having to invest in a new system. You also no longer bare the risk or cost associated with head end system failure. Many providers provide feature sets in an ala carte fashion allowing you to only pay for features you use while others provide all features for one low price.Hosted VoIP can be a great option for all sizes of business and provide a way of getting a robust phone system as a manageable monthly expense. Since many providers use fixed term contracts on average of one to three years, you also gain the advantage of being able to leverage better pricing or even moving to a new service at the end of your contract, something not feasible with a customer owned system.Everything has a downside and hosted VoIP is no different. The total cost of ownership will be higher as the cost of the system becomes a perpetual cost. Regardless of this negative, from a budgetary perspective, the monthly expense becomes a much more predictable expense and is often more favorable. Hosted services also reduce the number of capital expenditures freeing up time and resources for other expenditures.Believe it or not there is still a place for the old school phone system. Many manufacturers carry, small business lines that can be purchased for a few thousand dollars which is a relatively low up front cost. The drawback to these systems is that they often need a third party vendor to manage the proprietary nature of the system. For small to medium size businesses with few changes, this can lead to a relatively low total cost of ownership. Many of these systems are built to last and can function for many years. As long as companies provision for an eventual end-of-life for the system, these systems can be just the right fit.Business presentationFor many small and medium sized companies, choosing a phone system can have a dramatic effect on how your company is viewed. We often take for granted that when we call into a business and connect to an auto attendant, that we are talking to some mega corporation. When dealing with business-to-business relationships, presenting this image can make a big difference on how a company views you. While at the same time, having the ability to get customers routed directly to a person preserves that personal feel you want to convey. Both hosted VoIP and small analog systems can accomplish this at a reasonable price.Putting it all togetherThe key to purchasing any phone system is first knowing your business and understanding how voice technologies can be best leveraged to support and enhance that model. With so many choices and technologies out there it can be a daunting task to choose a system when being sold on rich feature sets and fancy bells and whistles. When the features align with your company’s goals, and your company’s financial position dictates which purchasing model to utilize, you will know you are making a sound investment in your company for years to come.

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Where To Find The Best Educational Resources Online For Home School Preschoolers

Children aged 4 – 6 years old are in their formative years. Referred to as kindergartens and preschooler, these children are in the phase of learning and absorbing the things that they discover and understand. This is also the time when their communication and socialization skills are being developed.Homeschooling is steadily gaining popularity among parents. Parents get to spend more time teaching their children and they are more able to closely supervise their learning abilities and the knowledge that their children gain. Homeschooling also prevents untoward incidents from happening to children.Kids enjoy ways to learn in a fun way and it should be maintained that way. Unlike boring and formal approaches in many schools ran by the government or private institutions, homeschooling programs offers alternative way to teach children creatively. Being the teacher of your child, lesson should be interactive. You should creative and as resourceful as you can. Ensure that your child is learning while having fun because children tend to have very short attention span.Parents now turn to online education resources when preparing lessons and curriculum for their children. There are many sources and references available online for home school education. There are many educational books, activities, visual aids and e-book offered at the tip of your fingers through the internet. However, parents should keep in mind that the source should fit the ability of their children to learn their interest and keep it as child friendly as possible.Websites such as the following are good online sources for home school education references and materials:1. letshomeschool.com2. abchomepreschool.com3. splashesfromtheriver.com4. The Back Pack Proudly sell new and used text books as well as curriculum packages, science videos, Spanish worksheets, and writing guides5. UsedHomeSchoolBooks.com6. Best Homeschool Buys – sells second hand home school books7. Educational Accents Book StoreWhen looking for the best online sources, you can keep in mind the following considerations before buying- Preschool Curriculum Downloads – fun, large and vibrant work books are the best for children.
Educational toys, games, simplified work sheets and activity notepads for math will also help. Look for self – review worksheet to evaluate the learnings gained by your child.
- Avail of bulk orders – make a list of what your child may need to fulfill homeschooling education. Creating a list will help you prioritize of things that you needs over the things that you want. Buying in bulk orders is relatively cheaper and will spare your from last minute shopping stress.
- Browse for sites that offer rewards, discounts and other sale incentives. Be sure to check the background of these sites to avoid online scams and fraud.As homeschooling is proven to have effective tool to teach children, parents should still help their children to prepare for school. It is encouraged to cater to the expectations of children entering kindergarten whether they are home schooled or not.Be sure to help your children when studying, guide your children in their learning activities, inspire your children to express themselves and be generous to compliments.

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