As a smaller business or startup, it is important to be economical in all of your actions and processes. That way, the money you save can be spent elsewhere to help expand your business.
However, sometimes it can be difficult to know in which areas it’s possible to save money; especially if they aren’t frequently talked about.
There are often new articles floating around the internet aimed at small businesses and pointing out ways for them to save money. Yet, none of them focus in on cutting costs on their telecoms…why is that?
It could be because it’s assumed that the money being saved isn’t worth the initial effort. Or, it could be because people just aren’t considering telecoms as a place worth saving money.
Either way, we’re here to let you know that you could be missing out on some pretty significant savings if you neglect to review your telecoms. Let’s have a look.
Review Your Current Plan
The first step in reviewing your telecoms is to gain a solid understanding of the plan that you already have, what you services you need and what you are currently paying for.
The main issue small businesses face is that they are paying for services they didn’t know they had access to and don’t actually need. There are a lot of different aspects to consider here, so we’ve broken them down for you:
1. Introductory Offers – Be careful
It’s easy to fall victim to an enticing introductory offer. For example, say you sign up for a 12-month telephone line priced at £15 a month, great.
But what happens when that period ends? What isn’t typically made too clear or is easily forgotten about is that once that 12-month period is up, you’re automatically paying the plan’s standard price which may be £30 a month or more.
It is important to know when all of your plans are ending, so that before the cycle ends you can have a review of the services. You can then decide whether it worked well for you and whether you want to consider a new plan.
Make sure you take notice of the provider’s notice period as many companies will try to add a long notice period so it is difficult to terminate the plan on short notice.
2. Number of Lines – Are they all being used?
It’s very common for businesses to find themselves paying for lines that are no longer in use. If you have an ISDN phone system, how many lines are you paying for versus how many are you actually making use of?
This is a good area to review as often as your contract allows. If your business goes through any internal or structural changes there may well be a few extra lines floating about that you don’t need.
3. Cost per call or cost per second – Are you overpaying?
Firstly, what are your call patterns? Do you tend to make lots of very short calls or are they often on the longer side?
Fixed line tariffs are usually either cost per call or cost per amount of time. If you’re making lots of short calls and paying per call you’ll end up overpaying in comparison to what you’d pay if you were on a cost per second tariff.
4. Unlimited Calls – Do you really need them?
Telecom providers often target small businesses with the offer of unlimited calls. This sounds enticing because it seems you are getting a great deal, and would be silly not to take the plan, right?
Well, it definitely can be useful if your company is making an extremely high volume of calls. However, if you’re making a fairly average amount of calls, it might be best to consider an alternative plan.
5. Switch to VoIP
By 2025, Openreach will have stopped all ISDN-based services, so you are going to have to switch anyway. However, switching sooner means you’ll have access to the following benefits:
- Ability to change line count –up or down whichever way you need.
- Making a maximum use of your internet connection for the ideal economy of scale
- Lowering call costs
6. Buying phones? Don’t overpay
Don’t fall into the trap of feeling the need to buy all phones under a plan or from your mobile phone operator. Better deals are available, and they’re quite easy to find, especially if you’re buying in bulk.
7. Mobile Phone Plans
When you get a mobile phone plan, you’ll have a set amount of payments to pay off before you hit the minimum term.
Once you’ve reached that minimum term and you don’t yet need to upgrade the hardware, talk to your mobile operator about paying for only the calls, texts and data.
8. Internet Connection – Time to reconsider the transmission method
You may want to consider air-based connections, especially if you live in an area with poor internet connections. 4/5G, satellite and line of site are all great options to consider, even if just for the short term until bigger lines are installed.
9. Bundling Copper – It’s a thing of the past
Many companies end up with very strange connections, depending on the availability of internet connection.
If you’re not careful, you’ll end up with a bundle of copper based ASDL lines that eventually deliver the bandwidth needed by your company but will fall short in terms of the connectivity ratios.
10. Productivity Levels and Opportunity Costs
What works for some companies may not work for yours and that’s something you need to think about. You need to consider everything above in terms of your company’s productivity levels.
For example, installing a slower internet connection may result in a small monetary saving per month. However, if that means your staff aren’t able to function efficiently, you’re then probably losing more money than you saved.
Overall, reviewing your telecoms plans are crucial and the longer you leave it the more money you could be losing out on. There are many different areas that will allow you to cut costs and it’s smart to dedicate time every now and then to take these into consideration.
If you need help, ask an expert. They have a wide knowledge on the industry and will be able to advise the best deals.
About the author
This guide has been written exclusively for ByteStart by Gary Young, Director of independent telecoms brokerage Equinox. Gary works with companies, charities and other organisations to help them choose the right telecoms packages for their needs and thereby reduce their costs. He is particularly knowledgeable on the integration of IT and telecoms in business.
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