The good news is that in today’s market, you don’t have to look hard to find some really good hosted VoIP services for small businesses that rely on what we call an ‘open internet’ connection. That means that they don’t control the total connection to the proverbial switch. Finding a good small business VoIP isn’t too hard so long as you stick to some basic guidelines, many of which are outlined here today. Be sure that your network is in good shape It might seem silly on its face, but make sure your network doesn’t have any problems before proceeding. Even the most simple networks can have issues that will effect the quality of your calls. Be sure you have only one server or router, that your switches are working well and that your computers are running efficiently. It’s not all about bandwidth One of the first things you’ll talk about when looking for a hosted VoIP phone service is the amount of bandwidth your connection has – whether that’s for downloads or uploads. While bandwidth IS important, it’s not nearly as important as making sure you’ve got a steady, ongoing, consistent connection. Another important factor to consider is the quality of your ISP’s connection. If there is packet loss or too much latency in your system, your calls will definitely suffer. So again – before you go out and start looking at bandwidth, simply make sure your connection is consistent enough first. Lowest price does not equal best service It’s that age old saying that ‘you get what you pay for.’ Anytime you get a bid that’s way under the rest of the pack, it should immediately throw up a red flag. Choose a provider who has a reasonable price that’s close to his competition while balancing it out with strong service. Chances are, you’ll get the best of both worlds. Features, presentation and service – in that order. The smaller the business, the more unique the needs – or at least that’s been our experience. As such, be sure that you pick and choose the features that mean the most to your business. Second, make sure the look and feel of the presenting company looks good – a sniff test, if you will. Make sure their website’s up to date, make sure their references are solid and always be sure to check and see who they’re doing business with. It should give you an excellent idea of what they’re all about. Lastly, be sure they offer a solid, ongoing service option. If something goes down, you want to be sure that you’ll be covered quickly so that your downtime is minimized as much as possible.