Small Businesses Rely on Virtual Phone Systems More in Tough Economic Times

A recent survey published(June, 2008) by RingCentral shows that many small businesses are having to get creative and cost costs and get creative in order to survive the most recent rounds of rising energy costs and economic downturn.  The marjority of the businesses responding to the survey responded that they were cutting overhead costs or in some way changing the way they do business in response to these rising costs.  It was also noted that in response to the rising loss of jobs, many former employers are now becoming small business owners themselves.

Getting Creative with Remote Work Environments

Key findings of the report show that many(40%) of the responding small businesses are cutting back on office space and encouraging their employees to work from home.  While 24% are going for telecommuting work setups, rather than spending the money on driving to work every day.  This survey just reinforces the trend we were already seeing in remote/distributed work environments, as more and more companies respond to the economy and rising fuel costs.

Ramona Ramsey-Pinedo’s company, QSED Consulting specializes in resource management for corporations.  As she states, “With ever increasing gas prices, I have cut the frequency of in-person client visits.  I visit clients quarterly rather than monthly and use the phone to stay connected. Even though our employees work from home, RingCentral gives clients the impression that we are all working out of the same office.”

More and More Small Business Starting Up Each and Everyday

With the upturn in job losses, more and more one time “employees” are now becoming “employers”, opting instead to start their own business and be their own boss, rather than go back into the job hunt.  Once again the survey showed that 22% of the people responding started their own business after being “down-sized”.

Even though these businesses may be small one-person shows, operating on tight-budgets, with these new options in hosted virtual phone systems they can still appear like large company, providing

confidence and security to customers calling in.

The phone has been, and remains a key component of any business operation, with 66% of small businesses ranking the phone as their most important business tool, followed by email at 63%.  It was also noted that the majority of businesses are now conducting meetings virtually rather than in person in order to save travel and other associated expenses.

As we are seeing the workplace is changing and will continue to change and evolve as various economic conditions, technologies, and we as workers influence and impact that environment we work in.  As noted earlier we are seeing more independent and distributed workforces, which provide great opportunities for efficiency and cost savings, but also create infrastructure challenges for the small businesses they work for.  We are also seeing more and more former employees becoming business owners, with very unique requirements for communications infrastructures as they, themselves embrace the cost saving efficiencies of the distributed, remote workforce.

With this new workplace, traditional office based phone systems are just not meeting the needs and unique requirements of these environments.  That’s where hosted or virtual phone systems are starting to really excel and gain wide acceptance as the new phone communications systems for small businesses.  These systems are now connecting entrepreneurs,  traveling consultants, contractors, their employees, partners, and customers/clients regardless of where they may be located, and all of this at a fraction of the cost of previous traditional systems.

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