Staging your company's investments in new equipment and services might just be the most important part of managing its growth responsibly. It's a key part of keeping your cash flow on track without a bottleneck in your capacity to do work, and that's important because if you can't take bigger projects on you can't grow in a sustainable way. That means you might have busy periods, but your average volume of business will probably stagnate a little. By contrast, knowing when to invest in new technologies and tools can provide your team with a resource right when they can use it to deliver more, without the overhead that would come with buying it during your initial startup preparations.
One common system to stage for the second or third wave of investments is the PBX, but it's not always a good idea to wait for a multi-line phone system.
PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange. This is a private telephone network used by a company or organization that allows internal communication as well as receiving calls from the outside.
These days, it's not even cost-effective for some companies to have a single phone line, especially for those that are in mail-order to some degree. Being limited to a single phone line through a traditional business line service means being unable to put multiple staff members on the line with customers when you have a lot of orders coming or a lot of customer service calls to handle. It also leaves employees with fewer resources for staging and responding to customers. If your business will need to rely on its phones heavily from the beginning, it's a good idea to invest in PBX without delay.
Deciding on the Timing for Your Investment
One of the better ways to figure out when your business would benefit most from the multi-line approach of the PBX is to look at when you think you will need to manage a volume of customer calls. If you're launching a service or product like an app, then you might have a long operating history with minimal outside contact with clients or customers, where most company communication is handled through officers' mobile phones.
On the other hand, if you are opening a business that will begin taking orders within the first week of its operations, you need to anticipate conflicting customer needs and provide for situations where you have a few clients to keep happy at once. That's when a more immediate investment in PBX systems would serve you better.
Picking the Right PBX System
Phone systems used to be one of the larger investments companies had to make, but advances in the hardware and delivery methods used for this service over the past few decades have made top tier service more accessible to a wider range of companies.
Now, more options are available to consider than there were 20 years ago. Of course, there are pros and cons, no matter what kind of system you choose.
Today, it's sometimes possible to find adequate PBX plans delivered through VOIP by a cloud provider for much lower rates than traditional PBX, allowing more companies to afford the service. VOIP systems are also easier to upgrade when you need additional lines, so you don't have to worry about investing in a PBX that anticipates future growth.
On the other hand, traditional PBX does not rely on your internet connection, which makes it very attractive to businesses with limited internet connectivity, as well as those with intensive data needs that want to keep services independent of each other.
What to consider
When choosing the system you need, consider a few questions that can guide your choice:
- How many lines do you need now?
- How many will you need in six months?
- What is internet connectivity like at your facility?
- How many locations will you be providing PBX to?
Once you have these basics figured out, it gets a lot easier to find the right plan, whether it's an internet voice plan or a traditional PBX phone system. Don't wait, start planning for your company's telecommunication needs early in your strategy sessions so you are ready when you need them.