Over the course of a single year, companies of all shapes and sizes have realized the immense importance of having a stable internet connection. No internet means no Zoom calls, no client meetings, no team engagement. With more stress on your digital communications, you need a provider and a package that covers your most fundamental needs, and a little bit more, if possible.
If you keep running your business from home, all the more reason to be extra careful when choosing your provider – if you lock yourself into a contract, you’ll not just be stuck with an iffy connection, but with a major expense, too.
To make this choice easier for you and your business, we’ve created this brief overview for selecting the most optimal internet solution for a small business. Here are a few factors to keep in mind, and you’ll set the stage for a more successful, productive future for your small business with this single decision.
Make sure you cover your requirements
Every small business has different requirements, especially today, so it’s important to discuss what matters most to your company and your employees to run your business effectively. What do you use the internet connection for, to begin with? Do you mainly use it to send emails and browse for new clients, or do you collaborate via cloud-based platforms?
Depending on the complexity of your projects, do you need to use multiple heavy integrations that demand lots of bandwidth, or do you mostly rely on basic communication tools for project management? Your scope of work and your tools and software will determine what kind of package can meet your needs.
Look into fiber-based connections
Now that so many companies have moved online almost exclusively and they don’t have the same in-person touchpoints with customers, the reliability of the internet connection matters even more. With so many available options, it can be tough to choose, but it seems that more companies are using fiber optic internet for its reliability and speed.
Fiber optic connections run cables from your provider directly to your business, and they are known as extremely resistant and a great choice for companies that need high-speed internet. Reaching over 900 Mbps in speed means that you can exchange data incredibly quickly and safely use the connection for your employees without any lag time.
Shop around for bundles for more services
Cost-effectiveness is one of the main factors most small companies need to consider when choosing their internet service provider and the package for the office (or for remote work). Since there are so many available options, it’s not too strange that nowadays, you can easily find affordable, yet stable internet offers in your region.
What you can also do to get more bang for your buck is to combine different services, especially if your provider offers phone lines, mobile phone packages, and the like. Depending on the price range, perhaps you can cut costs by picking out a slightly costlier internet package with added perks and services included!
What kind of downtime can you handle?
Even if you use your connection for nothing more than working from your own station and computer, the network crashing means that you’re unable to work for a while. How long is that while? It depends on your location, provider, and the issues they come across most frequently, as well as their abilities to resolve those issues in time.
If you use the internet to communicate with customers, receive payments in your store, and the like, all the more reason to look into the possible downtime with different providers. How much time do they need to fix typical network issues? Talk to different providers to see what you can expect with your service, so that you know how to create backups if need be, and offer your customers alternative solutions if necessary.
Support and reputation go hand in hand
Doing your homework on the available internet service providers means looking into their reputation with other businesses, too. If you have never used their services before, make sure to check online review platforms and talk to other business owners. Check each provider’s track record in terms of customer support and availability – do they help their customers in time in case of an issue, or can you expect o be offline for days, waiting for someone to show up?
The same applies to their maintenance and support for other, non-critical matters. Since your business will heavily depend on a strong internet connection, it’s vital for you to learn if they will be there to help in time, and if they have a good reputation in terms of business-focused clientele.
You have most likely chosen a provider for your small business already, unless this is your very first stage of setting up your business. In either scenario, the right provider and the most optimal package means that you’ll have the foundation for interacting with your employees no matter where they are, for providing customer support, and for positioning your brand in the online realm. A strong, reliable internet connection is an investment every business needs to make from day one, making this one of your top priorities for 2021.