Choosing Online Technology For A Small Business: Is Free The Right Price?

By on November 19, 2010

(NAPS)—The Internet has made it possible for small-business owners and entrepreneurs to find cost-effective technology solutions to run their business. With a wide selection of similar products on the market, choosing the right service can be a challenge.

Many free online services for small businesses often don’t deliver the essential features needed to operate a credible business. Take hosted phone services, for example.

The phone is still the most important communication tool for entrepreneurs today.

Small-business owners can go online to set up a hosted phone service with a virtual phone number that will professionally answer, route and manage their calls without the need to invest in expensive phone equipment or services. If the service you choose cannot do this, it could hurt business.

Although there are free services available, look for a service that has a proven history and reflects the professional image of your business.

For example, hosted phone service eVoice is designed to be easy to use for professionals at all levels of tech savviness, providing 24/7 live customer support, something that you won’t get with a free service.

An important feature to look for is a virtual receptionist, the next best thing to hiring an assistant. With this feature, you can create a customized greeting and have the incoming call routed to the appropriate department or employee.

The phone service should also offer the option to set up toll-free and/ or local numbers, enabling your business to project a local presence or accommodate employees working in remote offices.

Another key feature is call routing. Look for services that can route calls to multiple phones, ringing in sequence or simultaneously. Not only will this ensure that you never miss a call, but it also gives you the flexibility to send a call to voicemail if you’re trying to enjoy a family dinner.

A feature that users of free hosted phone services often complain about is voicemail transcription. Paid services, like eVoice, tend to have a higher accuracy rate when transcribing voicemails to text, whether to your e-mail or via text message on your mobile phone.

A mobile app makes it even easier for users to manage communications on the go. Currently, many free services do not offer this option, while paid services may offer apps for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry devices.

For more information or to try a free six-month trial, visit


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