I've been investigating the possibility of adding in a VOIP package for my clients and one thing is certain...unless you roll your own with Open Source solutions such as Asterisk, you won't be rolling anything for less than 3 thousand dollars.
This makes me think a bit...what kind of small business...say one with 3-5 employees, keeps 3 thousand dollars budgeted toward something like that and another 1000 per year toward phone costs? To me, the cost is outrageous to ask a small business with less than 5 employees to pay.
Who suffers? The VOIP service providers do...because the small business will account for over 99.7% of all business in America alone this year. There's more small business to tap into than anyone could have imagined and no one is trying to use their partners or channels to hit it.
Let's look at some little known facts shall we? Small Businesses:
- Employ half of all private sector employees.
- Pay more than 45 percent of total U.S. private payroll.
- Have generated 60 to 80 percent of net new jobs annually over the last decade.
- Create more than 50 percent of nonfarm private gross domestic product (GDP).
- Supplied more than 23 percent of the total value of federal prime contracts in FY 2005.
- Produce 13 to 14 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms. These patents are twice as likely as large firm patents to be among the one percent most cited.
- Are employers of 41 percent of high tech workers (such as scientists, engineers, and computer workers).
- Are 53 percent home-based and 3 percent franchises.
- Made up 97 percent of all identified exporters and produced 28.6 percent of the known export value in FY 2004.
You can download the PDF I took my figures from here.
However, when trying to get a VOIP solution that is affordable (because most small businesses have DSL or Cable internet connections already in the US) you find 3-5 thousand dollars in startup right away and another 1 thousand per year in total cost...just so you can have an extension for yourself and one for your secretary/salesperson. Where is the savings?
It is known that the cost of making a voice of data line call is lower than that of making one on standard phone lines; If it wasn't, Skype would be out of business wouldn't it? So where are those VOIP providers that can cater to the small business for less than 5 thousand dollars? I'm still looking.