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Reaching out through networks, e-mail, and the Internet is all well and good, but the most useful communication tool for many small businesses is still the telephone. Evaluating and choosing the right phone system can be the most critical technical decision for these firms.

As network technologies have increased phone system options for entrepreneurs over the last decade, we've benefited with better coverage, lower long-distance rates, and greater capabilities to integrate devices. On the other hand, if you're looking for the most economical and trustworthy system, a traditional landline with PBX switchboard may still be your best bet.

Do some research, call several service providers for recommendations and quotes, and you'll be on your way to the right telecom solution for your growing business.

How small businesses can improve the handling of inbound and outbound calls to increase efficiency.
A brief review of current telephony options for business, including landlines, Skype, VoIP, wireless and PDAs.
An in-depth guide to understanding and choosing a small business telephone system.
Find out if your firm is ready for Internet telephony.
Even if you have a home office--or no office at all--a virtual PBX allows you to maintain a highly professional image, while offering all the functionality and flexibility of a much costlier system.
Building on the basic voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) technology, an IP telephony system can be a robust, reliable option for small business.
Skype is a free software application that allows you to use your existing Internet connection to make local and long-distance calls.
The right mobile phone service will save you money, increase productivity, and keep your employees happy, too.

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Sherman Consulting Inc
Chicago, IL
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