Category Archives: News

4 Ways a Virtual PBX Can Aid a Small Business

Information and communication are the lifelines of small to medium-sized businesses. Blockages in the flow of day-to-day communication can not only prove to be irksome and inefficient, but can result in costly collateral repercussions. Inefficient modes of communication cause confusion and result in lost calls and sales. However, communication that has been optimized to do more with less boasts the potential to result in increased efficiencies and productivity. A virtual PBX allows clients to feel confident about a small business’s operations and provides value-added services that can allow for clearer and more direct communication while supporting marketing and branding initiatives.

 

  1. Virtual Attendant – A virtual PBX supplies a dedicated virtual attendant which provides peace of mind and reassurance to clients and customers knowing that they can be connected to the people they need to reach. Clients in different time zones and business hours feel more confident about getting the service and support they need with a dedicated virtual assistant that can securely and instantly record messages. No call is ever lost due to human error or voice mail overflows. Clients expect better communication knowing that a dedicated virtual assistant is there to take their call, instead of dealing with confusing layers of options and circular routing. With a virtual PBX, clients are directed to whom they need to speak with and the channels of communication are clearer and more accurate.
  2. Professional Image – In a competitive landscape, gaining an edge in communication can go a long way. Small businesses are not only competing against other small businesses, but with larger more established businesses as well. Larger companies may have an advantage when it comes to more expansive marketing budgets, but small businesses can, in fact, compete with companies that have more marketing power by leveraging the power of a virtual PBX system. It is a cost-effective solution that delivers results in creating an image that rivals larger companies and gives small businesses the appearance of a larger, organized, established company. With greater access to toll free and direct access numbers, seamless connectivity is a feature found in larger companies that can also be attributed to small businesses with a virtual PBX.
  3. Flexible Call Forwarding – An office that has little to no barriers in its communication is able to accomplish more, and efficiently process and act on information in less time. Blockages to information are often unseen, but exist in confusing routing instructions or unclear passageways for clients to navigate through when calling an office looking for specific information. However, a virtual PBX eliminates issues in the information flow through features such as call-forwarding preferences and direct dial extensions. With solutions that address real problems, a virtual PBX allows for seamless connectivity and a more accurate contact approach. An added benefit to call-forwarding is the ability to enhance mobility away from the office, thus making the lines of communication value-driven with constant access to information and resources. Customers can reach the people they need to whether or not the people they are contacting are physically in the office. The connectivity a virtual PBX provides allows for greater productivity and efficiency.
  4. Marketing Power – A virtual PBX also offers cost-effective marketing and branding support. Small businesses can create solid marketing campaigns with customized toll free numbers without the overhead and material costs of frequent advertising promotions. Customized toll free numbers allow for flexible manipulation of promoted services, products or specials without having to rewrite or reinvest in revamping the marketing strategy. Setting up a marketing campaign is easy and supporting it with a dedicated toll free number allows small businesses to increase visibility and traffic in a cost-friendly manner.

A virtual PBX is an effective tool that allows small to medium-sized businesses to operate more efficiently and effectively across channels of communication. With a dedicated virtual attendant, clients know that communication is a priority, that their needs are valued, and will be promptly and accurately addressed. A virtual PBX can help prospective clients to see small businesses as organized and efficient when they associate virtual attendants and toll free numbers with hallmarks of large organizations that they trust. A virtual PBX eradicates perception issues as well as actual barriers to communication with more streamlined access to people who need to be reached whether in or out of the office. With every call, virtual PBX adds value by giving marketing and branding initiatives the support of a dedicated toll free number. For small to medium-sized businesses looking to gain an edge over their competition, investing in effective modes of communication can pay enormous dividends when aiming to attract and service clients.

 

Tips on Small Business Data Backup

If you are starting a small business or already running a business your data is something that you cannot afford to lose. Small business data backup is essential to the lifeline of your business. When you think about it, if you lost all of your data how would you get your business up and running again?

Most small business owners have an arsenal of backup and storage methods to ensure they can recover everything in the event of data loss. The small business data backup methods they use consist of a combination of different types of storage. Here are some tips on how you can build your arsenal of backup and storage methods to avoid losing your small business to data loss.

Assess Your Data Inventory

Review the data that is related to your small business and decide on the files and information do not want to lose. This information usually includes financial spreadsheets, billing and invoices, customer information, sales records, and much more. Backup as much information as necessary so you do not have to spend hours re-creating some of the information you originally thought you would not need.

Online Data Storage

Online data storage is becoming a popular option for small business data backup. Online data storage services are popping up all over the Internet and allow you to backup critical data to a remote server. When you use an online backup service you can access your data from any computer with an Internet connection. You simply enter your password and access the files that are stored on the remote server.

Online data storage provides secure encryption and services for restoring your data in the event that you lose it. Some of the online data backup services provide a comprehensive list of features that allow you to use a variety of methods for backing up and accessing your data. If you want added assurance that you can retrieve your data in the event you lose it, online data storage is an ideal option.

External Storage

Another method you can add to your arsenal of small business data backup is an external hard drive. This is a peripheral device that you connect to your PC via a USB port. External hard drives are capable of storing large amounts of data and the more recent devices can store several terabytes of data.

Just like any other technology device an external hard drive can malfunction so if you use this method, it should also be used in conjunction with another data storage method such as online data storage.

Backup Software

Backup software is also referred to as “drive imaging” where you can use the software to create a replica of a drive that you designate on your PC. For example, if all of your important data is stored on the “C” drive then you will use backup software to replicate an image of this drive. Once you create an image of the drive you can store on a CD or another hard drive.

Backup software will also allow you to create an entire image of your PC and then store it on a Blu-Ray disc, CD, or external hard drive. If you happen to experience a system crash you can easily get your small business up and running again.

Again, in the event that your disks or external hard drive are damaged it is always a good idea to use backup software in conjunction with another method such as online storage. Although you may use backup software, disks and external hard drives are not 100 percent foolproof.

When it comes to technology and small business data backup it is important to develop a healthy system for data backup. This system should include online storage combined with one of the other methods discussed in this article. If you use online storage and then store your external devices in a safety deposit box or other safe place so you are assured of getting your small business up and running again in the event of system failure.

 

Don’t Have an Accountant? How a Small Business Can Benefit From One

The Legalities of Business Paperwork:

The size of a business determines exactly what paperwork needs to be filed. There are some special exemptions for small to midsized businesses that reduce the complexity of filing returns.

How Accountants Can Help:

Accountants are an added business expense, but they save busy small business owners time, which is a valuable commodity. Small business owners who hand difficult paperwork over to accountants have more time to devote to finding new customers and following up with former clients. It is also possible for accountants to discover new ways for a business to save money or find the funds necessary for a new expansion. However, this advice may come with an added cost unless the accountant offers it as part of his or her normal services.

Accountants’ fees may be tax offsets, making the cost of hiring an accountant more affordable. Some small business owners may discover that benefits a professional accountant provides outweigh the cost of the accounting fees.

How to Find an Accountant:

Like any other position it is important to choose an accountant who fits well with your business. Some companies keep accountants on retainer to handle every financial aspect of the organization, while others employ an accountant solely to handle taxes. No matter which route is chosen, always make sure to investigate the accountant or accounting firm and establish that they have the expertise you require. Small business owners will benefit from accountants who can guide them through the process of filing taxes as well as provide sound financial advice. They also can lead to important business introductions.

Accountants and New Technologies:

Accountants are useful for both small business and personal accounts. In today’s ever-changing marketplace in which advances in technology can vastly change the structure of a business, a qualified accountant will also need to be technologically aware. Technological changes are ongoing, and they do have an impact on the way people conduct business. An accountant should have the ability to use information technology for the strategic advantage of a small business. They should also be comfortable with the software a company uses.

When meeting with potential accountants, it is important to ask the appropriate questions and gauge how well the person will fit in with your organization. First determine whether or not the accountant is a CPA. It is not essential for a small business to hire a certified accountant, but there are certain situations that do require them. Certified public accountants do charge more than accountants who are not certified, and you must decide if a CPA is what your company really needs.

Ask about the accountants work history. An accountant familiar with your type of business will be able to provide valuable insight and advice to help your company. Specifically ask what type of advice the accountant will be able to provide you and your company. Find out what other businesses the accountant represents and use that information to determine the level of experience a candidate has.

Find out if an accountant is technologically aware. Ask questions about the programs your company uses to manage the accounts. How will the accountant wish to integrate your files? Will most of the discussions about the business take place over the phone or online? These questions will provide insight as to whether you are compatible technologically.

Always determine an accountant’s fees upfront. Make sure to ask about hourly rates (and what constitutes an hour), reimbursement charges and retainers. Make sure that you understand all of the parameters so that you are not surprised by any unexpected charges later on in the relationship.

Finally, ask about the accountant’s ties to the community. Accountants provide wonderful referrals. They understand their clients’ businesses and instinctively know whom they would work well with, be it a customer, investor or banker. The bottom line is that an accountant can provide a small business with so much more than simple tax information.

For more information on how Bridge Capital can provide accelerated cash flow solutions for your business in the Suffolk and Nassau area of Long Island, NY; Please visit our website for more great information