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Last updated: 4 August 2021

Telephone System for Small Businesses

Choosing the Right Telephone System Matters

Choosing the right business telephone system is essential for every company. The right choice of a phone system, which takes into account the size of your business, can actually reduce the specific costs associated with your business communication and optimise your daily operations.

Small businesses are defined as companies employing less than 50 people. Choosing the right system for a medium-to-small size business is depended on a number of factors, such as the number of employees, the type of business, the features needed and the number of lines required.

The key difference between different office phone systems is that some are analogue whereas the others rely on the Internet to connect receivers. In short, telephone systems for small businesses can be divided into two broad types: Key telephone systems (KSU) and VoIP systems.These two types are available both on premise and cloud versions. Costs related to installation and maintenance of the phone system vary and also depend on the type of system chosen. In case you search for business mobile phones, do not miss our dedicated page.

If you want to find the answers on all your questions around the topic, then continue reading this specialised guide about small business phone systems.

Market Inspector provides professional advice and reviews about small business telephone systems! You can compare price and quality of different phone solutions on the market that best fit your business needs! Fill in the form and get four non-binding quotes, totally free of charge!

Costs of Telephone Systems for Small Businesses

Before choosing between KSU systems and VoIP systems, you need to consider the costs involved and the features each system can bring. It is also important to consider the possibility of business expansion. As mentioned before, KSU systems start at £100 up and reach up to £200 in most of the cases, whereas VoIP can go even up to £15,000.

Price Overview of Business Phone Systems
TypeNo. Of EmployeesPrice Range per Extension (£)
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KSU systems are a suitable solution to start with but not when it comes to flexibility and additional costs for international calls. If you are also considering the possibility of expanding your company, you need to understand the limitation regarding the number of users. Even though this telephone system for small businesses may save you money in the beginning, it may affect your business telecommunication once your company starts growing.

VoIP systems are an expensive investment. The greatest advantage is that they offer you the chance to pay based on the number of users. There is also the possibility to increase the number of users at any time without a complicated process. In the long run, it may prove to be a good choice when it comes to small business telephone systems since it gives flexibility for scaling up. Check our dedicated page about voip providers.

8 Features of Small Business Phone Systems

Business communication has evolved over the years becoming easier, faster and cheaper. Depending on the provider chosen and the model of the telephone system, you can incorporate some advanced and features and upgrades.

Business telephone systems have the following features
  • Call waiting
  • On-hold music
  • Automated attendant
  • Call redirecting or forwarding to mobile phone
  • Conference calls
  • Call recording
  • Speed dial
  • Private voice mail

Telephone Systems for Small Businesses

The key telephone system is the most basic phone system available. It allows the manual selection of phone lines through a switching device called the Key System Unit (KSU). It is easy to use and very similar to a home phone system. The key telephone system includes all basic features you would expect from a basic system.

This type of small business telephone system has a limited number of phone lines and it allows for a maximum of 40 users to connect. This is one of the factors that make key telephone systems a suitable solution for small businesses, since it is perfect for companies in-budget. Key telephone systems can be classified into Key System Unit (KSU) and KSU-less systems.

These two types of key telephone systems differ in terms of coststhe number of users, and features.

KSU Systems

The KSU systems are office telephone systems that are easy to install and maintain. This is the reason why they are a very suitable solution for small businesses and start-ups. They are connected to the key system unit that keeps the information and allows to switch between the phone lines.

Although they make a good choice small companies, their disadvantage comes with regard to flexibility and mobility as they need to be connected to the key system unit. This type of system is basic and therefore does not provide any of the advanced features that VoIP systems do.

In the UK, prices for the KSU systems range between £100 and £200 without the installation costs.

KSU-less Systems

KSU-less systems follow the same principle with KSU systems, except that phone lines are no longer operated by the key system unit. Phones are wireless and this makes it a more flexible and user-friendly business phone system. The lack of the key system unit makes it a cost- effective choice. There is no infrastructure to install and the mobility is increased as the KSU-less systems can be easily transferred to new office locations.

The disadvantage of KSU-less is the scalability restriction. This telephone system only supports a maximum of 10 users. It is a phone system more suitable for small businesses that do not forecast immediate growth and do not receive or make a large volume of calls on a daily basis.

In the UK, prices for KSU-less systems start below £100 before installation costs.

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VoIP Systems for Small Businesses

VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol or Voice over IP. VoIP systems are one of the most recent innovations when it comes to business telecommunication. This type of small business telephone system uses an Internet connection to make phone calls. This way of communicating makes it easier and cheaper to make long-distance calls. It is a great choice for an office phone system in terms of flexibility, functionality and features. VoIP systems provide absolute freedom in terms of the number of users that can be added to the system. 

For a good operation of a VoIP system, businesses need a computer, reliable Internet connection, a phone and a VoIP provider. When a call is made using this business phone system, it is sent over the Internet to the receiver where it is transformed into a phone-line friendly format. Therefore, this type of WiFi VoIP phone call can be received by any type of telephone system.

VoIP systems are a more expensive option compared to the KSU systems. It fits businesses of all sizes. It is a great option for small businesses that plan to expand over time and have the necessary resources to invest in a telephone system.

In the UK, prices for VoIP systems range from £2000 to £15000. If you choose the hosted version of VoIP, costs are per end user and can be around £12-30 monthly. In addition, the price for a single phone set is £60.

Altenatively, small businesses might benefit from cloud phone system that is innovative form of VoIP technology. The telephony sofware is hosted in the cloud by the provider, which reduces cost of installation and maintenance. The user can can get immediate access to the system by logging in to the application at any time and place.  This makes running a small business cheaper, more efficient and completely mobile.

Telephone Systems for Small Businesses

Examine the Business’ Profile

It is not enough to say that a business is of small size since this cannot be the sole factor on which a phone system decision is based on. Here are the steps that every business owner should follow to help them identify their needs.

    • Vision for the future
      The business may be currently small with only a few employees, but it is crucial to think about the ambitions for growth. Some phone systems (such as KSU-less) can be perfect for the momentary situation but are limiting expansion possibilities. Therefore, the first thing that companies should think about is where they see themselves in the future and estimate capacity, in order to choose a system that will provide a long-term solution.
    • Geographical location
      Small local businesses with no plans to pursue national or international coverage, may settle with a key or a simple PBX system, which allows larger employee capacity, but no advanced functions or internal networking. However, if penetration in further locations is a priority for the company, PBX and VoIP systems are the more suitable option for them to reduce long distance and international call costs. Companies with multiple locations can also implement an internal phone system, which will allow cheaper and easier communication between employees.
    • Financial capacity
      Different phone systems come with their price levels, so the company should be aware of how much they can actually afford to spend. Usually more advanced and expensive phone systems lower bill costs in the long-run, with Internet based international calls and other features. VoIP systems, for instance, have an unlimited user capacity but are priced based on the number of users, which can be quite costly for a business with many employees. In those cases, choosing a hybrid system is a suitable option to save money on installation and still benefit from VoIP functions. PBX costs, on the other hand, can add up quite quickly due to high installation costs.
    • Complexity of the system
      Integrating a complex phone system causes some changes in the business process, and therefore it is important that the staff is able to operate with them. Owners should have in mind that new systems may take some employee training for an efficient result, so they should decide on the complexity of the system beforehand.

Compare Quotes of Telephone Systems for Small Businesses

These are few of the reasons and features of small business telephone systems. In order to make the best choice, it is important to have a clear plan for communication within your office and be aware of the features and advantages of each type of business telephone systems. No matter if you choose KSU Systems or VoIP systems, you will have a stable business telecommunication and features tailored for your needs!

Market Inspector offers businesses professional reviews for telephone systems as a completely free service! You can compare prices and quotes from different suppliers by filling in the free quote form on the page! Our team will assist you with up to four free non-binding quotes totally customised to your company’s business needs!

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