Telecom blues Featured

6:25am EDT April 2, 2003
Tough economic conditions have led business owners and executives at every size company to re-evaluate how money is being spent and whether the company is getting the most for its money.

Telecommunications services are a prime example. Every business has some costs in this area, as the simple telephone is a requirement for anyone. Add special features, Internet access and long distance services, and you suddenly have a lot of money wrapped up in your communication needs.

To save money, consider the following tips from Sean Kearns, general manager for XO Communications in Cleveland.

Bundling or fixed-rate plans
It's easier to plan when you know exactly how much your telecom costs will be each month. Kearns recommends investigating bundles that might include local, long distance and Internet service all at a fixed rate for a certain number of minutes.

"It will save the business money and also eliminate multiple bills and finger pointing between vendors when there is a problem," says Kearns.

Virtual networks
Instead of paying for a dedicated private line between multiple locations for your business, consider using an Internet-based virtual private network to keep everyone connected.

"The savings are significant and the security is just as strong as a dedicated line," says Kearns. One company was able to increase its available bandwidth between two locations while cutting its costs in half.

The right carrier
By picking the right carrier, you can take advantage of better rates with longer-term contracts and promotional offers. Make sure the carrier you pick has services that you might not need now, but may need as your business grows.

"To change carriers can be costly," says Kearns.

Each switch entitles installation fees and new contracts to review, as well as time spent researching who has the best offer and the most reliable services. If all of this is done up front the right way, a switch later shouldn't be necessary. Not doing your homework can mean being locked into a contract with a company that either isn't meeting your needs or simply can't meet the demands of your growing business.

XO Communications