Getting Started for Entrepreneurs (1-2 Employees)
From VoIP.ms Wiki
This guide has been made for entrepreneurs running a business on their own or businesses only with a few employees. If your business has grown beyond this, we suggest you use Getting Started for Small Businesses.
Below you will find a complete setup guide for your business phone system including:
- A few recommendations for a desk phone and a softphone to place and receive calls,
- A custom toll-free number,
- A voicemail greeting for your business,
- Call flow time conditions to forward calls during and after your business hours,
- Recording phone calls for your records,
- Sending and receiving faxes through a virtual fax, and
- A few security recommendations.
Here is a quick visual representation of what your phone system could look like based on the guidelines below, but please note that the phone features listed in this guide are interdependent. We recommend following the setup steps in the order they are presented.
Setting up Your VoIP.ms Account and Devices
Understanding VoIP.ms Pay-as-You-Go Pricing
You may be scared by the Pay-as-You-Go model, but it allows you to actually make significant savings and is much more flexible than traditional phone providers. Let's walk through pricing together, but keep in mind that VoIP.ms splits its pricing in two parts, inbound and outbound calls.
First, you will need one (or many) phone numbers. Say that you are a Canadian-based business, a toll-free number will cost you $1.25 per month.
Second, you get to pay per minute, thus you will pay $0.027 per minute.
As soon as your device(s) are set up, you can already make calls, you do not necessarily need to have a number associated to it. You will simply be billed according to your usage with 6-second increments. From our example above, outbound calls with toll-free numbers are free of charge (there are, indeed, some rules to the game!).
So how much is this costing you?
Say that in a given week, you speak on the phone 4 hours per day (making outbound calls to generate sales!) and receive calls 2 hours per day. That is 6 hours per day, 20 business days in a given month, that is 2,400 incoming toll-free minutes (billable) and 4,800 outgoing toll-free minutes (free!). Therefore, your monthly recurring bill would be $1.25 for your toll-free number and $64.80 for all your business calls during the month with a fully hosted phone system, which yields $66.05 for 120 hours over the phone!
Please note that VoIP.ms charges in U.S. dollars. While it is true that we are a Canadian company, since the company started back in 2007 we adopted the USD as the global currency solution in order to reach and satisfy as many customers as possible.
Ready to get started? Keep on reading.
VoIP.ms has a Bring Your Own Device policy, thus you may either already have something handy or may decide to buy a new device.
Phone Numbers (DIDs)
Once you have your device(s), you will either get toll-free or local DID(s), or transfer your current one(s).
1) To get DID(s), you may get a vanity number which consists of a custom toll-free number (e.g. 1-800-1-OFFICE) or a regular toll-free number. You may also order a simple local DID if you wish to do so.
2) You may also transfer your DID(s) from your current provider with our portability tool. This process usually takes up to 5 business days, so one way to work around this is to ask your current provider to do a call forwarding to your new VoIP.ms DIDs in the meantime. Moreover, porting local and toll-free DIDs is free with VoIP.ms across Canada and United States.
Don't forget to activate your E911 services!
In order to set up your devices, you will need to create sub-accounts. Sub-accounts allow you to register your devices as well as to create internal extensions once you have a few employees. Sub-accounts are free and you can have as many as you want.
With your DID(s), your device(s) and your sub-account(s). You are now ready to build a cloud phone system tailored to your specific needs.
Building a Tailored Cloud Phone System
First of, you will need a voicemail to make sure you are not missing any leads. Here are some tips from the VoIP.ms team to have the perfect voicemail prompt. We strongly advise you to take the full benefit of our voicemail system and activate the voicemail to email feature where all voicemail messages are forwarded to your email address as an MP3 attachment.
You may be at the office, at home, or on-the-go, but you should always benefit from unified communications and therefore to increase the likelihood of getting all your calls, you should activate the Call Forwarding feature. If you do not pick up your desk phone within a specific delay, the incoming call will be redirected to a number where you have more chance to answer (e.g. your mobile number).
While it is highly likely that as an entrepreneur you are working more than regular business hours, you can establish your own call flow with time conditions where you can where decide to send your calls outside business hours and on weekends.
Call Hunting is a great extension of the Call Forwarding feature, but is definitely optional. Call Hunting can be described as a logical flow to enhance the call answering rate. Say that you are two people in your business, you could easily create the following call flow:
- send the incoming call to the general phone line to your desk phone, if no answer (e.g. within 15 seconds)
- send it to your colleague's desk phone, if no answer
- send it to your mobile phone, if no answer
- send it to your colleague's mobile phone... and so on.
Call Hunting could also be leveraged with the Time Conditions feature discussed above. Say that you have an outside business hours emergency line for your key customers, you could simply input the escalation list in the Call Hunting feature.
Note that you could also implement our Ring Group feature where our system would ring everybody's phone at the same time until somebody picks up. However, since this guide is dedicated to 1-2 employees businesses, the Call Hunting feature probably makes more sense for your needs.
In order to get the best answering rate possible in your outbound sales activities, set up a Caller ID Number and Caller ID Name so that your potential leads and customers pick up the phone.
If you wish to maintain recordings of all calls made and/or received, our Call Recording feature allows you to download the recordings, send them to an email address or simply store them in your VoIP.ms portal.
Sending and Receiving Faxes with Your Virtual Fax
If you or some of your suppliers are still leveraging faxes, you can definitely benefit from our Virtual Fax system where you can send and receives fax through a user-friendly interface instead of having a conventional fax in your office.
You may also push this feature to the next level by activating the Email to Fax feature where you will be able to send and receive faxes directly through your email.
Increasing Your Security
VoIP.ms offers a plenitude of security features to add an extra layer of security to your account. Here are some of our favorites:
To prevent unauthorized calls from your account:
- IP Restriction: When enabled, the system will only allow outgoing phone calls from the IP address or IP address ranges provided.
- POP Restriction: This feature mimics the IP restriction, the system will only allow outgoing phone calls from the server selected.
- Allow International Calls: Are you or your team only making calls in USA/Canada? If so, when disabling this feature, calls placed to other destinations will be automatically rejected.
- Allow Calls to Countries: Only making calls to Europe? Not a problem. Disable all outbound calls apart from your desired target region.
To prevent unauthorized access to your customer portal:
- Foreign IP Guard: With this protection, every time there is a login attempt from a country other than yours, the customer portal access will be temporarily disabled from that IP address.
- Two Step Verification: This feature is an extension from our TOTP feature, when selected, you will receive a 6-digit code on your e-mail which will be required to login to your account.
Interested to learn more? click here.
After following this guide, you are fully ready to do business while using VoIP.ms as your business phone partner. However, if you still need help or have any question, our team is available and ready to support you 24x7.
- Tickets directly through your portal.
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tickets directly through your portal.
Sales and General Information
- E-mail: email@example.com
- Tickets directly through your portal.
- Phone: USA/Canada toll-free 1.877.786.4767 or 1.214.615.8599 worldwide