Small Telephone Systems Verses Multi-line Business Phones

Choosing the right telephone system from start is always the best path, but not always the most economical. Before you head down to your local electronic store and pick up the cheapest multi-line business phone you can find, here are few pointers you should keep in mind.

Many multi-line business phones have a pretty decent feature set such as voicemail, caller ID, call waiting ID, 3 way calling and intercom (in multi phone setups). These phones integrate the Key System Unit (or KSU) into the phone itself, which means each individual telephone functions as its own “mini phone system.” The term KSU, (Key System Unit, Key Signaling Unit or Key Service Unit) dates back to the early day’s phone systems, it’s basically “the Brain” of the phone system. All call processing data and telephone line interfacing is carried out by the KSU. For many small offices with less than 4 phones (extensions) and 4 telephone lines, these multi-line phones are adequate and economical. However, as a business grows, the many disadvantages of these phones begin to show their merits.

By comparison, multi-line business phones are sold with the marketing term, “KSU-less design,” which translates (in buyers minds) to lower overall costs. Small telephone systems on the other hand include a separate KSU unit or “Brain” in addition to each telephone. A major disadvantage comes to play when you are interfacing your phones with the telephone company lines. The KSU acts as the “line interface,” for a phone system, all major system connections terminate at the KSU. Now with each multi-line phone acting as its own “mini phone system,” each phone now needs direct connections to each telephone line.

A single telephone line consists of 1 pair of wires. Almost all multi-line phones support up to 4 lines, meaning each multi-line phone needs up to 4 pairs of wires or the equivalent of a standard Cat5e cable. As you begin to add more KSU-less phones to your office you must factor in the cost to install another drop of cat5e (or cat5) cable. You must also account for the additional termination blocks in your telephone closet where all these phones must be “Bridged” (or shared) to the 4 phone lines. As you can imagine, for installations with more than say 4 or 5 phones the wiring aspect can get pretty complex. Anything over 6 or 7 phones will be a wiring mess, if done unprofessionally, which adds to the cost of these low budget systems. However, this bridged connection is how multi-line phones “intercom” one another. By sending a signal over each bridged line, each extension can communicate without actually tying up any of the 4 phone lines. As long as every multi-line phone is connected to all 4 lines (or matching number of lines if less than 4), each phone can intercom each other internally while keeping the phone lines free for external calls.

Small Telephones Systems on the other hand, which come equipped with a separate, dedicated KSU unit, are at a distinct advantage in both areas. Having a single KSU unit means a single interface point for the telephone line connections. Many small telephone systems need only a single pair of wire to connect each extension telephone. What this means is if you are deploying a number of phones in one particular area, you can save dramatically on cabling costs by having your contractor “split” the single Cat5e cable into, at most, 4 single telephone jacks! – This becomes very cost effective as you deploy additional phones. (However, many pros will only split single Cat5 cable once for 2 telephone jacks leaving the remaining wires as spare pairs). Cable management becomes much easier (and neater) as you need not worry about bridging 10 phones to 4 telephone lines. One single pair of wires (to connect to a telephone) of the 3 or 4 pairs in a standard telephone cable is enough for as many lines as the small telephone system can handle since the actual line connections are at the dedicated KSU unit and not at the individual telephone.

Another plus for the small telephone system is the ease of transitioning to a larger phone system. The wiring scheme for the most part will remain the same albeit installing more cable drops to new areas. Not so much the same for the multi-line business phones. Depending on how each phone was “bridged” to interface to those 4 telephone lines, this entire wiring scheme may need to be undone as most small (and large) telephone systems require individual (not bridged or shared) connections to the KSU.

Programming wise there is one disadvantage when comparing small business telephone systems to multi-line business phones, which can be viewed as multiple disadvantages. Since each individual telephone functions as its own KSU it also functions as its own Voicemail unit (if equipped). Which means if you want to enable an Auto Attendant feature (where your callers are greeted by a company recording instructing them to press 1 for Joe Boss, 2 for Sales Manager etc…) you will have to record this greeting for as many times as you have voicemail enabled phones (up to 4). Here’s why, with most multi-line business phones, the voicemail feature includes a personal voicemail box for the extension and an optional auto attendant feature. The auto attendant feature can only handle one call at a time; ergo if you want the system to answer up to 4 incoming calls simultaneously you need at least 4 auto attendant enabled phones. So technically speaking you must record the same auto attendant greeting 4 times, 1 on each phone. You must also enable the system mailbox for each of the 4 phones to accept general messages. You now have 4 different phones/voicemail boxes in your office where you must check for general messages. This is known as a general mailbox, which is a default destination for callers who do not press a menu option or dial an extension. This scenario is not efficient for larger setups but may work for smaller ones.

With a small business telephone system, there is just one central voicemail unit which can handle multiple calls at once. Storage times are much greater and there is just one mailbox for general messages. You can also take advantage of advanced features (if equipped) such as voicemail to email (where the system sends the voicemail in a standard wav format to your email address), which in this fast paced world can be a BIG time saver and added convenience.

One last point on this topic to cover quickly; with the advent of the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) continually proving its cost effective existence, many businesses find themselves wanting to take advantage of these savings. Many small business telephone systems on the market today are equipped to handle VoIP telephone lines through either a simple hardware or software upgrade. An upgrade may include adding an Ethernet (or media) port to the system or if already equipped, simply enabling this port through software activation. Simply plugging this unit into your company LAN and perhaps minor firewall configuration you can now start saving on land line costs by calling out over less expensive VoIP lines.

Multi-line business telephone can benefit as well but through a 3rd party VoIP gateway. This gateway converts a VoIP line (sometimes called a “Trunk”) to a standard telephone port. You will need as many gateways as you want lines, (or opt for a multi-port unit). However you may have to plan on spending some time configuring and adjusting the settings of the unit to obtain the proper volume levels while minimizing echo and other artifacts that may be induced when converting the signal from a standard Analog telephone line to SIP or other VoIP protocol. Many high end units come with built in (hardware or software) echo cancellers and noise suppressors which minimize these adjustments (and work very well) but increase the cost of the gateway dramatically.

To conclude, although it may seem like great savings early in your start up phase, for needs of 4 or less external lines and extension phones, the multi-line business phone can actually prove to be a cost effective solution. In my humble opinion these multi-line phones are better suited for a home office (or SOHO) situation. If you have big plans to expand exponentially (and don’t we all!) I recommend you at least consider a small business telephone system. Although a bit more initial investment is required, the benefits far out way the cost disadvantage if not cancel it out completely.

Copyright © 2009 Damian Parkins for PBX Interactive, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Multi Level Marketing Advertising Ideas for Your Network Marketing Home Business

Advertising in Multi-Level Marketing is vital to any Network Marketing Business. Starting your Multi-Level Marketing business does not have to cost your hundreds or even thousands of dollars. I want you to read that last sentence again, because it is very important.

When starting a business, be it a home based business or any other Multi-Level Marketing home business, you need to design a budget. You do not have to go broke starting your Multi-Level Marketing business.

There are many great low cost and even FREE tools including advertising that will help jump start your Multi-Level Marketing business. Here are several FREE advertising ideas to help you start advertising your Multi-Level Marketing business.

8 Multi-Level Marketing Advertising Strategies

1. Writing Press Releases: Writing a press release is not difficult, it is not any different that writing any other type of document. Write a press release about your Multi-Level Marketing business, your product, your company opportunity, when you have accomplished a new level of achievement in your company’s compensation plan. There are so many reasons to write a press release, it creates great exposure for your Multi-Level Marketing business. Many websites offer tips on how to write a press release and where you can submit your press release. My favorite place is prweb they offer tips and ideas, and FREE posting of your press release.

2. Submit Your Articles: There are many great websites and e-zines to submit your articles to. Make sure that your articles have great value to the readers and that it is informative. Writing articles is a great technique to brand you as an expert in your Multi-Level Marketing business. Having your articles listed on different websites and e-zines will allow other publishers to “borrow” your article for their website, e-zine or newsletter. You want to be sure to have your “bio” at the end of each article you write also make sure that you have a link to your Multi-Level Marketing business in your bio. Your “bio” stays attached to your article no matter where or who “borrows” your article. Keep in mind having one of your articles in one e-zine it could reach potential thousands of prospects.

3. Write Blogs: Another great tool for your articles. Search Engines love blogs and the Search Engines spider’s blogs more often. Remember you can have several different blogs and I believe it is important to have several different blogs for your interests. For example, I have a few blogs at this time, one for recipes and cooking, one about my Multi-Level Marketing business and the third about Direct Sales and Multi-Level Marketing tips and tools. I also plan to set up a couple of other blogs in other areas of interest to me. On your blogs you should have links to your various websites, the e-zines where your articles are located. One reason for putting your articles not only on your blogs but other websites and e-zines is that more links coming into your personal website the better the rankings in the Search Engines and of course more potential customers and prospects to your website.

4. FREE Advertising Websites: There are several of these websites on the internet. Google “FREE advertising websites” and you will get a multitude of websites to try. Remember consistency is the key here. A great way to see where you are getting your leads, from which advertising site is to use a different email address for each ad you place or you can put a different code in the ad; this helps to see what advertising website is generating the leads.

5. Organize a FREE Seminar/Workshop: Sharing information that can be informative to others as well as bringing value to them is one way of creating relationships. Relationships are a significant part of growing your business and building trust with people. At the conclusion of your seminar or workshop you can share information about your Multi-Level Marketing business, service, and product or business opportunity. Depending on your product giving a FREE sample to each person attending along with your business cars is an excellent idea.

6. Participate in Discussion Groups and Forums: There are many excellent discussion groups and forums covering a wide range of interests on the internet. Discussion groups and forums are a place to share your ideas, tips to give advice to others, brand you as an expert. Do not blast ads about your company, products, or business opportunity. That is not to say that you can never share your products or Multi-Level Marketing business opportunity, however, you are trying to build trust with people. Give advice or as the saying goes “give your two cents” about a topic. Start a topic that interests you and share your tips and ideas. Give people value and a reason to trust you.

7. Email Signature: This is a very effective technique in creating publicity for your website. Do not make your signature too long or containing so much information. Keep your signature short, sweet and to the point. Use this signature not only on all your emails that you send out but any written letters. For example:

Your Name
Your Company’s name here
http:// www. yourwebsite.com

This tells people who you are, your company name and your website for them to go visit. Use this on everything that you send out of your home.

8. Social Networking: Social Networking is all the rage these days and why not, this is an excellent method for branding yourself on the internet as an expert in your field of interest. Social Networking can promote your Multi-Level Marketing home business. There are numerous Social Networking opportunities available online. Here are a couple of my favorite Social Networking sites. You can see how I have accomplished my sites and you can promote your Multi-Level Marketing home business online. Remember how I have my sites set up and how I have them laid out will be different than yours. There is Facebook (the #1 place), Squidoo, MySpace, YouTube just to name a few.

Multi-Level Marketing advertising strategies conclusion

Multi-Level Marketing advertising is vital to your Network Marketing business. Without advertising either online or offline it would be very difficult to build your business into a success.

Before you leap in head first you need to set a budget, not just for advertising but for all the costs involved in starting a Multi-Level Marketing home business. Not setting a budget could be the cause of your business not succeeding. It is far too easy to spend more money than you have; than your business can suffer and give you a bad outlook about Multi-Level Marketing. So work on a budget and stick with it.

The advertising ideas listed here are just a few different ideas; pick a couple of these great ideas and master them and then integrate a couple of new ones as your Multi-Level Marketing business starts to grow.

Starting with just a couple of the ideas rather than all of them will alleviate any stress of trying eight different advertising ideas. It can be very difficult to keep up and doing an excellent job.

You also want to do a good job on each advertising idea to show off your business, products, Multi-Level Marketing business opportunity as well as brand you as an expert in your field.

What do you think? Did I leave any Multi-Level Marketing advertising strategies out?

Best Methods to Recruit People Into Your Business

If you are starting a multi-level marketing business, then you know that you need to recruit people into your business for it to grow. Since most multi-level marketing opportunities pay down a number of levels in a set time frame, the most profitable way is to recruit people quickly. We have reviewed several multi-level business opportunities and found the best methods that work.

There are several methods to recruit people into your business using some of the Internet marketing techniques that have proven the most successful. Of course, the primary idea is to drive traffic to your website, since the Internet is a 24/7 market. The trick is to get your website in front of the people that are the best candidates for multi-level marketing and to have an attractive enough website that they will want to learn more.

Search engine optimization will drive traffic to your website, because the higher up the rankings in your particular category, the more people will click on your website to see if they are interested in your products or services. This is important when it comes to finding people that are interested in starting their own home-based business, which is what you are interested in.

When you are building your website, you may want to consider linking your replicated website to a customized site that you can build as you build your multi-level marketing business. The replicated websites are a good way to start your business, especially if it is a well-known product or service, because keyword optimization has probably already been done.

That is not to say that you can’t build your own professional looking website that is search engine optimized and can give visitors valuable information, even if it links over to the replicated website.

You can use attraction marketing to get the customers to come to you, which is an effective way to build a multi-level marketing business quickly. By using the Internet and SEO, Google, Adsense, pay-per-click and freebies, such as free trials, free newsletters, sweepstakes and other ways to get the email addresses of those that are interested in your website services or products, you can use email campaigns to turn them into recruits, with the right approach.

Building a multi-level marketing business by recruiting family and friends is often not successful and it is not how the most successful multi-level marketers make six figure incomes. They do it by using the Internet to attract recruits and then convert them by offering the information that is most likely the reason people would want to join.

When it comes to recruiting for your multi-level marketing plan, what are some of the reasons people would want to join? Start their own businesses, make six figure incomes, discounts on products, free training with weekly conference calls and demonstrations, and an easy way to supplement income with a few hours a week? There are a wide variety of reasons that people may want to join your multi-level marketing program, you just have to find the most important trigger points and use them through effective use of your website and the Internet search engines.

When it comes to multi-level marketing, much of the success can lie in the compensation plans, the products and the companies you choose, so careful selection of the multi-level marketing opportunities are important to your success and that of your “downline”. Of course, if a multi-level marketing opportunity got your attention, what was it about it that made you interested?

Sometimes, replication is the easiest way to recruit. You may not realize it, but something attracted you and sometimes finding recruits is as simple as capitalizing on what factors made you interested in the opportunity to begin with. Sometimes, it is simple to recruit people into your multi-level marketing business by using proven and successful plans to do it.

Many times, the company you represent in multi-level marketing has already tried many things and that is what attracted you. By using proven methods, you may find it is much easier than you think. Some people try to re-invent the wheel when it isn’t necessary.

We have found that a reputable company with a good product can make it easier to recruit people into your network, so these are factors you have to consider when you are in the multi-level marketing business and trying to build it. We have found many successful programs, methods and multi-level opportunities that make recruiting easy.