Small businesses must have internet to help run everyday tasks and interact with their customers.
Without a reliable internet connection, the modern business will have difficulty thriving and will be so disconnected from the rest of the world that it’s unlikely much success will be had.
That being said, the challenge fo finding the right ISP for your small business is no easy task.
With so many different options as far as speed, price, reliability, customer service and more, finding the right service could take weeks without knowing the right questions to ask and what to look for.
Keep reading to learn more about how to find the right internet service provider for your small business.
Decide What You Need From Your ISP
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking they need all the latest bells and whistles that come with modern internet services.
Having the fastest internet isn’t exactly a necessity, though many businesses believe that the faster the connection is, the better it is. It’s important to set aside the wants of the business owner and to instead consider the needs of the business when you’re choosing an ISP.
Make no mistake; the ISPs in your area will try very hard to get you to sign on for extra services or features, which is why it’s so important to create a list of needs and stick to it.
- What speeds or bandwidth does your business require?
- What’s your monthly budget, and what’s the maximum amount you can spend on internet service?
- What type of connections can your business support?
- Do you already have equipment?
The marketing prowess of ISPs is well-known, and many who sign up find themselves with more services than they originally set out to get. Stand your ground, know your needs vs. wants, and don’t be afraid to be firm with a pushy sales representative.
Determine Your Budget
Once you know the type of service you’re looking for, you need to determine the price you’re willing to pay for your services. First, determine your business budget, and set it against the offers in your area.
This is why comparing competitors’ prices is so important. You might find that where one provider offers a service for $100, another offers a similar service for only $80. Even a savings of $20 per month can benefit a small business greatly.
If your budget is fixed, which it likely is as a small business, you’ll have a maximum amount of money you’re willing to spend on your service; but that doesn’t mean you must spend that much.
Staying under budget is more preferable than maxing it out. Prices change with the times, and many ISPs change their prices on a whim.
You’ll get introductory prices, special promotions, and even price hikes during your service period. Keep a close eye on your bill, as ISPs are famous for hidden fees and sudden charges.
Whether it’s a late charge, installation fee, or other unforeseen expense, if your chosen ISP is known for deceptive pricing, steer clear of it and opt instead for a more reliable competitor.
Consider Customer Service
Customer service is important to your business, so you should make it a top priority when you’re choosing a new ISP.
Unfortunately, ISPs aren’t exactly known for great customer service, with some of the largest of the ISPs in the US being known for having the worst customer service in the industry.
When your business’s internet isn’t’ working, the equipment is malfunctioning, or there’s a problem with your bill, you’ll want a company that values customer service.
Some things to consider when you’re looking at a company’s customer service record are response time, support lines that operate during the day, how the company considers criticism or addresses frequent issues, and how the customer service representatives treat their customers.
Choose a Local Service
You don’t have to use one of the big five ISPs in the country. Choosing a local service may actually work out better since local businesses will be more focused on the area you’re in, and likely have a better customer service record.
You can compare local internet providers on Internet Advisor for the best prices and service packages.
Your business can benefit from a fast and reliable internet service, but don’t get caught up in the “speed” trap. If you don’t need high internet speeds, don’t pay for them.
Know exactly what your business’s needs are, so you don’t get caught up in the marketing efforts of your local ISPs.
Consider your budget carefully, and don’t make the mistake of thinking you must use one of the top five ISPs when there are likely better local alternatives.