Lean Start Up - Land Lines Aren't Dead Yet

posted Sep 14, 2013, 8:32 AM by Douglas McCartney

Every startup has limited resources, particularly cash. One of the more frustrating costs to me is the phone. Sure we all have a smartphone, but to me they still don’t deliver the voice quality of a solid landline or well executed VOIP system. The landline also lends a certain “permanence” to your business that a cell phone just can’t deliver. And lest you not be deceived, your phone is still your number one sales and marketing tool.

And like so many other  technologies in use at businesses today, it is often helpful to look at the business to consumer (B2C) world to see what is coming next. With that in mind, one system I found to save a bit of money at home is a product called Ooma - and they have a small office offering as well.

Ooma, in short, gives you free unlimited nationwide calling for the cost of a one time hardware purchase. It is a small box (about the size of two decks of cards) and costs about $130 on Amazon. Plug it into your Internet router and in about 10 minutes you’ve up and running. If you like, for $40 more  you can port your existing number to it and cut the cord on your traditional landline or Internet provider’s VOIP system completely (for me, that saves $50 a month). You do need to pay about $4 in monthly taxes, but otherwise there is no other cost. I personally connected this, ported our landline number to it, and I must say it just works. There is even a very nice web portal that is every bit as good as what we used to have with Verizon FOIS, except it is about $50 less a month.

If you want there is a premium offering that for $10 a month that gives you a second line and a few additional phone services plus unlimited calling to Canada as well. And on the business front, the company has a small office offering as well. It gives you multiple inbound lines and more importantly for most of today’s businesses, a good number of “virtual” extensions that can be programmed to forward callers out to their remote office giving your small organization the feel of a much larger company. It is, if you will, a business VOIP offerings like Ringcentral at yet an even lower price point.

Check it out at www.ooma.com.