There are four business phone system options to consider.
KSU-less telephone systems
KSU-less systems are suitable for businesses with ten employees or less and offer some advanced features like programming and portability, much like key and PBX systems. However, KSU-less systems should not be used for companies that plan on future growth.
Unlike other telephone systems, KSU-less systems do not require a cabinet, or KSU, to route calls. All of the routing software is contained within the telephone itself hence why these phone systems are generally inexpensive. It is a good choice for a small business because it offers most of the features that a small business might need.
The two potential downsides to this system are that you have the responsibility of installing and setting up this phone system on your own and unanticipated growth of your business. KSU-less systems are not supported by telecoms or phone system vendors so the maintenance, installation and any type of customer service needed are left in your hands. KSU-less telephones are also not compatible with key or PBX phone systems so if your company grows, you will need to upgrade your system and incur additional expenses.
Key telephone systems are ideal for businesses with ten to forty employees. This business phone system generally offers the right features that small businesses commonly need while keeping your overall costs within a manageable level if you are working with a smaller budget.
Key telephone systems are not as customizable as PBX phone systems, but do offer a wide range of features for a lower price. If you choose a key system, it is easily upgradable. However, it is said that PBX systems offer a better long-term value.
Hybrid options like Panasonic phone systems are also an option and can give you a bundle of features like a PBX phone system, but at a lower rate comparable to key telephone systems.
PBX Phone Systems
PBX phone systems are ideal for businesses with forty or more employees or businesses that require features that key telephone systems cannot offer. Offering more flexibility and the possibility of customization than key systems do, PBX phone systems are often the first choice.
Adding extensions and lines to a PBX telephone system is very simple and straightforward, making upgrades relatively simple and cost-efficient. PBX phone systems are more expensive up-front because of scaling, but the costs per employee actually decrease with the number of ports required In other words, bigger businesses spend less money per employee with PBX systems than smaller businesses.
Smaller businesses that plan to grow can also benefit from purchasing a PBX phone system because it is easy to upgrade than other systems.
VOIP, or voice over internet protocol, is an internet phone system that uses the internet, rather than traditional phone lines, to send and receive telephone communications.
Typically costing much less than other types of phone systems, VOIP are oftentimes portable and do not require the use of specialized telephones. You can purchase specialized telephones that will connect directly to your DSL, but most businesses prefer to purchase a router so the internet signal converts for use with standard business telephones. Note that if your business uses DSL, your phone service is technically running through your phone lines, but it is a different type of signal.