We live in an era where most businesses would lose heaps of money if they didn't have an active internet connection. These days, having fast and efficient broadband that works well for your business is key to success. Whether you are a freelancer working from home, the owner of a company with hundreds of employees or anywhere in between the two, it is vital that you understand the needs of your business when it comes to signing with a broadband provider.
In this guide:
What to consider?
Most people's first instinct when they compare broadband is probably considering the lowest price above everything else. While that is important, there are various other elements you should keep in mind when selecting a broadband provider for your business.
One of the most important things businesses rely on is speed. Consider how many members of staff need access to the internet at once, and how fast they need data to be transferred. Keep in mind that if your business relies heavily on video calls, you may need a faster speed for those to run smoothly.
Be careful with advertised headlines speeds. Depending on where your business is based, the deals offered on headline advertisements may not always be available in your area. To get around this, be sure to read the small print and check your postcode against the deal being advertised.
Everything comes down to the needs of your business. If you have a big business that requires large storage spaces for software updates, you may want to consider having an unlimited download allowance. However, if you are an independent freelancer, that will probably not be on the top of your priority list.
It's also important to consider the contract length because that can make you either save or lose a lot of money. Longer contracts offer a lower monthly fee, but when it comes to cancelling or switching broadband providers, they are less flexible. In most cases there will even be a penalty fee to pay if you terminate your contract before the end date. Shorter contracts give you more freedom, but they will cost you more per month. Consider whether your priority is to be able to have flexibility or to save money in the long run.
Whether your broadband operates via ADSL or fibre cables can also make a huge difference. A basic ADSL offers a connection provided by your telephone line. It is widely available across the UK and may be enough to support the weight of a small business. On the other hand, fibre optic uses underground cables and provides a much faster connection. This option can be ideal for larger businesses, but they aren't widely available.
Business broadband packages
Having a business broadband package may highly increase productivity and efficiency in your company. These packages offer features specifically tailored for businesses and you will find that some of these may be critical to the day-to-day operation of your company.
If you sign a business broadband package, you will automatically receive priority service and support. Having your internet connection interrupted could cost you a lot of money and will most likely smear your reputation with your customers. Therefore, most broadband providers offer 24-hour support to businesses.
Additionally, providers tend to cater to businesses' needs more urgently than residential customers' needs and will even prioritise your call, so you won't be stuck in a queue for long. If the supplier is unable to resolve your issue and get your internet up and running in the timeframe specified in the contract, you may even be entitled to compensation.
If you have a big business, you may want to consider the benefit of having a static IP address. While home broadband connections typically have a dynamic IP address, having a static one will help your business host and run its own website. Business broadband packages also offer faster uploads, which means that the speed and quality of your internet connection will not be affected by other customers, even at peak times.
Most business broadband packages will also include higher grade security software benefits. It is vital that data from your clients, customers and employees are secure, and having a good broadband package can help you keep all that data safe. It can prevent your business from falling to cyber security threats, malware, viruses, trojans, and common hacking attacks.
Disadvantages of business broadband
There can be a few disadvantages you should keep in mind before signing a business broadband package, and money is one of them. If you run a big company, having a broadband package may be essential to the basic functioning of your business. However, if you only have a few employees and don't need many of the features outlined above, it will probably cost you more than any profit you make from it.
On that note, when speaking to different broadband providers, most of them will probably offer you more than you need in an attempt to make you pay more. It won't be in your interest to sign for something you won't use, so make sure to work out exactly what it is that you need beforehand.
One of the most frustrating things that some people overlook is that not all providers and not all deals are available in every area. There can be huge variations in the types of broadband deal available depending on where your business is based. And like everything else in life, make sure you read the small print because these may include hidden setup fees or high postage costs.
Know your business
At the end of the day, no one knows your business better than you. The bottom line to consider is: will having a business broadband package benefit you? Will your employees be more efficient because of the benefits provided by a broadband package? Do you really need these benefits if you are a freelancer working from home? It all comes down to understanding the needs and requirements of your business (no matter how big or small) and what best suits it.