When starting a business—whether at home or in a separate space—you have a lot of decisions to make. Choosing the best internet service plan is one of the most important ones.
It can feel overwhelming. You may not know how much bandwidth you need or how speed can affect your service. And of course you need to choose a reliable internet service provider—which every provider claims to be. While you want to get all the features you will need, you also want to avoid overspending on a plan that you won’t need.
“Having the right internet service can be a big benefit to a new business in terms of reliability, efficiency and overall smooth operations,” says Matt Bury, Senior Director of Marketing and Creative Strategy for Spectrum Business. “Ideally, once your internet service is set up, it will be so reliable and efficient that you won’t have to think about it.”
A reliable internet plan can also make your business more productive—allowing you to work faster and focus on critical business tasks, like serving your clients and customers.
So, with that in mind, how do you choose the best internet plan for a business? Here are the top factors:
Get the right bandwidth
One of the most crucial decisions is bandwidth—which refers to the maximum amount of data that can be transmitted at once. It directly affects how quickly you can download and upload data, whether large documents, image and graphic files, or video.
To determine your bandwidth needs, consider the types and numbers of technologies your business will be using and for what tasks. Bury recommends asking specific questions, like: What kinds of applications will you be running? Are you using cloud applications (which can require more bandwidth)? How many employees will be using the network? How many devices—including computers, smartphones and other business equipment—will be connected at once?
For example, a small retail business with a few employees and a few devices connected to the internet, including a basic point-of-sale system, may need a lower-tier plan with download speeds of 200 megabits per second (mbps). On the other hand, a business with more employees that uses cloud applications frequently, has large data file transfers or sells products online may need a plan with faster speeds.
It may be difficult to judge your exact bandwidth needs before you start your business and fully understand your technology usage. A Spectrum Business representative can guide you through the process of assessing your bandwidth and speed requirements. And, of course, you can always change your plan later on, if necessary.
“It’s important to make sure you have enough bandwidth because it directly impacts your productivity,” Bury says. “Sometimes business owners don’t even realize how much time they’re wasting waiting for something to load. A few seconds here and there over the course of a week can really add up to a meaningful amount of time that could be better spent managing other parts of the business.”
Look at extra features and benefits
Some internet service providers give business customers additional features and perks at no extra cost. So it’s worth looking at the value of those extra benefits when choosing your plan.
For example, Spectrum offers business subscribers free domain name registration, free email addresses customized to the company name, a free modem and cybersecurity tools. You can also bundle in business phone service, TV and other business services—which, beyond the convenience, can provide significant cost savings.
These types of extra benefits and features can be the deciding factor if you’re choosing between providers that both offer internet plans with the bandwidth you need.
Consider long-term value
Ultimately, you’ll want to choose an internet service provider that offers you flexibility—so you can get the features and bandwidth you need today and in the future, as your business evolves. To that end, avoid choosing a provider that will lock you into a contract, forcing you to pay a hefty termination fee if you need to cancel your service.
Also keep in mind that reliable internet is critical to running a business today and you can’t afford to have a plan that is too slow or unreliable—as it will be one more thing to worry about, distracting you from running your business and serving customers.
“The internet is absolutely critical to most businesses today, and many have told us it’s more important than even their electricity or their water,” Bury adds. “So, finding the right provider that is reliable and maximizes your productivity is crucial.”
Spectrum Business offers three tiers of business internet service—and our customers don’t sign contracts. Our lowest-tier plan is quite often faster than our competitors’ fastest plan. Contact us at 855-299-9353 to find out more about Spectrum Business internet plans and determine the best option for your needs.
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