Finding the right small business Internet service provider (ISP) can be a daunting task. With so many factors to compare and consider, making the right choice can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start.
Keep reading for 5 things to look for when selecting a small business Internet service provider.
1. Availability in Your Area
The first thing you should do is determine which ISPs have availability in your area. This is particularly important if your business is in a rural area, where coverage and service features can differ from provider to provider. In fact, some ISPs may not serve your area at all, which could limit your choices from the onset.
If a provider does have availability in your area, things like speeds, prices, special offers and packages for business can often be different from what is advertised to the general public. Make sure the provider offers Internet for small business, and not just consumers. Then, consider searching your zip code in an online tool to help you narrow down and compare the Internet service provider options in your area.
2. Plan Data
Data is one of the most important factors in determining which ISP to use. When comparing plans, look at the gigabytes per month – often presented as GB/month. While it can be tempting to choose the Internet plan with the most GBs available, you can easily get roped into paying for data you will never use. Small business owners should instead focus on selecting a provider and plan that offers sufficient data to conduct daily business.
For a better idea of how much data is right for your business, check out our guide here.
As mentioned above, it is important to find an Internet service provider that offers the value that makes the most sense for your small business. For example, a more expensive ISP may be a no-brainer if your small business is an ecommerce site or you have a few dozen employees connected at one time. However, if you’re operating out of your home or only using the Internet briefly for small day-to-day tasks, paying for an expensive Internet plan may not make much sense for your small business. So, take some time to think critically about the balance you hope to strike and be prepared to weigh the pros and cons of a few different packages.
4. Customer Service
Regardless if your small business is running around the clock or not, it is critical to have an ISP customer service team that does. Access to 24/7 technical support is crucial to minimizing downtime and potential money lost, so when comparing Internet service providers, make sure to evaluate their customer service offerings. Ask about phone or chat assistance, typical response time and any additional resources they may offer.
As a small business owner, you know it can be tough to manage many vendors at once. If given the opportunity to work with one company rather than three or four, you’d surely take advantage. Luckily, ISPs often provide an opportunity to do so by offering additional services so you can bundle your small business Internet with things like voice over IP service – often for a discounted price. Choosing an ISP that offers bundling opportunities can save you time and money, while making billing and support easier, as you only have one vendor to work with.
These five elements should give you a good roadmap for finding the right Internet service provider for your small business. The choice doesn’t have to be difficult as long as you know what to look for when evaluating your options.