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Evolve to Win: Anticipating Tomorrow’s Business Internet Needs

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By Bobbi Jo Herubin-Noll
SMB Sales Consultant

I’m lucky to have a job that involves talking to a wide variety of business owners every day, and I’ve noticed our conversations going deeper than ever before as they observe the year-over-year growth in how their business uses the internet. Lately, I’ve seen some distinct trends emerge:

  • More emphasis on cloud-based services, hosted email, off-site backup and remote access
  • Increased bandwidth needs for more integration with software, metrics, automation and shipping/receiving
  • Understanding the value of a disaster recovery or redundancy plan
  • Adding Wi-Fi access points to boost efficiencies
  • Fire detectors, security equipment and cameras using bandwidth
  • Transition from faxing documents to scanning for better record retention, requiring more upload capacity

If your small business uses the internet 30% more than the previous year, you probably need 30% more bandwidth to keep up with that growth. Business owners typically don’t want to see numbers on the upload and download. They want to understand if a new service option will give them more than what they have today and what they need for the future.

It helps to think of the internet as a highway. How many cars are simultaneously using the highway to get to where they need to go? For many, gigabit speeds have become a necessity. There’s no perfect formula to determine a business’s bandwidth needs, but I like to ask these four questions to help customers figure it out.

 

1. How much speed do you really need?

Like anything else you buy for your business, internet connection speed is a numbers game. How many employees do you have online simultaneously? What types of files are they sending back and forth between each other, as well as to customers and vendors? Do you rely heavily on your website for sales? Are there specific times when you require guaranteed bandwidth?

Take a full inventory of all the ways you depend on the internet, and then bring the list with you when you talk to internet service provider (ISP) candidates. While there’s no point in paying for more speed than you need, it’s not just about getting by. Uptime is money!

Once you decide on a package, make sure you can get more speed and capacity quickly, if your business requirements change. Some ISPs impose limits depending on the package you select.

 

2. What type of security will you receive?

From data backup to virus, spam and malware protection – your business needs online protection. Make another list about how you use all your data, including file storage and equipment security, then find out what your business internet package covers.

Don’t have a dedicated IT staff? Most small businesses are in the same situation. Ask if your ISP can move your IT server equipment from a less secure location, such as a back room or office, to a secure data center – ensuring proper security, environmental controls, power supply and fire suppression. 

    

3. What kind of reliability and customer support can you expect?

First, look at dependability: Your business internet should be on a reliable, redundant network that’s monitored by your ISP 24/7. If it’s not, look elsewhere.

Ask what happens in the event the internet goes down due to construction accidents, natural disasters or other unforeseeable issues. Accidents happen, but if your ISP owns and monitors their own network connections, odds are they’ll get you back up and online faster than if they rely on third-party providers. 

Next, ask whether there’s dedicated support for business customers. Some ISPs support their residential and business customers the same way. You’ll want to make sure your assistance comes from dedicated, specially trained business support technicians.

In addition, will you receive in-person support or over the phone? How are the support technicians trained? If needed, ask about service level agreements (SLAs) that can guarantee uninterrupted service or uptime. 

 

4. Can you save by bundling communication services?

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it can be easier (and less expensive) to work with one company for all your business communication needs. Bundling services like phone service and cable TV for customers or employees together with your business internet can help save you time and money.

A good salesperson will not let customers or business owners get overwhelmed with more details than they need. After all, we are the experts, and we are here to guide you. Keep asking questions until you feel comfortable.

My team at Midco has worked with companies of all sizes to create custom connectivity solutions. Ready to find what works for you and for your business? Learn about our business internet services, and connect with experts at Midco Business for a no-obligation consultation today.

    About Bobbi Jo Herubin-Noll

    Bobbi Jo Herubin-Noll

    Bobbi Jo Herubin-Noll joined Midco in 2014. She has built a career helping customers get the most value and best customer experience from their telecom and internet services. Herubin-Noll holds more than 15 years of sales and account management to businesses of all sizes. She is passionate about solutions, positive customer experience and relationships – as demonstrated by her earning Midco’s top sales award in 2015 and 2016. Herubin-Noll holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from St. Cloud State University.

    About Bobbi Jo Herubin-Noll

    Bobbi Jo Herubin-Noll

    Bobbi Jo Herubin-Noll joined Midco in 2014. She has built a career helping customers get the most value and best customer experience from their telecom and internet services. Herubin-Noll holds more than 15 years of sales and account management to businesses of all sizes. She is passionate about solutions, positive customer experience and relationships – as demonstrated by her earning Midco’s top sales award in 2015 and 2016. Herubin-Noll holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from St. Cloud State University.

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