Your business has likely been transitioning to partially online or even entirely online operations for some time now, perhaps sped up by the COVID pandemic. While much of that is reliant upon things such as website design, the tools you use, and how you train your employees to use those tools, your internet connection makes up the other half of the equation. You need a service provider that will not fail you and will be enough for your employees to do their jobs without inconvenience and delay. It should also be able to accommodate any special considerations your business may have.
While we cannot tell you which provider to go for due to the fact that many of the best options are regional, we can tell you what to look for in general, what to avoid, and how to choose between several options. With those goals in mind, please read the following sections:
What to Look for from Your Provider
To start with, you need to know what to look for. You should have a general idea of your needs already, but here are some more specific notes on specifics to consider:
Reliability and Service Speed
When the internet isn’t working at your place of business, it means you cannot communicate with your clients and customers, much less perform many of the functions necessary to maintain the business. When this happens, you not only need customer service on the same day, you need it in the same hour or sooner. If you ever have the choice between a slightly more expensive service provider that is known for quality and timely customer service and another that is cheaper but less reliable, choose better customer service every time.
However, you should ideally be working with a provider whose service does not cut out in the first place, save for disasters and problems beyond anyone’s control. You need your working day to go as smoothly as possible, and even a five-minute cutout of service (more common than you might think) can throw an otherwise well-organised day entirely off in an increasingly digital workplace.
Equipment and Technical Support
There are already enough uncertainties in business. The last thing you need to worry about is your internet connection and the quality of technical support on top of that. For that reason, you want to make sure that you are working with a provider that has reliable equipment and reliable service. Fortunately, there are few if any providers that routinely have equipment issues so long as the equipment is not prohibitively old. However, customer service is a different story, with ISPs getting a deserved bad reputation across the line when it comes to customer service.
Your business deserves better, so take a close look at how other businesses evaluate a particular service provider and base your decision partially on that and partially on your own impressions. What is good for one business might not be best for another.
While price alone should not be the main influence behind choosing a provider for your business, it should still be a significant factor. Business internet plans do not usually play by the same pricing rules that home internet plans do. They sometimes require more specialised equipment, so you can expect bills to be slightly higher for that.
Yet, similar to home internet prices, you should also consider the long-term value of any deal or contract you sign up for. Ask the following questions:
- Is there initial signup or installation cost?
- Is there an introductory pricing period, and how long does it last? What will the price hike be after this introductory period ends?
- What guarantees can my company get in the deal?
Why it Matters
What is so special about a business internet connection, anyway? Here are a few reasons to ensure you have the best possible provider for your place of business:
Your Business’ Internet Needs Are Different from Your Home’s
Even if you have the best internet connection possible at home, you might need something more robust for your business. There are likely to be more users, guests, and devices at work than you have at home. You need to be able to account for security, larger bandwidth, and more. Some ISPs are not up to the task, whatever they might advertise.
Not only this, but there are other concerns as well. How many connections can the router or routers at your place of business handle? If you have only a few employees, then there should hardly be anything to worry about. But larger operations or many devices in the workplace might require equipment that is a bit more specialised, or a more complicated setup in general which will require the work of a professional.
The only true exception to this is if you operate your business remotely at home, in which case a strong home connection can suffice (if there are only a few people or just yourself). Outside of this caveat, it would be wise to start thinking about your business internet differently than with your home internet mindset.
Any Delay Can Be a Problem
A fast connection can help employees maintain their train of thought and acquire necessary information faster. A few second difference in a page load speed can mean employees losing their attention, or potential clients losing their patience.
This issue raises an important question: how long does it take for your employees to do their work online or establish an important connection? Delays add up quickly, potentially costing your business money in the long run. Whatever reduced costs you find from choosing a cheaper ISP will be offset from that lost productivity. Go with the quicker connection to avoid running into this issue and save yourself time and money overall.
Selecting a Plan on Top of the Provider
Depending on the provider you choose for your business, you will also need to choose a plan from a small selection of what they offer. The options will vary from provider to provider in your area, but generally following the principles above on a wider scale will be your best guide. Certain things, such as customer service will not change unless stated otherwise, but knowing your business’ needs will be the best way to avoid making a mistake on this level.
Getting the right internet service provider and making sure the connection is working for you can be a bit of work, but the payoff of knowing you can rely on your connection and that you are getting good value for your money is entirely worth it. We hope that this information helps you know exactly what to look for, has provided you with a few names to go by, and will allow you to get a fantastic connection soon. Your business is counting on it.