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The best telephone systems for small businesses

retro telephone system

Which one is right for you?

While there are many providers offering their own versions, there’s really only two core types of business telephone systems for you to choose from.


Once you know which kind is right for you, that’s when you can break it down by provider, price, recommendations and reviews to get the right phone system for you. So, what are your options?


1. An on-site, ‘physical’ phone system

The traditional choice (and once the only choice), this type of phone system must be manually installed in your place of work, often using PSTN (public switched telephone network) or ISDN (integrated service digital network) lines. These lines allow you to have multiple desk phones which can be reached via one number.

Depending on the sophistication of the system, calls will be answerable by every user or a master line will distribute calls to relevant extensions either manually or via an Interactive Voice Response system (IVR) – this means that all phones will ring when someone calls your business number, or the caller will be filtered first through a “Press 1 for Accounting…” menu before being directed to the appropriate contact.

In most cases, a physical phone system must be purchased up-front, although some providers offer leasing agreements to spread payments. One benefit of a physical phone system is that it doesn’t rely on the speed or quality of your internet connection. However, it is less scalable as you are limited to the number of lines you have hardware to support.

A quick bit of desk research suggests a physical phone system will cost you anywhere from £200 – £1,000 per user (per phone), depending on the provider and level of service/additional features they offer.


2. A cloud-based VoIP system

A cloud-based or VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system, sometimes referred to as a hosted phone system, is an internet-based option hosted by a third-party supplier. With VoIP, you make calls over the internet instead of the traditional telephone network.

This is a great option for a small business phone system as it is almost always cheaper, and offers more flexibility – you don’t need to be tied to the location of your phone line, you just need a working internet connection wherever you are in order to connect.

Cloud systems can be upgraded easily by installing the latest software updates. Much like a new car, laptop or PC, the hardware for a physical phone system is ageing from the moment it’s purchased.

Another upside of the VoIP phone system is the reduction in down time when there is a problem. Unlike a physical phone system housed in your office, the components of an internet-based phone system are not all based in one place. This de-centralising of systems means that, when something goes wrong, it is often easier to isolate and fix the error. It’s worth noting that not all VoIP systems offer multi-site or multi-server systems (which can act as their own backups if one goes down), so be sure to ask providers about down time and disaster recovery.

Again, with a VoIP system, prices vary significantly from provider to provider. A number of factors will affect the final price you pay including, quality of service, number of users, additional features required (like three-way calling, hold, speed dial, call waiting etc.), support needed, disaster recovery solutions and integration with CRM or other internal systems. The difference here is that, in general, you’ll be looking at £50 – £150 per user.


3. A better solution for your small business phone system

There is another way – a complete business phone system in the cloud on your mobile. With our Pocket Phone System you will have all the functions and support of a complete office phone system, without the hardware.

Not sure it’s for you? Here’s some amazing facts about Pocket Phone System:

  • Packages start from just £25 per month
  • It’s cost effective with no hardware, ongoing maintenance or lengthy commitments required
  • You’ll have flexibility to manage business calls on the move through the app
  • Your business will look bigger and more professional
  • You’ll have control over your calls; divert to any number, your voicemail or even a Moneypenny PA


What is the best small business phone system?

The Moneypenny phone answering service provides each caller with a professional, yet personalised, experience which will create a fantastic first impression of your business. Whether they are clients or prospects, your callers will enjoy an outstanding customer experience with Moneypenny. Providing this level of personalised service without the continuous effort and input from an employee of your own company is something that a standard small business answering system cannot do.

You can choose from a range of small business phone system packages with our app, which comes with a free business number. The Moneypenny app transforms your mobile phone into a business phone system that can handle all your business calls, use intelligent call routing and take advantage of advanced technology, including speech recognition. You can also take advantage of our award-winning receptionist service, for an additional monthly fee.


How do I setup a small business phone system?

With Moneypenny, setup is quick and easy. You can sign-up to our small business phone system webpage with a few clicks. You simply choose which package you would like – depending on the number of recipients – business numbers, and inclusive minutes that you require. You then need to select your specific business number (freephone numbers are available), next enter your email address. Then you’re all set!

If you require a dedicated Moneypenny PA with our award-winning telephone answering service, the setup process is slightly different. You tell us which package you would like, for example 24/7 support. We’ll carry out an introductory call with you or a member of your team to find out more about your business. This call allows your dedicated receptionist to understand how to answer your calls, exactly as if based in your office.

With other phone systems, everything is usually carried out online or via software downloaded and installed on a device connected to the internet.


How much does a business phone system cost?

With a standard business phone system, you will have to purchase hardware, which would typically cost around £200-£600 per handset. The overall cost will depend on the number of users, the functionality of the system and the size and number of physical locations.

With Moneypenny, the small business phone system starts from £20 per month. With no additional hardware required, our business phone system provides everything you need at an affordable price.



Get in touch today to find out more about our unique, low cost, VoIP solution. Give us a call on 0333 202 1005 or purchase your brand new phone system online now.



We give you amazing people and technology:


Your own Moneypenny PA to answer calls exactly as if based in your office.

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Live Chat

Amazing people, briefed by you to manage chats whenever you can't.

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Pocket Phone System

All the functions and support of an office phone system, minus the hardware.

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