Your internet connection can make or break your business, especially if you run an online business. If you are lucky enough to live in a place where there are multiple internet service providers, you won’t have trouble negotiating a price or be limited by the product selection available to your business. If you live in a place where internet access is limited or spotty, it can be difficult to find some leverage with your internet provider to get a better price or even more reliable internet. Here’s how to find the best internet for your business.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read or Hear
When you set out to source internet connections for your business, you’ll want to consider a few things: everyone says they have the best interest. Period. Anyone who is paying for internet will also tell you they are getting the best internet around. People don’t like to admit they aren’t getting a good deal. You need to talk to the internet providers themselves and ask them what they can do for you. Be very, very clear about what your company needs in terms of internet service. Some companies need what’s called redundant service, which means they actually contract two different internet providers so that their websites or servers don’t go down. 100% uptime is very difficult to achieve, but it can be done with redundant internet services. Talk to you internet provider and then talk to the others. You might find some internet providers don’t want to provide redundant lines, but you won’t know until you ask.
When it comes to pricing, internet providers are often pretty stuck on what they are charging for residential services, but it’s a different story when it comes to business services. Just like you would “bundle” your home, mobile, and family phones onto one mobile phone plan to save money, you can “bundle” your internet, phones and security systems onto one plan to save money. Ask what the internet provider can offer you and then always counter off. Always. They know you are going to pay for internet no matter what, so it becomes a question of whom you are going to get that internet from. They want your business. Ask for a 3-5% discount to start and see where that gets you.
If you live in a small city or town, it might be difficult to price shop, but it’s not impossible. There are lots of rural internet providers popping up all over North America in an effort to stifle the big guys, and the big guys know it. Take the price you got from one internet provider to another and see if they can do any better. Sure, it seems shady, but this is your hard earned money we are talking about here, and you better believe a lot of businesses don’t even think to do this. They think internet is internet is internet and they pay what is costs. Everything in life is negotiable.
Aside from what it is going to cost you to get internet for your new or existing business, you want to consider the quality of customer service that internet provider is offering. When things do go wrong, you want to know that they have your back. They will send a technician out to your location or be able to fix it online as soon as possible. Don’t you just hate it when you have to call your internet provider at home and they ask you to “reset the modem”? It’s the worst. You don’t want to have to reset the modem for your entire company over the phone, so make sure someone who is competent and professional will be able to handle your customer service inquiries and issues. Don’t be afraid to ask about the kind of training service techs get and how well they understand business internet requirements. The more you know, the better you can make a decision about which internet provider to sign a contract with.
Making the Decision
After you have done all of your homework, asked all of the questions, got a price you can live with from several providers, it’s time to make a decision. You might think it all comes down to the price, right? Wrong. You want to work with the internet provider that went out of their way to get your business. I once test drove a car and the salesman called me for three weeks and even offered to “lend” me the car for the weekend to see if I really wanted the car. The entire time he was trying to sell me that car, he kept saying, “I just want you to make sure this is the car for you. I don’t care if you don’t buy it, but you need to know if this isn’t the one.” Now, that’s service. Of course I bought the car, I’m not a terrible human being that would string a salesman along for three weeks. But he worked hard for that sale. It’s my new bar whenever I buy something of any value now. The same rule applies to your internet provider – make them work for the sale. You are going to be a long time customer and they want to keep you for as long as possible. They should put a lot of effort in on the front end to make sure you have a great experience with them. Internet is so utilitarian, but the people who sell you the internet shouldn’t be. Think about that when you go looking for your next internet connection for your business. After all, business is about people.