It goes without saying that every successful business needs a strong internet presence. (Ok, so I said it anyway.)
The internet is likely to be one of the main ways customers find you, contact you, and check up on you via reviews and recommendations. And that's why having fast, reliable broadband is of critical importance.
Not all broadband is equal
If you're looking for a new broadband provider, keep in mind that not all services are created equal.
It can be tempting to use a home broadband package for business, particularly if you work from a home office. If you're considering this, weigh up the pros and cons carefully.
Although business packages do sometimes cost a little more, they typically offer priority support, fewer download restrictions and guaranteed speeds.
How to compare packages
This is an excellent way to get a feel for what packages are available and which fit your budget. As you explore the options, you can begin creating a shortlist of packages that might work for your business.
When comparing packages, don't just take the connection speed into account.
If you can find the information, look at each provider's contention ratio, too. This measures how many customers share available bandwidth in a given area.
A provider with a contention ratio of 20:1 is likely to offer a connection that's more consistently fast than one with a contention ratio of 40:1.
Also be aware of data limits, particularly with lower-priced packages.
If you hit your download limit during any given month then you'll be forced to pay for an extra data allowance. Unlimited packages are worth the money, especially if your business sends and receives lots of large files.
Check out support and service
You can almost guarantee that if something goes wrong with your broadband, it'll happen at an inconvenient time. And that's when you'll be glad you paid a little extra for 24/7 support or priority service.
See if your chosen providers publish average response times on their website. You can even give them a ring to see how long it takes them to pick up.
You might also be able to get a government grant to boost your broadband. More information is available from the Connection Vouchers website.
Once you've narrowed down your supplier list, take your time over the decision. Don't be afraid to call the broadband companies with any questions you have.
After all, you'll need to rely on them, so your clients can rely on you.