5 Things Founders Need to Know When Zooming Investors During the Pandemic

5 Things Founders Need to Know When Zooming Investors During the Pandemic

Like everything else, fundraising has dramatically transformed over the last year. At the beginning of the pandemic, the idea of investing in a founder we hadn’t met seemed farfetched. Twelve months later, we’ve invested in seven companies that we haven’t met physically.

The biggest difference is that fundraising processes — here in Europe and virtually everywhere else — have sped up. In this new reality, there’s no need to plan for travel, and the best entrepreneurs can squeeze in multiple partner meetings with VCs across the world on the same day. As geographical boundaries aren’t as important any longer, competition is also increasing. It’s now a truly global playing field.

With this in mind, here are some learnings and tips from the previous year Zooming. Let’s get going (by the way, you’re on mute).

1. Take time to present your team and build rapport.

A big part of being a VC is getting a feel for you as a founder. This is even more important if you are raising a Pre-Seed or Seed round, when there’s not that much concrete to go on. Still, many founders are so excited to present their vision, product, or technology, they get going and then only briefly go through the team way down on Slide 23.

A great idea is worthless without a stellar founding team. Dedicate a significant portion of the meeting (preferably in the beginning) to the team. Present the people who are in the room, how you met, why you’re tackling this problem (I love origin stories), and the extended team. Present it with a clear narrative of how it all comes together and make sure to address a few key questions: how will this win in the future? Why is this the team to do it? And how big can it become?

2. Remember the VC on the other side of the screen.

Understand the VC perspective. Do your homework on who you are talking to and tailor your pitch accordingly. For example: what type of growth attracts VCs? Remember that the business model for VCs is unlike any other, as they don’t invest their own capital, instead working on behalf of their clients — Limited Partners (LPs). LPs invest in many ways, allocating a small amount of capital toward VC, typically considered a riskier asset class, as it’s founded on the future success of unproven early stage ventures.

Inevitably, not every company is a winning bet. Some go bust, others return the capital invested but produce no profit. Perhaps one-third of investments might yield a positive return but, from personal experience, only 2 percent to 10 percent of companies a VC invests in will prove standout successes. If you can make a VC believe your company could be one of those standout successes, then you have sealed the deal.

3. Know how much to raise, from whom, and at what valuation.

Next comes the question of how much cash to raise. It’s widely suggested that founders must aim to raise as much cash as possible, at the highest valuation. While this view may seem logical, it is important to understand the risks involved in this approach — or, at least, why it is not a silver bullet.

Think beyond funding; some VCs might throw money at you but won’t help when it comes to hiring or expansion advice. The value of operational expertise cannot be overstated. Partnering with ex-founders and business leaders means you can learn from their mistakes without repeating them.

Also, consider future rounds. Series A valuations should ideally be at least triple that of the seed valuation; so, if the seed valuation is astronomically high, anything less than perfect looks like failure. Founders must be able to weather storms. Down or flat rounds often indicate an early-stage company is sinking, so — like sharks — they must keep swimming to survive and (hopefully) thrive.

Don’t dilute stock either. Every Euro invested by a VC means another percentage of ownership in your business you must give away. Raise enough to bring on the people who will help you reach the next level without giving everything away.

4. Be familiar with the investment process.

When getting in touch with potential investors, warm introductions certainly help, but the initial “hey” could be as simple as a LinkedIn message — just make sure it’s pithy and to the point. In one week, a VC might receive 30-50 emails from founders claiming to be investment-worthy, so you have to cut through the noise.

Pick one person from a VC fund and focus on them; emailing too many people in one firm will make VCs think you are not tailoring your approach and that someone else will reply. This is the person you will meet first before a formal pitch takes place. If you impress this person, their enthusiasm will inspire the wider team and they’ll likely be able to recruit more people onto the deal.

From here, you will get an invitation to pitch at a partner meeting. As the current crisis persists, these now typically take place over Zoom rather than anyone’s office. This might change soon but, in the meantime, keep your background clean — and a well-stocked bookshelf never goes amiss.

Timing for these meetings vary but 75 minutes is the sweet spot. Ideally, for the VC, the whole team will be invited. Founders should use half the time to present the business and tell their story; the other half should be reserved for questions.

5. Create an unforgettable pitch.

Of course, there is no use going into a pitch meeting without a decent pitch. Slides remain popular; although not to everyone’s taste, they are ideal for conveying the founding vision.

Still, the best entrepreneurs will combine this with a product demo; even though there won’t be enough time to explore the product in-depth, the purpose and passion behind its creation should be apparent.

Those who nail team, story, and vision will have the best chance of success. When it comes to later-stage rounds, this story and vision should have converted into milestones and momentum; in turn, this proves the power of the founding team. At this point, it is all about traction; the opportunity should be tangible, paving the way for growth.

Finally, don’t try to be something you are not — technical founders don’t need to talk like a CMO, for example. Communicate considered ambition and you will go far.

Ted Persson

 

By: Ted Persson / Partner, EQT Ventures

Source: 5 Things Founders Need to Know When Zooming Investors During the Pandemic

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How To Make Your Stand Up Meetings More Effective

Popularized for its utility in software development, the stand-up meeting is an effective tool for keeping teams on track and removing blockers.

And though they’re popular among engineering teams practicing the Agile methodology, stand-ups can benefit any project team.

But as useful as they can be, without the right approach, stand-up meetings quickly devolve into time-wasters.

So in this post, I’m going to start with some much-needed context for this often-misunderstood meeting. Then, I’ll detail the rules, tools, and leadership approach you need to plan, prepare for, and run consistently effective stand-ups.

What is a Stand-up Meeting?

The purpose of a stand-up meeting is for team members to share progress, remove roadblocks, and stay aligned. 

Meeting attendees traditionally stay standing for the duration of the meeting—hence the name. Standing up serves as a reminder to keep the meeting short; the ideal time range is between 5 and twenty minutes. 

A key distinction between a status update and a stand-up meeting is that the latter is designed for team discussion, not an update for managers or stakeholders.

Of course, stand-up meetings may differ slightly. But, in a scrum-style stand-up meeting, team members answer three questions:

  1. What did you do yesterday that helped the team meet its goal?
  2. What will you do today to help the team meet its goal?
  3. Do you see any blockers that will prevent you or the team from meeting its goal?

As Kimberly Gajda, Software Engineer for IBM, explains, “[In a stand-up meeting] Answers are given in the past or future tense. For example, “I completed this” or “I will complete this.” 

Stand-Up Meetings and the Agile Methodology

As mentioned, the stand-up is a popular meeting for development teams practicing the Agile methodology.

But, whether or not that describes your team, understanding this methodology—and how the stand-up fits into it—will help make your meetings more effective. 

Put simply, the Agile methodology is an iterative approach to delivering a project throughout its lifecycle.

Agile stresses the establishment of a broad vision and continuous learning and adaptation. This is distinct from traditional project management which begins with and adheres to a precise project plan. 

For example, in traditional project management, the team tries to anticipate and plan for all obstacles upfront. But with Agile, project managers expect and react to unforeseen obstacles as they come.

Stand-up meetings originated in Scrum, which is one of many frameworks related to Agile. But they’re often used by teams using other Agile frameworks, such as Kanban.

The reason stand-up meetings are so critical to the Agile methodology is that they create an opportunity for continuous communication. In the same way, stand-ups can be key to improving communication at your organization.

Planning Your Stand-Up Meetings 

Think of stand-up meetings as a solution to the problems that occur when any group of people attempts to work together as a team. 

Therefore, at a high-level, stand-ups are useful anytime you need to do one or more of the following:

  1. Share understanding of goals
  2. Coordinate efforts between team members 
  3. Share problems and improvements
  4. Develop and strengthen the team dynamic

If you plan to implement stand-up meetings, make sure you’re doing so to accomplish one or more of these four goals.

When and How Often to Hold Stand-Up Meetings

It’s important to adapt your stand-up meeting plan to your team’s needs, particularly when it comes to cadence. 

In the context of Agile software development, stand-ups are held daily because work is typically done in relatively short sprints. So it may not make sense to copy this cadence for your team.

In fact, one of the most common complaints about meetings, in general, is that they’re held too often. So if it takes some time to find the stand-up meeting cadence that works for your team, that’s okay. 

Just make sure you’re not holding a stand-up for the sake of doing it. If you don’t need to reestablish a shared understanding of goals, coordinate efforts, share problems, or strengthen working relationships, you don’t need a stand-up meeting. 

As a rule of thumb, start with a less frequent cadence and increase it as needed.

What you Need for a Stand-up Meeting

Once you’ve established your initial cadence and the purpose of your stand-ups, you’re almost ready to run your first meeting.

What’s left is to ensure a shared understanding of and strict adherence to the meeting’s rules. 

It’ll also help to have some sort of work-item tracking system. A kanban board is a popular option among Agile engineers but a simple whiteboard with sticky notes can work too.

By visually displaying all work items, a work-item tracking system helps you avoid wasting time while familiarizing everyone with the work items in process.

In the next few sections, we’ll review the protocol of a great stand-up, define the roles of this meeting’s participants, and provide an agenda template.

The Stand-Up Meeting Rules

An effective stand-up typically lasts no longer than 20 minutes. But keeping a meeting to 20 minutes or less requires a laser-like focus. That’s why the rules of your stand-up are so important.

Kimberly Gajda, Software Engineer for IBM, lists the following rules for stand-ups:

  1. Each team member’s answers must align with the tasks assigned to them.
  2. Stand-up meetings must be concise; no longer than 15 – 20 minutes.
  3. Answers must be given in the past or future tense.

    Gajda says, “Using the present progressive tense, such as “I am working with XYZ,” is considered poor form.” This information should be contained in the work-item tracking system.
  4. Answers must cover the time that has passed since the last stand-up.

    Gajda explains that if the task is too big to be contained in the time period since the last stand-up, report “what part of [the task] will be or was completed.” 
  5. Discussion about blockers and questions about what is being done must happen outside of the meeting.

Rule #5 is paramount because the point of a stand-up is to surface issues that need to be discussed while allowing those not involved to return to their work. 

If an issue is complicated, the parties involved should schedule additional time after the meeting.

The Stand-Up Meeting Invitee List

Stand-ups are designed to inform and facilitate collaboration between people from various departments. But this can lead to a long invitee list. 

And, as Jason Yip, Senior Agile Coach at Spotify, explains, people that aren’t directly involved in work items discussed can disrupt the stand-up. 

An easy way to cull your invite list is to focus on who’s needed to speak for the work items. In other words, if the potential invitee isn’t responsible for progressing a work item, they don’t need to be in the stand-up. 

Of course, sometimes it isn’t possible to keep your invitee list that concise. And it may be perfectly necessary for someone to attend just so they’re informed. In that case, ensure that spectators understand the rules of the stand-up to mitigate disruption. 

As Yip says, not everyone needs to talk, particularly if what they’re saying isn’t relevant to progress the work.

Finally, you’ll also want to keep remote meeting attendees in mind. As part of the team and the meeting, they should have a high-quality audio and visual set up. Ideally, they’ll also be able to manipulate the work-item system in real-time.

The Stand-Up Meeting Agenda

The agenda for a stand-up meeting is as simple as they get… as it should be for this short, high-powered meeting.

See a simple text version of our stand-up meeting agenda template with stand-up meeting questions listed out for each participant. Simply copy and paste as many sets of bullets as you need for your meeting participants.

You can also use this agenda in Hugo or download it for Google Docs or Microsoft Word.

Leadership’s Role in Stand-up Meetings

The stand-up is a team-focused meeting. To that end, leadership’s role is not to take over but to enable effective communication.

That could mean stepping in to enforce the meeting’s rules.

Or it could mean exemplifying the meeting’s rules with their behavior. For example, it can be empowering for team members to see their leader stand back when they have nothing to say that’s relevant to any work items.

Ultimately, when things go right in stand-up meetings, leadership’s role should be minimal.

Building Stand-Ups into Your Meeting Culture

Too often, teams abandon stand-ups because they’re implemented haphazardly. So if you want to run effective stand-up meetings, nothing’s more important than taking a thoughtful approach.

More often than not, an ineffective stand-up is a product of a lack of participation, preparation, or an unclear purpose. And it’s up to leadership to identify the correct time, place, and purpose for a daily, weekly, or bi-weekly stand-up meeting.

Just don’t expect to get it right on your first try. Keep improving, keep learning, and stay on your feet.

By: Rob Lennon / Customer Education Lead at Hugo

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Online PM Courses – Mike Clayton

The Daily Stand-up Meeting is a part of many Agile Project Management approaches. But in my experience, the idea pre-dates Agile. I bet the pyramid builder gathered around the wineskin at the start of every day! But, the two specific ways of conducting a morning stand up, which I talk about in this video, are from approached used by many modern Agile practitioners. Keep them short. For a small team, 15 minutes is plenty for a daily stand up. Stand (of course). It helps with: – Energy – Pace Two Styles of Morning Stand-up… Round-robin (3 Questions) method – Yesterday – Today – Blockers / Impediments – Maybe with a token to show who’s on Walking the board method Where there’s a Kanban Board or similar – Move from Right to Left – Who owns it – Blockers – Support to shift them Detailed issues and side conversations parked and addressed afterward Flag if off-topic discussions – take them offline Adapt your process to refine it constantly Recommended Videos. Carefully curated video recommendations for you: – How to Run a Great Project Team Meeting … https://youtu.be/dZeSiir1kWo – The Rule of Silence: The Free Source of Power in a Meeting … https://youtu.be/kXmAC_Iu8dw – Meeting Actions: How to get People to do Them … https://youtu.be/Bv67Tf9nh2I – Lessons Learned Meeting: How to Make it Excellent … https://youtu.be/cemERTeeQ7M – The Five Stages of a Meeting … https://youtu.be/3l8Of-SPcjI – What is Kanban? … https://youtu.be/W8dKoRjFvTY – What is Agile Project Management? … https://youtu.be/D5FoRXGa8ic For more great Project Management videos, please subscribe to this channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMZf… For all our great Project Management articles and resources, please check out the OnlinePMCourses website: https://onlinepmcourses.com/ For basic Management Courses – free training hosted on YouTube, with 2 new management lessons a week, check out our sister channel, Management Courses: http://youtube.com/c/managementcourses For more of our Project Management videos in themed collections, join our Free Academy of Project Management: https://onlinepmcourses.com/free-acad…#Project#ProjectManagement#DailyStand-up

Meetvio – How To Run HYBRID LIVE Meetings & Webinars With ZERO Technical Skills

With Ultra-Low Latency (~1 sec) running a LIVE Webinar with Meetvio is an amazing experience, both for you and your audience. Meetvio supports up to 500 simultaneous participants (you can even have UNLIMITED attendees – more on that later…). You can also have 5 simultaneous presenters.

A Built-In Pre-Webinar Check ensures that the webinar will run without a hitch. Live Webinars are best to introduce new products and services, provide updates or to connect with your audience in general. Every Live Webinar is automatically recorded in our cloud the moment you go live (you can change that in the settings if you want).

These recordings can be shared with the attendees later and even turned into Evergreen/Auto Webinars. With Meetvio you can schedule your webinar to replay at set times throughout the day – eg.: every hour or at particular timings that you want or tell users there’s a webinar just about to start, encouraging them to sign up on the spot. You can even include a ‘Start Now’ option.

Meetvio’s advanced technology detects the user’s time zone, making it easy for them to pick the time that works best for them. This results in higher conversions because the users choose to watch the webinar when they have no prior engagements.

Another amazing feature is that you can provide chat support for Evergreen Webinars too. Meetvio supports Vimeo and YouTube videos too. Evergreen Webinars are best suited for training, updates and evergreen sales. These webinars are considered the best source for building a passive income.

Meetvio supports both, Synchronous and Asynchronous chats…Engage and stay connected with attendees during in-webinar and in-video meetings chat sessions and continue communications post the live event. This helps immensely improve conversions. The unique SLACK like chat provides the best engagement even in the busiest of webinars and events.

Meetvio’s unique calendar view is an intuitive take on a more conventional dashboard. See what you have planned, with whom and when..Quickly create additional events at times that best suit you and your attendees. Used to this old-fashioned way of planning? – No problem. 1-Click switch back to the conventional view.

Without touching a line of code… easily embed promotional or teaser-videos and thank you videos to your landing and registration pages. Meetvio supports Vimeo and YouTube and Meetvio’s own recordings too. 

Quickly Set-up – Run – Profit with your next LIVE Webinars, EVERGREEN Webinars And Hybrid Webinars or conduct a LIVE Meeting with your team or clients from across the world. With Ultra-Low Latency (~1 sec) for Real-Time streaming, various integrations enabled (Zapier too) and a host of other advanced features…Meetvio is quickly becoming the most preferred Webinar platform for top marketers today….

Source: Meetvio Main Offer

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Webinarkit – First & Ever Auto-Webinar Creator System

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Webinarkit is a brand-new autowebinar funnel software that lets you build eye-catching, modern, and professional autowebinar funnels with just a few clicks. Especially, it was built for ease of use for everyone from experienced webinar marketers to people who have never run a webinar before due to traditional roadblocks.

After logging in, you will see the main dashboard below and there are no confusing elements whatsoever. You’re able to see your list of webinars right away. You can see it has a couple of demo webinars already and on each webinar, it has got a few very simple buttons to Edit, Get Link and See the analytics

♦    Create Unlimited, High Converting Auto-Webinar Funnels In Just a Few Clicks

You just follow a few prompts and then your whole auto-webinar funnel ready to go, with your registration page link and live room link provided.

Also, you can set up auto-webinar funnels with zero limitations. It also has got you totally covered – get your auto-webinar freak on.

    ♦    Super Easy Interface for Marketers of All Levels

Whether you’re an established webinar marketer or a newbie who never works on this kind of campaign ever before, WebinarKit will take your hand to walk through the whole process.

    ♦    Add Your Own Branding

With the click of a button, you can brand your registration pages and autowebinar rooms. Imagine, every time you run a webinar, you are increasing your brand awareness in front of tens, even hundreds of attendees.

    ♦    Engagement and Conversion-Optimized Chatrooms

You or a team member can keep up with questions in any autowebinar chat at any time…even if you’re not at the webinar (chat room question and comment forwarding included!)

Moreover, the chatrooms built are mobile optimized so that attendees can easily join and experience the webinar on their smart phone. You know, people are now constantly using their phones for a variety of purposes. Therefore, it’s time to direct your attention to making your webinar mobile if you plan on growing the number of clients.

    ♦    Interactive Emojis

You can keep your audience totally engaged thanks to emojis function. This is one of the best engagement boosting features ever created.

    ♦    Admin Rooms for All AutoWebinar funnels

It provides back-room control panels so you are always in the driver seat.

    ♦    Chat room question and comment forwarding

You can answer your webinar attendees from your email at any time even if you’re not live in the room. By doing this, you can connect

    ♦    Easy To Read, Beautiful Analytics

It’s super simple, easy to read analytics that shows you exactly how your autowebinar funnels are performing.

    ♦    Easy To Follow Quick Set-up Tutorials

You don’t need to worry because it shows you exactly how to get set up fast and easy with its tutorials.

    ♦    Customizable Color Combinations

You can choose many beautiful color combinations and edit them. This features help to improve the visuals, captivate attendee’s attention and keep them engaged with your interesting content.

    ♦    Full Commercial Rights

For a limited time, Webinarkit comes with full commercial rights, meaning you can create unlimited autowebinar funnels in minutes for high paying clients.

Source: Webinarkit

It completely changes the conventional way of running a webinar. No longer will you have to experience the slow, time-consuming process. It removes the technical hassles and complexity so that you can feel easy to host a smooth, mobile optimized live webinar with the best presentation. This is the right tool to create robust AutoWebinar funnels that not only allow you to interact with users in (or outside) the chat room but also satisfies them with engaging content and good using experience.

4 Principles of Marketing Strategy – Brian Tracy

A short clip from my Total Business Mastery seminar about the 4 Principles of Marketing Strategy. Want to know: How do I get customers? How do I determine my target markets? What’s my competitive advantage? http://bit.ly/29heNou Move toward any goal, big or small with my FREE guide in the link above.

Learn more: Subscribe to my channel for free offers, tips and more!

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George Gilder- Life After Google Blockstack Berlin 2018

George Franklin Gilder is an American investor, writer, economist, techno-utopian advocate, and co-founder of the Discovery Institute. His 1981 international bestseller Wealth and Poverty advanced a practical and moral case for supply-side economics and capitalism during the early months of the Reagan administration and made him Ronald Reagan‘s most quoted living author.[2] Married to Nini Gilder, he has four children.

In the 1970s, Gilder established himself as a critic of feminism and government welfare policies, arguing that they eroded the “sexual constitution” that civilized and socialized men in the roles of fathers and providers. In the 1990s, he became an enthusiastic evangelist of technology and the Internet by several books and his newsletter, the Gilder Technology Report. He is also known as the chairman of George Gilder Fund Management, LLC…….

 

 

 

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TED – Why The Secret To Success Is Setting The Right Goals by John Doerr

Our Managers and institutions are failing us, but it’s not always because they’re bad or unethical, says venture capitalist John Doerr — often, it’s simply because they’re leading us toward the wrong objectives. In this practical talk, Doerr shows us how we can get back on track with “Objectives and Key Results,” or OKRs — a goal-setting system that’s been employed by the likes of Google, Intel and Bono to set and execute on audacious goals.

Learn more about how setting the right goals can mean the difference between success and failure — and how we can use OKRs to hold our leaders and ourselves accountable. Check out more TED Talks: http://www.ted.com The TED Talks channel features the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes (or less). Look for talks on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more.

Follow TED on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TEDTalks

Like TED on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TED

Subscribe to our channel: https://www.youtube.com/TED

 

 

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In the shadow of Apple’s WWDC, the PC industry looks to rediscover its relevance

Computex has always been the Wintel show. Before the age of Android-running, Qualcomm-powered smartphones, the dominant software-hardware combo in the world of personal computing was that of Microsoft’s Windows OS and Intel’s CPUs. But now Microsoft is preparing for a post-Windows future and Intel is scrambling to figure out what else it can do beside […]

via In the shadow of Apple’s WWDC, the PC industry looks to rediscover its relevance — Sound Books

How to Lower Business Costs Using VOIP Technology

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If you are looking for a way to lower your business costs it may be worthwhile to consider how much you may be able to save if you make the switch from standard telephone systems to VOIP service.

For many people they may have heard the term VOIP but may be unaware of what it means and how it can benefit them. Here is what you, and they, need to know

What is VOIP?

VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol. It sends the packets of digital information that make up what you are saying in your call through the Internet instead of through traditional phone lines.

Not only does it make it possible for a company to lower your rates there are many different additional functions that can be possible using VOIP technology. A VOIP setup may allow you to send and receive messages that would otherwise not be possible under a standard telephone set up.

How can VOIP save your business Money?

Employing Voip can save you money in a number of Ways:

  • Saving on Line Fees

There are several different ways that using a VOIP system can save you money. The first is that they can often allow users to get rid of using a cellular phone and a desk phone. Because calls can be sent to a cell phone quite easily with VOIP there may not be the need to use both of these communications devices. Because you are not paying for both lines your monthly billswill automatically go down.

  • Saving on call charges

Also there is the saving on your phone calls using VOIP. The rates for using VOIP are normally substantially cheaper than standard fixed telephone providers. You can obtain price packages that can include all local, national and even international calls for a fraction of the price.

Even without a price  package sometimes these national & international calls can be for free as they avoid using the normal phone network where the charges are incurred.

  • Saving on infrastructure costs

Another reason is that the cost of VOIP service is much lower than comparable services from a standard telecommunications provider. If you are just starting up you will not need to add the same wiring and infrastructure that can increase start up costs to the point where some companies are unable to afford them.

Part of the savings comes from the fact that there is no longer a need to establish wiring for data and telephone.

  • How it can Increase your Productivity

Using VOIP for your business can also increase your productivity. Not only can you access your telephone calls from your computer whether you are in the office or not you can also access things such as phone messages and faxes that you may receive at the same time as you are accessing your email.

This means that regardless of whether you are actually in the office or not you will be able to continue to deal with business decisions quickly and effectively. There are many reasons to choose VOIP for your business. Choosing the right provider is only the first step in getting the flexible and affordable telecommunications system that your business needs.