Ooma’s Guide to Running Your Business from Home

Natalia Casselman profile image June 28, 2023 | 6 min read

The past few years have seen the growth of remote and hybrid work, and it’s easier than ever to be productive without having to go into an office.

So, can you run your business from home? Yes! You can certainly do that, and we’ve heard from the likes of businesses of all types who have—from realtors to lawyers.

It all starts with a good internet connection

The first thing you need is a fast, reliable internet connection. This is the bedrock to running a business remotely. If you don’t have this, everything else is going to be a little more difficult.

When you’re working from a place like a shared corporate office, or even an office leased in a larger building, you have the benefit of infrastructure. These buildings are typically equipped with business-grade internet connections. There are also maintenance people to fix problems and you may even have an IT manager to sort out internet speed and reliability.

However, if you work from home, you may share your internet with family, friends or roommates. You’ll need to have enough capacity to support the needs of everyone.

You don’t want your important business video call to start cutting off or dropping because everyone else is in their room streaming the new season of “Stranger Things” on Netflix.

Opt for the best service plan for your needs. Most home internet providers offer a money-back trial period, so be sure to take advantage of that and stress test the internet before committing.

You should also have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong. Offices often have backup generators that kick in during a power outage. You can purchase an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), or even a backup battery to make sure your modem stays on. At the very least, you can get a power bank to make sure your laptop doesn’t run out of juice when you need it the most.

Preparing for internet outages is a little more difficult, but services like Ooma Connect can provide an LTE data connection that delivers reliable business internet service so you stay up and running.

If you’re in a place with bad or spotty internet, you can opt for a satellite internet service like Starlink. You can provide solid internet for your home and you can even connect devices like a streaming box, a game console or even a home phone device like Ooma Telo.

Finally, just because you want to run your business from home doesn’t mean you have to stay at home all the time! You could venture out to a local coffee shop, coworking space or even a library to get a solid internet connection with a side of a delicious croissant or some coffee. However, you may want to think about investing in a VPN to protect yourself from potential public internet attacks if you do.

And don’t be afraid to get help! Just because you want to run your business from home doesn’t mean you need to do it yourself. You can always look for an IT consultant to guide you on making sure your home is ready.

Communication platforms connect coworkers to each other and to clients

Step one is taken care of, what’s next? Well, it’s time to build on top of that internet connection with communication platforms.

Now that your business is remote, you need to invest in connectivity to make sure all your employees can talk to each other. You need more than just a mobile device.

Let’s say you’re a remote law firm with a receptionist. Your clients are calling, but because your receptionist is relying on a regular smartphone, he or she can’t easily use call routing or transfer to get callers where they need to go.

Even worse, there’s no unified voicemail that everyone can access or after-hours messages that communicate essential information to clients. This can take a big toll on productivity, make clients angry and add stress to your life.

With a VoIP business phone system, you avoid all of these problems. You’ll get a unified business phone number with extensions, features like a virtual receptionist that can not only direct clients to the right people but also provide after-hours messages, and the ability to easily transfer calls. Your clients may not even realize your business is remote!

Even better, VoIP business phone systems like Ooma Office work with many different devices so your employees can work the way that’s best for them:

    A mobile app on a smartphone or tablet

    A desktop app on a laptop or desktop

    An IP desk phone

Each user can choose their communication option and even use multiple devices with the same phone line. So if they want to use a desk phone at home, but the mobile app on the go and then the desktop app while they meet with a client, they can! Services like Ooma Office even come with alternative communication methods. So if you don’t want to do a phone call, you can always videoconference or text!

A versatile communication platform can help support your team’s work-life balance, too. Working from home can make it easy to feel like you’re always on call, but flexible tools can help each team member be productive on their own terms.

Cloud technology drives your business collaboration

No matter your industry, cloud technology can help supercharge your remote business. Retailers need to use ecommerce, service providers need online scheduling, restaurants need to post menus and delicious food pictures on social media.

And that’s not even including essential functions like sharing and signing documents. When the apps your business relies on live in the cloud, everyone has access to them and can work collaboratively in real-time.

Cloud storage services make sharing files easy. Productivity software suites make creating and sharing documents, spreadsheets and presentations a breeze. There are even cloud-based finance tools that can give you anywhere access to your financial data so that when tax season rolls around you’re always ready.

The cloud apps you need will vary depending on your industry. If you’re a hotel or motel, you’re going to need property management software. If you’re a dentist, you may need software designed specifically for your needs. The list goes on.

Once you figure out the basic and industry-specific apps for your business, you may need to look into analytic apps. This could be as simple as a tool to track your website visitors, or the built-in analytics tools in social media apps or eCommerce platforms. When researching your business methods, ask yourself if there’s a way to dive deeper and gain better insights. If there is, there’s probably an analytic service out there that can help you.

There are even apps that can help home businesses better track current performance metrics. Plus, predictive analytics tools can help you stay on track with your business plan by comparing your goals to future forecasts.

Take the next step

Can you run your business from home? We definitely think you can now that you know the three areas that make home businesses tick. Are you ready for what’s next? Find out how Ooma Office can help you run your business from anywhere.
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