Is Your ISP Working For You?

Let's face it: as small business owners, our reliance on the Internet is only going to increase over time. As we work to expand our client base using the Internet to transport those important financial documents, the Internet Service Provider (ISP) we currently use could literally make … or break us.

So, how do we find the ISP that best serves our business needs?

There's no perfect answer, but these guidelines may help you determine if your current ISP is a keeper, or if it's time to go shopping for a new one.

· Search for an ISP that provides reliable customer service. A good ISP offers customer service and technical support, including the ability to reach them by phone. Before selecting a provider, call them to test their level of response.

· Look for a provider that offers a range of access plans including everything from dial-up and ISDN to DSL and fractional T1 lines.

· Find out if the provider understands the specific needs of small businesses. Does the ISP provide multiple mailboxes under a single account? Is simultaneous access available by multiple users?

· Look for an ISP that provides e-commerce capabilities. A good ISP sells e-commerce programs that, at a minimum, allow you to populate your site with a product or service catalog.

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