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Internet Fax: Should Your Business Be Using It?

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Part of a good business strategy is knowing when to install and use new technologies. New tech tools can make a business more efficient when used correctly, and they're often the difference between success and failure in a variety of industries. Still, certain considerations must be made before tackling any new tech - there's no such thing as a free lunch, and all technology improvements carry some price. Look out for hefty installation or start up fees and make sure that any ongoing fees are cost effective for your business.

One technology that's managed to avoid big price tags and start up costs is the internet fax, which operates just like its name indicates. Faxes sent to a special fax number are received and forward to one or more company email accounts, where they're opened as a common document type such as PDF. It might not be valid to even refer to this as a new technology; the Internet fax is more of an update to an older technology.

When trying to determine whether to invest in an Internet fax service, a company should first look at its current fax usage. A business that receives thousands of faxes a day will obviously benefit more from faxing over the Internet than a business that only receives two or three faxes. Therefore, the more faxing a company does, the quicker it will see a benefit from electronic faxes. With that being said, it's also useful to look at plans for business expansion. The earlier the service is put into use, the more benefits will gradually accumulate. From a long term perspective, the sooner the service is installed, the better.

Another area to consider is material cost. Internet fax services are an especially appropriate investment when a company is looking for ways to cut down on paper use. The services are by nature paperless - though paper versions of faxes can be created easily for filing and other purposes - and in a large company, this can potentially save thousands of dollars a year (not to mention the cost of toner and ink). As faxes are received and processed electronically, they're also a great way to maximize office space, since faxes can be stored and searched without the use of bulky filing cabinets. This can potentially benefit both small and large businesses.

The costs of faxing over the Internet are low enough to warrant their installation in a variety of business environments. As pointed out earlier, Internet fax services require little overhead for installation. Employees that can use email can use Internet fax, so training costs are almost nonexistent. The installation is usually a matter of a small piece of software if there is any installation at all. Many services are web based and don't require any installation. There is no equipment to maintain. It's quite common for the total cost of an Internet fax system to actually cost less than the continued use of a standard fax machine, which makes the purchase a no-brainer.

A big draw of the Internet fax is the technology's ability to make a business more efficient. Multiple faxes can be sent and received simultaneously, and no toner, ink, or regular maintenance is needed. It's never necessary to wait before sending a fax. Often, Internet fax services are also able to send messages much more quickly than standard fax machines, as they can send data through broadband connections rather than at dial-up speeds.

A business should carefully consider the different ways that using electronic faxes might help it become more efficient. It's a good idea to put a plan in place before the service is installed. Before even buying the service, a meeting or two for brainstorming can be very helpful, and can help to ease the transition. Companies should remember that careful and swift installation is important to get the quickest, largest benefits from electronic fax services.

Regardless of a company's field or size, it's important to keep technology updated, and the Internet fax is certainly a good example of a more efficient take on nearly obsolete tech. Some businesses will see more of a benefit from electronic faxes than others; hospitals, real estate agents, and any company that relies on an orderly, complete filing system and fast communication are good examples. However, it's very apparent that most businesses - and especially businesses that use traditional fax machines on a daily basis - stand to benefit from the addition of an Internet fax service.
Author Tim Paulino
Also known as the "virtual phone guy", Tim is a well-respected marketing and communications expert with over 14 years experience, helping thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners. His writing and research focuses primarily on cloud-based virtual phone services that utilize toll free numbers with the latest voice and fax technology.
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